BOOK REVIEW: Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe: Adventures in Sound Poetry by LANE CHASEK

Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe: Adventures in Sound Poetry by LANE CHASEK

book review by Tim Staley  

At high noon my wife smashed a fly against the living room window with this book in the middle of our first pandemic summer. The room erupted into puppy yelp, child screech, fly-wail and the desert sun breaching the ceiling, grabbing us by the ankles, holding us upside-down to drain us into our shadows. All this, especially the fly-wail, fits flawlessly with this book about fly swatting, language, number theory, action and surrender.

Hugo Ball was a German author, poet, and essentially the founder of the Dada movement in European art in Zürich in 1916—maybe you already knew that. Maybe you learned that from some stuffy-teacher-induced-research-based-half-cocked-noviate-solo-tour. Maybe you visited some cold websites in search of Hugo Ball. Did you ever figure out why nonsense is such an enduring quality of art?

Emerge Lane Chasek, from behind the purple beaded curtain, to introduce us to Dada and Ball—the way a friend might—in his new book: Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe: Adventures in Sound Poetry (Jokes Review, 2020). Chasek is anything but a stuffy teacher. He’s drunk—but it’s an airy-lover-don’t-mind-inviting-“My Back Pages”-kind-of-buzz necessary for this type of Hero’s Journey where the Hero seems to be speaking the most rarefied strain of white gibberish ever.

Chasek has found himself dangling from his own family tree like a crucifix on a dandelion chain wondering how to handle what he’s hearing on Democracy Now. Hugo Ball had the same problem. Like one veined bubble sharing a townhouse membrane with another in the vesper service of language’s aftermath: Chasek–through Ball’s sound poetry—connects us with the madness of the past.

The way this hitchhiker’s guide of sound poetry surveys post-language allows us to make discoveries right along with the author. The tone is serious insanity, congenial nonsense. For example, there’s a rando paragraph on page 76 that starts like this, “My poem would involve chinchillas. Lots and lots of chinchillas, since I really like chinchillas. And thousands of keyboards hooked up to thousands of main frames, all dedicated to storing the corpse that will be my magnum opus. I’d caffeinate those chinchillas and make them immortal if I could.” Will the chinchillas help our Hero acquire the superpower of not making sense?  

Sound poetry is a kiss in the face of Shakespeare. Sound poetry is what happens when language stops feeling pain. There is scat singing and math and laughs in this book.  There are childhood friends, new friends, and a few sound poems. American Puritanical Christianity™ is here too, “Sucking out all the poetic verve Christianity used to have. After all, there’s an entire book in the Old Testament that’s an erotic poem. Never forget that.” Had you forgotten that? I sure had.  

By the end, Chasek has written his own sound poem; in an interview, he said writing it, “felt like a creative temper tantrum—uncontrollable, but oddly liberating.” Through the course of the book, he shares his process of hamstringing language; I felt comforted by his tremendously mellow and jovial tone. Maybe this book will inspire you to write your own sound poem. Logic is all there is to lose.

Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe: Adventures in Sound Poetry is currently available in print and on Kindle.

About the author

Besides writing, LANE CHASEK enjoys watching 90s horror movies and cooking plant-based Sichuan recipes.

Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe: Adventures in Sound Poetry by LANE CHASEK"

Robert Allen Beckvall – a jazz poem

shh sh  shhhh  crack,    “hhmmmm”  he hums while he waltzes


shh shhh   shhhh   shhhhhhh  shh  crack   he waltzes


shhh   sh shhhhh shh  crack, pop  oh two at a time


I watched the man in the white suit, night after night, dance the soft shoe,  then tap dance on the cockroaches, under the light by the pawn shop


sh  shhh  shhhh  sh, crack    “hhhmmmmmm”    He seems so happy.
Read more "Robert Allen Beckvall – a jazz poem"

THE EDITORS OF CACTI FUR BRING YOU: FLORIDA MAN by MICKEY J. CORRIGAN

AVAILABLE NOW: FLORIDA MAN by Mickey J. Corrigan. You know how it’s funny and abhorrent because it’s true? You know how you laugh until you cry by stuffing cocked pistols between your eyeballs and lids? 

