from Blood Upon The Moon… ‘America, Now’

Tormenting The Monkey

America, who are you trying to convince?
You have the smartest people in the world
enslaved to their experience, your propaganda
claims its own victims not in foreign lands alone, but here
in the minds and souls whose control you refuse
to forfeit for an ideal of power you no longer own.

This is the new world, again. The battle lines
define the country you set to waste like high school
adolescents or sport fanatics eager to establish
victory as a state of being. Cowards and bullies
of manufactured courage, you hobble the brave souls
who would tell you of your indulgent treason. Your
machine more important to you than jewels or real love.

America, you are deserted, vacant and empty
as a nuclear city, you have fuelled the lies, the
familiar hypocrisies like scarecrows thrown up
against the foreign demons, the barbarian horde.
They’re all Negroes, Catholics, you know…

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My Books, and Publishing….

I was fortunate enough to start having my work published in the early 1970’s.
I say fortunate since a lot of what I submitted was handwritten as I didn’t yet have a typewriter, though
once I started seeing a few checks my father decided to buy me a typewriter.

I saw my work published alongside Lawrence Durrell, which thrilled me as I was enthralled with the work of his friend Henry Miller with whom he was sharing a place in Pacific Palisades at the time; and due to the fact that I had decided to go to Corfu, Greece as soon as possible, though that would take a few years of shitty jobs to save enough.

A partial list of literary journals, university magazines, etc., can be found here. Literary Publications

I won several awards and unsolicited grants; for best work published in a literary journal during a particular year, etc.

Though I had associations/friendships with some of the greatest poets working in Canada, and the USA at the time, this did not result in any publication of a book. The first actual chapbook I had published was in 2010, The Herald, through Mad Poet Press.

Over the years I had accumulated thousands of poems, prose poems, prose pieces, and book reviews (having zero $ it was an easy enough way to get some books I wanted).
I began sifting through these in 2014 with an eye toward publication through self-publishing, all the while writing more; and sometimes more than I could keep up with, since I tended to scrawl a few lines, write entire poems in notebooks before typing them out.

I decided to use the CreateSpace platform, and with constant editing each month – 6 weeks from 2014-2016 – would further edit, thematically arrange, and trim down the contents of each new book, while creating the covers as well.

If you look here on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM, you can see throughout the publication dates for the 20 + books I’ve published so far during that time beginning with 2014.

This has been accomplished without formal or professional literary associations, academic positions, so
obviously without the benefits of distribution and wider awareness that might be the outcome of such things. Plus, with money being tighter than the proverbial nun’s you-know-what I have yet to see most of the books in physical form, and thus haven’t been able to distribute copies for reviewers. Plus of all the poets professionally published who follow me and whom I follow on Twitter and Facebook, despite my constancy in paying attention to their postings, in two years only have 3 even clicked a ‘like’ three times on my multiple posts containing poetry.  There isn’t  even any informal ‘recognition of myself as a writer, or my work.
That isn’t to say that such practicalities won’t change.

Which would be very welcome since selling 2 books in the last 16 months or so bites ass, whether that makes me merely the persistent poet, or persistently deluded that the work deserves a greater audience.

©Dean Baker

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Sunday After Life

If it’s as true as rumored that the dead occupy planets in the far-reaches of our galaxy through celestial heavens so far misspoken of in literature and religious texts, then I have a deep need to master space travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If it’s as true as rumored that the dead occupy planets in the far-reaches of our galaxy through celestial heavens so far misspoken of in literature and religious texts, then I have a deep need to master space travel.

It’s not hotter than too hot yet I’m sitting in a shade drenched in humidity over 90 degrees while flies populate and breezy by.

The puppies are mud-ensconced in their kennel while I drink somewhat warm coffee and hallucinate desert hills, cool nights and more: cold drinks, night sky without bugs, music. Contentment.
Nobody else is outside on the afternoon lawns reminiscent of landing strips in Phoenix in summertime.

Wages are way below poverty level but the happy horseshit of not saying anything so they don’t find some other more desperate to only eat government cheese extends through the days and nights.

