GAS Featured Poet or Featured Writer

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Send 5 of your best poems/flash fiction pieces and bio note up to 75 words in the body of an email but send jpeg photo (head shot) as attachment to If you don't hear back within 5 days, it's a pass. Wait at least 2 months before trying again.

GAS Video Show and Artist Features:

Please inquire through email.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Featured Artist: Dawn Nelson Wardrope, presented by Sylvia Van Nooten

Dawn Nelson Wardrope’s art is amazing and original.  She celebrates absurdity with beautiful Dada collages, each one a short story or poem unto itself.  She never ceases to surprise me with her imagination and talent.  Hers are the types of images that hint at a person with one foot in this world and the other in worlds most of us cannot access.  For this reason I am always delighted to see her new work.  She reminds me that life is not a concrete depiction or shared reality, but a process of discovery and invention. 
                                         ~ Sylvia Van Nooten 

The artist in her own words:

Making art makes me happy. I do it for myself but if someone else enjoys it then that is a wonderful thing. I had my two children very young and I focused all of my energies into them. I loved being a young mum and now they are fully grown, loving and kind. 

So for the past five years I have been enjoying experimenting with collage, digital art and concrete poetry. I am interested in looking deeply into myself and finding out who I fully am, what I love and what I find beautiful and why I think such and such is beautiful. I find this exploration of myself fascinating. I feel privileged to see beauty the way I do and to feel things the way I feel them. I can take great pleasure in a small scrap of paper, finding it quite beautiful and that interests me.

I find connecting with the part of myself which is fun loving and playful has helped me deal with some traumatic experiences I have had including with the educational system although I still have regular nightmares relating back to my unhappiness at school. Art, and in particular Dada art, has helped me make peace with my dyslexia and dyscalculia. I have managed to connect with this essential art movement and all it’s ridiculousness and it has opened a door for me and people like me to be a channel of creativity. My brother Stephen Nelson who is a brilliant writer has played a vital role in my life. He introduced me to these alternative art forms and I would be nowhere without him. I am forever grateful to him. My dad also encouraged me greatly and I think he would have been very happy at how things have played out in my life. I am not an intellectual, I am a seer and I feel everything deeply. I believe we all have creative gifts and I love when humans thrive and develop these gifts. Which leads me on to the next question...

When you are an artist it’s basically full disclosure. What you create is who you are on the inside, your secret self so to speak. So you are communicating with the world and you feel vulnerable. The world might not want to communicate back. But as I said I mainly do my art for myself. I enjoy revisiting and exploring my inner child. I had a very lovely childhood with the most attentive parents imaginable. I was a dreamer, a deep thinker, a romantic but going through the educational system was traumatic and a very negative experience for me and did indeed crush my spirit and affected the whole course of my life. I got married and had my children very young and from a place of woundedness but through absolute adoration and devotion to my beautiful children,  Samuel and Suzannah, years do speak and I am happy and content at how life has helped me heal and grow. It’s been a very eventful and interesting journey for me. So I guess art has indeed helped me communicate back to life and with the world. It has softened the blow and enabled me to shine a little, maybe...

I was introduced to Facebook by my brother and my mum. I joined a lot of groups and through time developed many fine friends. I respect and love a lot of them and I must name a few, Maralena Howard from the USA, Kimm Kirriako from Canada, Nicola Winborn from England, Sabine Remy from Germany, Cal Wenby from England and there are many more. I have been inspired and encouraged greatly by these artists and I am thankful for their friendship. My life is richer because of them. There is one woman who I feel a special affinity with in fact I think everyone loves and looks up to her. Her name is Laurence Gillot~Ecrivain. She has given me the confidence to be myself and has shown me that I am not alone in the things I love. She is from France and I would love to meet her. There are some people in the world who are not afraid to be tender and sweet. They are poetic and are willing to dream and to participate in such and such things...