FLORIDA MAN ~ Mickey J. Corrigan ~ $5.00

This chapbook contains 17 poems and 4 drawings

Dimensions: 3 3/8ths inches by 5 inches

Free Shipping on all US orders: btn_buynow_SM

Read more "THE EDITORS OF CACTI FUR BRING YOU: FLORIDA MAN by MICKEY J. CORRIGAN"

CHRISTOPHER BARNES – 5 POEMS

The Dance
 
…lilac Nehru jacket,
ploughman’s amble,
gadabout eye-flicker
-       you doorstep…
    
     *
 
…pare sweet breads
into morsels,
deform, hand out.
Tump with cauliflower…
 
     *
 
…retreats into a dive, yells.
“Something titanic, icy,
flush and gin.”  The barman…
 
     *
 
…we’d never waltz on shingle,
ripple-drenched feet,
as vinyl purred…
 

 
 
Horizontal Vision
 
…barrows to-and-froed.
Hagglers impressed, lurking.
I corner nosegay oils,
you earmark…
 
     *
 
…tilt steamer
on disengaged hob
10-15 minutes.  Baste…
 
     *
 
…check-up.  Paramedic eurekas
-       something woefully awry –
deduces tip-off…
 
     *
 
…metro expired at Wallsend,
bus green-lighted
an hour to cloud-gather,
you’d never essentially…
 

 
 
 
 
Earth
 
…peachy-keen upbeat guitar
seesawed your hips.  Taffrail clover,
dribble…
 
     *
 
…rattle all footloose.  Chip walnuts.
Grease loaf tin…
 
     *
 
…ventured into Bronx Flea Market,
bisected dummy
cornered into a pin-stripe…
 
     *
 
…lick-and-promise miasma
Overhauled drained instincts.
Only traffic faded…
 

 
 
 
Fixations
 
…in rag-order
knee-highs yodelled,
single-filing my alley.
No cur whined…
 
     *
 
…kibble, tooling rutty blade
of mincer.  Dissolve ½ oz…
 
     *
 
…Pegasus’ foals vamoosed,
so the knight…
 
     *
 
…we quick-timed hours.
An invisible…
 

 
 


 
Not Quite June
 
…gabby-guts rooks
air-cleared your nickname.
Evening shade diffracted urgency…
 
     *
 
…groundwork panade.  Turn out
as for béchamel, stargaze an hour…
 
     *
 
…wolfed my quill.”
“What shall I do?”
“Take advantage of a crayon…”
 
     *
 
…rule-breaking headaches spared,
though we blethered all…
 

 
 
Read more "CHRISTOPHER BARNES – 5 POEMS"

JON HUERTA and TIM STALEY -POETRY INSTRUCTION BATTLE – HOW TO WRITE ABOUT A SPECIFIC PERSON

POET STALEY’S TOP 10 RULES FOR WRITING ABOUT A SPECIFIC PERSON

1
allow yourself to acknowledge that you care about someone
then sweep that someone out of your mind
and onto the pages of your journal

2
dump the dust pan of that person
as fearlessly, honestly and quickly as you can

3
surround that person with the concrete nouns
that person surrounds themselves with
then deliberately inject action verbs
or slip them in when no one’s looking

4
keep writing everything you can about that person
not worrying about the direction your writing is going,
try rhyming about that person,
try listing things about that person,
try moving that person around in time,
try writing from that person’s point of view

5
describe the person as though you’re describing the details of a photo

6
let your journal pages marinate overnight in the refrigerator or at room temp

7
cut away all the lame stuff
cut away all the stuff that doesn’t deeply satisfy your aesthetic
cut away the stuff you put in there just for the teacher
cut away anything you’ve heard or read before

8
replace boring verbs with better ones
cut away all the fake words
sprinkle in literary devices until a poem appears
(if no poem appears repeat steps 1-5)

9
break your lines. make it look like a poem. not a paragraph.