This might feel like I have time to write but that’s a lie: between hours occupied by kids and noise, recuperation of quiet, solitude to do is a matter of cannibalizing attitude making me indifferent to existence as it is though there might be some sentimental attachment to after-effects – if only because I can’t grasp a well-being sufficiently altered to express in my being a gratitude of joy I’ve known when a balance persisted due to my own efforts.

I do recall working and aiming for more than this; not settling, nor compromising. But not having complete enough control – i.e. enough cash – to weather imbalances meant it went sideways and down.
Not difficult to believe but to experience that without enough money you don’t get that sunny and smiling calm no matter what age even minus such extravagances such as choices in more than foods: there really are no extras without the moolah.

And if you reach this age absent friends and immediate relatives, you don’t even have the horizon any more.
Just a bunch of drooling, grey-headed, Alzheimered goobers more certain than ever of the righteousness of their opinions on everything. That’s where you’ve been relegated.
Shit, what’re you going to contribute? If anyone had been interested, this wouldn’t be occurring. And you don’t have the funds, the social grouping, nor the expectation you’ll dispense anything of value or interest.

No problem if you were always one of those who believed breathing was sufficient to occupy the earth and justify living – but if not, harder times without the hope of betterment in the face of a pervasive ignoramus standard of no one gives a shit, you’re not struggling against obvious dictators, you’ve had years… you’ve lived.

What’s truly odd though is: my thought that I once considered the fact that if you were intelligent enough to be aware of these things it meant you weren’t susceptible.
And that travelling to outer planets meant soul growth: that losing the life uncramped by lack of funds suggested there’d be other compensations.

That you’d remain whole, integral, and sufficient unto yourself.

And if not, you’d not experience such a protracted dying unattended by actual illnesses while supplying the impression of some quiet, and sometimes well-mannered, older person content enough to not have thoughts or feelings outside the realm of knowledge of those who merely live by illusions specific to themselves while enjoying every benefit cash conveys.

Where do you go after this? Cat food hors d’oeuvres?

Meow, motherfuckers.

©Dean Baker

 

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NEW BOOK PRICES – MAKING POETRY AFFORDABLE – FROM $9.99 TO $15.99

 

 

©Dean Baker

The Poet In Journals – St. Denys Garneau

One of my favorite books from ages ago, The Journal Of St. Denys Garneau which I discovered in a bargain bin at the Coles where Neil Young worked.
I had been frequenting the Champlain bookstore in Toronto, when I first saw a mention of him, picking up books in the European style or French style, uncut pages you had to razor open to read Marie Claire Blais, Anne Hébert(Garneau’s cousin), and others, etc. Which of course led to other readings of Hubert Aquin, Michel Tremblay, etc etc.

All their works were distinguishable from  but inseparable from others such as Marian Engel’s Bear, Miriam Waddington’s poems, Frank Scott’s certainly, or Monique Bosco’s Lot’s Wife.

Favorite because it fit right in with circumstances of thought, countryside and origin (I’d go to read it in solitude in a place near Ottawa, having visited my mother’s birthplace in Campbell’s Bay, Quebec), and the poetic disclosures. The discovery attached to slicing open pages, and translating – since the poems were in French – always felt fresh and new, and I could see what was missed in other translations though John Glassco’s comes closest.

Reminded me that favorites are often due to a time and place, as are poets whose popularity mysteriously decline upon their deaths; similar to the most popular novelists of decades or centuries past whom not many can even recall.

The book lasts for many reasons then, one of which would be the essential self, made bare without being mired in the spectacles which pass for a self these days, through literate and real details as is the case in many of his poems at whatever level they may be taken.

He was as much a denizen of my ‘neighborhood’ of spirits and souls as Shelley, Shakespeare, or reaching back, Archilochus, and Marcus Aurelius.

©Dean Baker

Supposed Science Fiction – J.G. Ballard, ‘the poet of desolate landscapes’

‘the poet of desolate landscapes’

 

 

 

 

Fortunately for me I read some early Ballard in the ‘70’s before all the hype and surrounding mess over his work Crash, turned into a movie by Cronenberg.
He was called the ‘poet of desolate landscapes’ for a reason.
(http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/books/review/Lethem-t.html)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._G._Ballard

One of my favorite science fiction writers, along with Thomas Disch (particularly Camp Concentration), Philip K. Dick, and other individual books, such as A Canticle For Leibowitz. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Canticle_for_Leibowitz

Most people will recognize what Spielberg did with his quite wonderful autobiographical work, Empire Of The Sun. Excellent movie, wonderful book.

