July 29, 2007

Yesterday's Machine: The Poetry and Musings of J. L'Autre and other people who are J. Dalaba, Dead Man's Press, Inc. (?)

I bought a copy of this chapbook from Jason at the NightSky Cafe & it turns out it's a good thing I did, which I'll get to in a minute. I like to be able to read some of the poems that I've been hearing from poets at open mics so I try to get their chapbooks when they have them. As a small press publisher myself I'm well aware how few poets actually buy chapbooks of other poets & I know that selling one at a reading is a thrill. I've heard Jason read a number of the poems in the book, like "Blend," "Sex & Math" (which has little of either), "Wonder Woman," & "COSM" (which I thought was called Chosen when he read it -- still don't get the title). In fact, in an earlier Blog on the WordFest I cited Jason as the first poet that night that Mary Panza had to cut off; but it turns out he actually finished the poem ("The Secret Utopia of Mole-Man Jack"), though rushed by Mary's looming presence. You can check it out at on the podcast at www.albanypoets.com.

Ultimately I'm glad to have his poems (& photos -- which are provocative, if somewhat murkily reproduced, but then this is what I guess is called "goth poetry"). Although I must admit to being put off by one of his idiocyncrasies of using ellipses (you know, those ...s) in fully half the poems in the book. Grammatically, an ellipsis is used to show an omission in a text & is indicated by ... (3 dots). In some creative work it is used to show a pause, a hesitation, or an incomplete statement in conversation. Here, their use seems inexplicable.

In poetry, such pauses or breaks are often indicated by line breaks, stanza breaks or simply space. In some of these poems the dots go on & on, up to 13 dots, & they even occur at the beginning of lines. Granted, a poet can display his or her poems on the page as they want (as, for example, Charles Olson), but there is usually a discernible pattern &/or justification for their indiocyncrasies. I can't figure it out. But then, perhaps the random use of ellipses is a characteristic of "goth poetry," since I've seen a similar use of these dots in the work of another notable goth poet on the scene.

Again, I'm glad to have Jason's poems in hand. But now I'm at a loss to tell you how to get your copy. Usually books, even cheaply produced chapbooks, have a title page, or someplace in the book, with the name & address of the publisher; I mean, they want you to know how to get a copy of the book. Apparently, the publisher is "Dead Man's Press" from a logo & (probably invalid) copyright notice on the back cover. There is no title page. The first page is really an acknowledgment & "Warning!" (the title & author only appear on the cover). But the "warning page" page does list 3 internet addresses, 2 of which are MySpace sites. The first website (www.Schoolofnight.com) contains no information about the press or the book, but does link you to the other 2 MySpace sites. One of these is supposedly Dead Man Press & the other is Jason's MySpace site. The publisher's site contains no information about ordering the book or where it can bought, but does link you (from a blog entry) to Jason's site (phew!). So if you want to buy the book, go to Jason's site (www.myspace.com/theinterestedparties) & send Jason a message to ask where you can get it (but you need to be a registered MySpace user to do that). By the way, the MySpace internet addresses listed in the book are incorrect.

Poets deserve to get their work out there (even if few will eventually buy it), but this alleged publisher is doing a disservice to Jason by making the book impossible to find.

[Shaun writes that "Yesterdays Machine is availible in the local section of Borders on Wolf Rd. As are works by other local poets." So there.]

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yesterdays Machine is availible in the local section of Borders on Wolf Rd. As are works by other local poets.

sb

miriamjoyce said...

Why would you suspect the copyright mark to be invalid? As long as he wrote the poems, he has the copyright. You don't have to do anything else.

Dan Wilcox said...

That's correct, domestically, but the use of the "c" with the circle protects it for copyright under international treaty. My point was it was another mis-placed brick in an ineptly built wall.
DWx

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