Denner & Co.
Edited with translations by Bouvard Pécuchet
Cover by S. Mutt
SALUTATION by Bouvard Pécuchet
Richard Denner is not a reincarnation of Fernando Pessoa. They are separate emanations of the multi-faced God that sneezes in the cosmic air of creativity. Pessoa deconstructed himself in an age before the philosophy of deconstructualism; Denner is reconstructing himself in a post-post-post modern age, where philosophy and culture are rapidly disintegrating.
Pessoa lived a quiet life, perhaps creating his “heteronyms” to make his life interesting. Denner has been living a full life. He has married three times and has children by his different wives, who in turn have presented him with grandchildren. He lived in Berkeley during the fairytale 60s, where he was the Poet of the Berkeley Barb. He fled Berkeley when the teargas began to fall and traveled to Alaska where he lived in a cabin in the woods, hunting and fishing for survival. He has worked at a wide variety of professions—cowboy, tree planter, bookseller, carpenter, printer. He has drawn his metaphors from his life experience and written about what he discovered in the world, and he has developed an elaborate inner life and written from the heart.
As a boy, Richard was charmed by the shenanigans of Frank Demara, known to the public in the 1950s as The Great Imposter. Richard saw him interviewed live on The Jack Parr Show. Demara was able to create different personas and find employment in a vast number of posts—everything from being a medical doctor in the military to a Latin teacher in a private school. Demara said that when he picked up a scalpel, it was as though he had used it before. Denner found an explanation for this, as a freshman at Cal, reading the works of Plato, where it is said that we know everything but forget it all at birth, that knowledge is the process of remembering what we have forgotten. Later, when Denner rediscovered the Dharma of Gotama Buddha, he had a similar understanding. It is not the Self that is the problem but the incomplete Self. One solution to the problem of Self is to discover there is no Self—no Self, no problem. Another solution is the integration of the various “selves” by allowing them full play—integration, like a drama with a cast, not the conflicting, schizophrenic isolation of the parts of the personality but an association of the members of the cast in the play of consciousness, each with their lines, each in character.
In one of Rychard’s terse, large-lettered poems, all/over/all/all, I find the Poundian components, logopoeia, melopoeia, and panopoeia. The poem can be read as temporal all over and as local all over, as a point of view, over all, and visually, with the word all being place over itself. There is formal structure, yet an innovative playfulness is evident.
There are ontologically questioning poems by Doug O, the “O” suggesting nothingness or infinite space. There are the “Sensationalist” poems of Jubal Dolan:
no thinking, here
and the romantic-pastoral mode of Luiz Mee (“Luiz” perhaps a tip of the hat to Luis Garcia, Richard’s long-time friend and mentor). We have the thinker, the worker, the lover poets, with their different hats, pets and facial tics. As Rychard once said, “Everything is everywhere, and God is gift horse, a kind of cornucopia with teeth.”
It is difficult to say exactly when the personalities first emerged. Most likely it was part of a 9/11 meltdown. However, I am certain that before our author discovered the works of Fernando Pessoa & Co. in June of 2003, I, Bouvard Pécuchet, had already begun writing reviews of books that didn’t exist, and the scattered Buddhist poems of Jampa Dorje had been collected under one cover. There was the forgery, Another Artaud, as well as works by Rychard from the Berkeley 60s. The drama was well underway, needing only a bit more prompting by the Muse. Rychard is here, and we have been joined by Jubal Dolan, Luiz Mee, and Doug O.