Dawn is a dada/collage artist and a concrete poet. Dawn hopes her work is touching to the beholder, fun loving and cheerful. She is the author of Fisherwoman, The Penman, a Serious Writer, and Remnants of the Red Ribbon Sect. She has been published in many magazines including: Otoliths, Utsanga, Angry Old Man, Marsh Flower Gallery, Experiment ~O, Timeglasset 6, Renagade, Sonic Boom (cover artist also), and Ragged Lion Press. Dawn posts regularly on Instagram and Facebook. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

WHAT MAGICK MAY NOT ALTER by JC Reilly, reviewed by Su Zi

Every now and then, a book comes along that is pure joy to read.

As experienced readers, we might be a bit jaded, a bit prone to preference; nonetheless there’s also the euphoria of finding a talented voice, a voice that is adept, even to a classically educated ear. The experienced reader may or may not be a professional artist of language, but certain elements are prosaic in any communication: the line of thought and how that line becomes calligraphed. Even in the children of language as common as television, there are still classical structures: character, plot, setting – and if the setting is historical, we get to witness the test of the research in play before us.

Historical fiction, as a product of industrial publishing, has been packaged as a women’s read, mostly. Overtly feminist works, unless they are the products of those produced to be famous, require the reader to be familiar with hunting university or small presses, or astute independent bookstores. If the work’s text concerns ancestral religious practices, the volume might find some proximity to the shelf of tarot decks. The reader might expect to find perhaps instructions on dancing naked, or a narrative with unusual character names. What might be egregiously overlooked is the work’s setting and how faithful it might be regarding authentic regionalism. Of course, the experienced reader is familiar with those in the canon who used their settings as righteous influence on the characters, ever better when the setting is carefully researched. The reader might even have favorites for repeat readings, narratives of resonance, a beloved novel. 

But in poetry?

Yes. Here in What Magick May Not Alter  (Madville, 2020) are seven chapters of poems, researched from sources as varied as newspapers and The Mabinogion, which comprise a full length volume , a narrative structure of the coming of age of twin sisters, Tallulah and Vidalia. The book opens with a vision the two sisters repairing a quilt, as a single introductory chapter told in prose sections that bloom into prose poetry. The first poem in the work is about a photograph, a family portrait that introduces the characters “[…] The twins,/tall for their age and fluffy as meringues/in yards of white, ruffled lawn, hold hands before her”(6)” The work continues through the family saga, with notable inclusions of spirit practice and of place, that give the reader the experience of this family as if through scrapbook and legend.       

Of fascinating placement in the work are three poems "The Colonel’s Last Stand", "Blue Moon" and "Old Wives’ Oak", Again, with the Colonel poem having seen literary publication. The Colonel , “this sage magnolia […] dubbed ‘the Colonel’ after her papa,/ planted on a rise overlooking/the lake when her parents wed (33)” is a landmark for the family; the lake is the Caddo, is named in the text, and the poem both recenters the setting to a specific, authentic place, and foreshadows the curve of the narrative. The following poem, "Blue Moon" asserts, “so the Blue Moon is Judas’ Moon:/ the Old Church would grieve its arrival/ in Lent as the Betrayer, In 1901, (35)”  gives a tone to the work reminiscent of the Greek chorus’s function in Sophocles. The reader is gently wafted with the narrative complication in the assonantly titled "Old Wives’ Oak", Again when one of the twins remarks on the suitor to her sister,

 “ I could not spare/

 her, once the Old Wives’ magick//

 struck; as dumb love clouded her eyes, 

/fate’s yellow trumpet resounded/

through somber-bare branches, like a sigh (37)”.

The poems continue through the lives of these sisters and their family, and the time, and the place. The reader is as swept into this world as if a novel, except that this is a poem sequence of over 70 poems.

Epic poetry is rare in literature overall, with the archetypical journey employed as a way of advancing the text into parable. This text is a history-based journey, but here, the protagonist, the mythic hero, is a Louisiana girl; her challenges are genuine, but of a different realm than the physical battlefields of life.  What Magick May Not Alter is more than a verse novel, although it can be read with that ease; in this work, researched history becomes poetry instead of academic essay, and the lives of women in a family become both testament to region, to their time, and to an unacknowledged heroism.

