THE SHIT IS TEN FEET DEEP


In the early 60s, I lived in Aptos, California, and participated in poetry readings and music and drama productions at the Sticky Wicket. In the mid 60s I was a Berkeley Street Poet and published poems in mimeo mags and in The Berkeley Barb. I began D Press in an attic apartment in 1967 in Ketchikan, Alaska, and continued my printing in an isolated cabin in Tongass National Forest until I moved with my family to Fairbanks. I received English credit for my books and continued printing and producing linoleum cuts as a special project while editing an art and literary supplement to the University of Alaskaís student newspaper.

I have studied poetry with many modern masters from the Beat, Black Mountain, Berkeley Renaissance, and Northwest Schools. I attended the Berkeley Poetry Conference in 1965 and took workshops from Charles Olsen, Allen Ginsberg, Ed Dorn, Jack Spicer and Robert Creeley. I studied with Robert Bly, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Denise Levertov, and Carolyn Kiser at Fort Worden Center for the Arts in Port Townsend, Washington.

My last formal public readings were at The Red Sky Poetry Series and the Elliot Bay Book Co. in Seattle in 1997 and at the Berkeley Art Center in Berkeley and Cold Mountain Books in Graton in 1998. This last year, I have focused on the publication of my chapbooks and the creation of visual art, although I have attended several open mike readings and slams in the local area. Lately, I have been collaborating with Claude Smith in reading my poetry to his stand-up bass improvisations. In past years, I have been invited to read in academic environments at Central Washington University in Ellensburg and at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

While living in Washington, I helped form an annual Arts Festival funded by the City of Ellensburg, and I also received a Washington State Arts Grant to produce the Ellensburg Anthology. I gave poetry workshops and hosted readings in the Four Winds bookstore over the years, and I was invited on several occasions to attend Mark Halperinís poetry class at Central Washington University and instruct the class on poetry and help them create an anthology of student work under the Wildcat Publications logo. I exhibited my books and demonstrated my printing techniques at the Kittitas County Art Gallery, Gallery One, and at the main and alternative high schools in Ellensburg. I taught a three-day poetry workshop for The Washington Poets Association, and I assisted Sybil James, a Washington State Artist-in-Residence, with an anthology in connection with her workshop for young writers at Ellensburg City Library.

My artwork has appeared in several periodicals and books and in gallery settings in Washington, Colorado, and California. My last show was a three-artist-show at Willow Wood Market-Cafe in Graton with Claude Smith and Tamara Slayton. Along with Luis Garcia and Belle Randall, I am a member of Circle of Friends, a group of artists who show their art work and perform readings and music in various locations. For five years I was involved with two video and recording companies, Albright Productions and Secunda-Heron, as well as being a video producer for Ellensburg Community Television. I worked with composer Steve Fisk on music and poetry collaboration and appear on several of his tapes and CDs. I have also recorded "raps" to the music of Mark Mahagin at Puppetfangghost Recording Studio in Ellensburg, Washington.

Over the last ten years, I have practiced Tibetan Buddhism with the guidance of Namkhai Norbu and Tsultrim Allione. I am a Past Master of the Masonic Order, and I have studied eastern and western philosophy and religion, as well theosophical and occult sciences. I was the editor of David and Lucy Pondís Metaphysical Handbook, and I have done individual work in psychic archeology as well as written a monograph entitled From Lascaux to Dendera, a Study in Archaeoastronomy and Art. For many years, I counseled professionally in tarot and astrology.

At present, I live with my elderly mother near Sebastopol, California, and teach poetry and collage at Summerhill, a Waldorf School. My sources and inspirations are diverse. I have practiced my art for forty years, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with others.

Occassionally, I write to piss people off, and, as John Bennett puts it, my poems can sound like "low-riders with tinted windows, no mufflers on the dual pipes;" however, I think of my self mainly in the tradition of the Poets of Peace & Gladness.

 

LET ME SHOW YOU

I began D Press in an attic apartment in 1967 after finding an old Kelsey handpress and several fonts of used type and hauling the lot away for $50. Days, I worked in the backshop of the Ketchikan Daily News doing layout, burning plates, and assisting run a 3-unit Goss webpress. At night, I set type and hung my prints to dry on lines nailed to the angle of the attic roof. Grant Risdon showed me how to cut linolium blocks, which enabled me to disguise some of the irregualarities in my printing and add a dash of color to compliment all the big, bold words now showing through. Given a 4X6 inch type case, how much poem can be printed with 60 point Bodini Bold!?

After two long winters in the Tongass National Forest, I drove with my family up the Alkan Highway to Fairbanks, where I learned etching and a multi-color block print technique at the University of Alaska from Terrance Choy. The erotic content of my work created intense controversy when I approached the campus store to sell my books.

While working in the backshop of the Queen Anne News in Seattle, I composed poetry on a computagraphic, a hybrid computer-teletype machine, and then one day I saw an ad for a cattle foreman on an 800 acre ranch east of the mountains.

Can a beatnik be a cowboy? We loaded our van with pots, pans, press and papercutter and headed for the prarie.

The books I produced in the 70s and early 80s were printed offset under the supervision of Susan Barto at Record Printing in Ellensburg.The linoleum blocks developed after I was invited to sit in on Cindy Kriebleís drawing class at the University of Central Washington.

In 1975, I returned to my stomping grounds in Berkeley and worked under the guidance of Wesley Tanner at Arif Press, where I finally learned to thump type with precision.

With the quantum leaps made in computers and copiers, by the late 80s, I found I could do a high-quality edition of my chapbooks at low cost and in short runs. High tech/low tech. And with the advent of digital and color, I could further enhance the format.

My greatest mentor is Luis Garcia. His book The Mechanic, was printed by Graham MacIntosh at White Rabbit Press, Jack Spicerís press, Jack who pointed the way to so many of us, and it was this work which introduced me to the art of fine printing.

I view my self-publishing in the tradition of William Blake, William Morris, and Ben Franklin, who on his tombstone had one word incribed, "Printer".

 
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