However, a book of interviews with Ballard is more than interesting and shows a prophet of the future now in his words.
Extreme Metaphors is a great compilation of the author in talks that are always interesting, and often revelatory.

Take this passage, from 1974 – (the year, not any particular book), in an interview conducted by Carol Orr, with the influence of Judith Merrill, whom I was fortunate to meet. (Along with Marian Engel, who wrote the great (and supposedly feminist) novel, Bear amongst other works, introduced by poet Gwendolyn MacEwen, to my surprise when I was first meeting Gwen, who introduced me by saying, “This is the poet I’ve been telling you about,” and having Marian interject, “Well, say something brilliant then, poet” to which I apparently satisfactorily replied since both Judith and Marian gave an approving, and raised eyebrows, nod to Gwen afterwards. *biography

“Threats to the quality of life that everyone is so concerned about will come much more, say, from the widespread application of computers to every aspect of our lives where all sort of science fiction fantasies will come true, where bank balances will be constantly monitored and at almost any given time all the information that exists about ourselves will be on file somewhere – where all sorts of agencies, commercial, political and governmental, will have access to that information.”
– Pg.58, Extreme Metaphors, How To Face Doomsday without Really Trying.
Reason enough to start to reading his books, let alone that book.

http://www.ballardian.com/extreme-metaphors-on-sale

©Dean J. Baker

These poems are advertisements for the BOOKS – get uplifted, buy one

Biography

all my books on salehttp://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

 

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Alden Nowlan – Greatness in Poetry

nowlan_

 

 

 

 

 

Alden Nowlan is one of those poets whom I never got to meet, and always wish I’d been able to do so.

I first saw one of his poems when I was in high school. And as with that poem, his other poems: they always evoke, a ‘yes!,’ about honesty and the truth of things. Always memorable. You’ll find them repeating themselves at the least expected moments.
The poem that first struck me was his ‘Aunt Jane.’

Aunt Jane

Aunt Jane, of whom I dreamed the nights it
thundered,
was dead at ninety, buried at a hundred.
We kept her corpse a decade, hid upstairs,
where it ate porridge, slept and said its prayers.

And every night before I went to bed
they took me in to worship with the dead.
Christ Lord, if I should die before I wake,
I pray thee Lord my body take.

 

©Alden Nowlan

Just to be sitting in your own world and to have 8 lines smack you awake out of the blue, away from your concerns and take you to revelation so quickly, so easily, and with such delight – amazing.

But Alden has many, many poems of the kind that do so – surprising in their humility, strength and understanding. His are the works you could carry in a small book with you and find sustaining every time you looked.
He covers history, patriotism, and more all in a beautiful way.

One other:

Canadian January Night

Ice storm: the hill
a pyramid of black crystal
down which the cars
slide like phosphorescent beetles
while I, walking backwards in obedience
to the wind, am possessed
of the fearful knowledge
my compatriots share
but almost never utter:
this is a country
where a man can die
simply from being
caught outside.

©Alden Nowlan

 

Brilliant work.

And from Alden Nowlan, Selected Poems

A Poem About Miracles

Why don’t records go blank
the instant the singer dies?
Oh, I know there are explanations,
but they don’t convince me.
I’m still surprised
when I hear the dead singing.
As for orchestras,
I expect the instruments
to fall silent one by one
as the musicians succumb
to cancer and heart disease
so that toward the end
I turn on a disc
labelled Götterdämmerung
and all that comes out
is the sound of one sick old man
scraping a shaky bow
across and out-of-tune fiddle.

 

©Alden Nowlan

These poems of Alden’s are a few of the good, and representative of his best. You need the book to even begin to get an awareness of his greatness.
Robert Frost may be more well known, but for me Alden wins the laurels.

© Dean J. Baker

all my books on salehttp://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/links-to-my-books-in-print/