10
proofread and read out loud and tweak and fix and submit

~~~

Huerta’s rules about writing about people you know and people you don’t

1.  Conversations about a past event will entice the reader to forge ahead.

2.  Objects around the poems location bring realism to your story and will build a bond between you and the reader. Common household products and animals, for instance, are worthy objects. Politics and trauma are questionable. 

3.  Never write about your feelings or love loss. You’re better than this and no one cares.

4.  If writer's block is something you are suffering from, try your hardest to live in the present with an unapologetic eye for your surroundings. Read the room, write it down. Repeat.

5.  Creating a mad lib style game will force your imagination. Pick up the daily paper and create a story using the police blotter and your comrades. 

6.  Always mix imagination with reality. Because the best shit happens when the fresh river meets the salty sea. Where the tears from your fears clash with consciousness to create a story worthy of telling again and most importantly for someone else to repeat it.
Read more "JON HUERTA and TIM STALEY -POETRY INSTRUCTION BATTLE – HOW TO WRITE ABOUT A SPECIFIC PERSON"

JOHN DOYLE – KENTUCKY FRIED SON OF A BITCH

Kentucky Fried Son of a Bitch
 
War - it's good for something, Edwin,
like keeping munitions factories steadily employed
rather than earnings gone on horses, booze,
ass-grooves impressed so deep on bar-stools
 
archaeologists in 500,000 years 
might consider them
completely different species 
- anonymous maximus;
 
War gave us Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sasoon, 
Richard Whidmark, Florence Nightingale, 
dogs who carry honorary ranks
Walt Disney make wholly distorted films about, 
 
but hey -
it's all good, Edwin.
Sometimes I feel like a Kentucky Fried Son of a Bitch
having these conversations 
 
over and over. 
How Dresden and Coventry
united us as a global community,
yin and yang like two sages
 
sitting beside me, neither satisfied
at how far I will take them, before the fluttering wings of 
waitresses twist on the stench of spilled draught
and bathroom odours, reminding me of wars still raging.
 
Yeah, he's a Kentucky fried son of a bitch
they say,
passing elbows elbows nudge me like shells pounding on 
Dresden and Coventry. The thrill of it all.
Read more "JOHN DOYLE – KENTUCKY FRIED SON OF A BITCH"

RICKY WINTERS – 3 POEMS

“ghost”
    
my disguise is my only friend but at times it stabs me in the back too




“caraphernelia”


this portrait of beauty still remains upon my eyes 
the soft colors that dance around my sorrow and mock the ache in my chest
the blinding lights of the heart you have broken and carved out have dimmed their glow to an absolute fog
they too have fallen into the pits of regret and anguish 
just as I 




“damien”


‪his eyes were clouds and the rain never stopped

Read more "RICKY WINTERS – 3 POEMS"

MARK ANTHONY PEARCE – 2 POEMS

SEATON 
 
As we walk across 
Seaton Beach 
My Grandfather 
Asks me of my prospects 
‘I’m 75’ 
He said 
‘Soon I’ll be fucking dead’ 
He seems to think life will work out for me 
But for a brief moment 
We are lost 
Eventually we find my mother 
And grumpy Grandma 
Before eating fish and chips 
My eyes looking up towards the sun 
 
Bristol, August 2006 


GULAG 

Where he worked 
He lived 
And did not like 
To be reminded 
That he did 
He was always reliable 
But found others far from it 
He cursed them 
Under his breath 
As the days rolled by 
With cigarettes and coffee 
To try and ease the strain 
Sometimes it rained 
Sometimes it was windy 
And jobs would not be done 
He sat in his chair 
Made phone calls 
Annoyed 
Often cynical 
He would nonetheless 
Face his humiliation 
With a rare bravery 
One day 
One of his sons 
Wrote on a piece of paper 
‘GULAG’ 
And stuck it on the wall 
Of his office 
He snarled 
At his sons sense of humour 
Because by Christ 
It felt like one 

Colchester, April 2007 






Mark Anthony Pearce lives and works as a Receptionist in Bristol, England. His poetry has been published in University of Essex Poetry Journal, BS Poetry Magazine and online, Inefável, Coronaverses, Winamop, Horror Sleaze Trash, Duane’s PoeTree & Piker Press. Mark’s writing has also featured in ‘Anne Bean: Self Etc’ (Live Art Development Agency and Intellect Books, Autumn 2018) 






Read more "MARK ANTHONY PEARCE – 2 POEMS"

Joey Nicoletti – To Razor Shines

To Razor Shines

Dear Mr. Shines: Razor,
do I have to live
a life others want
for me, just because
they’ve chosen it
for themselves?

When I look at your baseball card,
I see the back yard
of the house I grew up in,
where hubcaps bloomed
beside black-eyed-Susans.
I see myself

sitting at a round, burgundy
spray-painted wooden table,
slurping a glass of iced tea
as I read and memorize
the names of ballplayers
and the various cities and towns
they hail from. For instance,

Razor is your middle name.
Durham, North Carolina,
intrigued me: it was
somewhere and something different
from what I knew;
hundreds of miles away

from the constant yelling,
screaming, kicking, and punching;
from the rubber boots, pumps,
and knives the adults
in my family hurled
at each other
as well as me. Your name;
 
your career in The Show;
your time as a Montreal Expo
became a hope
that I could make
a different reality
for myself;

that I could find
my own way
to be present
in the moment
without knowing
precisely how
 
things would work out.
And I am grateful
to have this card,
this marvelous window,
where I can still see and hear
some chickadees, perched
on a clothesline; their gold chatter
cracking a concrete patio.

~

Joey Nicoletti is the author of four books and four chapbooks, most recently Boombox Serenade (BlazeVOX, 2019) and Counterfeit Moon (NightBallet Press, 2016). Of course we are partial to his collection THUNDERSNOW because we published it.

Read more "Joey Nicoletti – To Razor Shines"