What Magick May Not Alter  is available through Madville Publishing.

The author is on twitter @aishatonu

and has a blog  JC Reilly: Poeta Venum

TYPESCENES by Rodney A. Brown, reviewed by Hex’m J’ai

  • Publisher : Unlikely Books (September 11, 2020)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 70 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1733714359
  • ISBN-13 : 978-17337143

Typescenes by Rodney A. Brown

 was a finalist for the Medal Provocateur, but did not win. It is still a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize, which will be announced around May 10.


Typescenes  is an Experiment:










Typescenes is an experience.  

The author has, through the medium or vehicle of prose poetry, invited us to participate in both….the Experiment and the Experience which are essentially one and the same, though not identical.  Are you intrigued yet?  Are you confused?  Have I lost you yet?


To clarify, once you crack open Typescenes you, the audience, have agreed to participate in the endeavor.  Whether you are an active or passive participant is irrelevant.  Whether you are aware of participating is also irrelevant.  This is an experiment in the application of language and its effect on the human psyche.  Particularly, the application of one word, “_______” to create solid connections or divisions in meaning through subtle and obvious direction.  It is the use or application of “_________” in a similar fashion to the “one thing” of the Thrice Great Hermes.  

The author’s execution of this endeavor is at once simple, precise and enveloping.  Through the author’s wordsmithing we are invited to enjoy a work of avant-pop sensibility that is smart, interactive and is still readily accessible to all.

To paraphrase the publisher of this work, the Forward, Preface, Acknowledgements and About the Author are not required to engage in this work.  You could just jump directly into the poetic density unassisted.  That said, by partaking in these peripheral items your experience is thoroughly enhanced as they are deftly crafted and execute the perfect preparation for the work itself.  This creates an experiment that is therefore collaborative.  

In conclusion, I implore you to “_________” Typescenes.  By “________”ing Typscenes you will not just add it to your physical or digital library, it will also be a volume for ever in your psychic library. 

Typescenes is available on Amazon.

(Excerpt From Author’s Bio: )

Since this Author grew up being held up and also having to hold themselves down while colliding with separate and unequal educational and social service systems_ waves of culturally ignorant national drug policies on crack and opioid epidemics_ United States Veterans lives_ Black bodies with AIDS_ Black bodies on Black bodies violence_ federal surveillance of poor and woke bodies_ especially legalized brutality including government legislation leading to the murder and forced migrations of peoples This author knows miracles_

Saturday, April 17, 2021

GAS Featured Poet: Merritt Waldon

Merritt Waldon is Southern Indiana poet who has been published in Road Dawgz, Sun Poetic Times,The Brooklyn Rail, Be About It Zine, River Dog #1, Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts, Americans & others anthology fourth edition, Crisis Chronicles, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, and Fearless! At midnight Christmas night 2020, Cajun Mutt Press released Oracles from a Strange Fire by Ron Whitehead & Merritt. He lives in Austin, Indiana

Merritt has joined the GAS staff as an interviewer/reviewer. His first article with us was an interview with his mentor, Ron Whitehead.  It is located two articles below this one.

Here is an sampling of his poetry:

Star perched ravens nest__

In the wilderness, a repetitive pilgrimage 

Of Spirit & earth

Muddy mingling of forms

Brown, green & ruddy

The world spins

As I sit here cackling and Cawing

The winged eternal songs

Weaving each moment beak wise

Into a nest perched upon a star

Tending to the hatchling future

Struggling for life


Will I even recognize the music__

Thoughts slide down the wall behind me

Slowly moving, drying to the wall

Sky percolates with rain

I take a piece of paper & wipe the thoughts off

The wall

Once dried they will be the perfect

Song for boredom sang by birds,

Television, traffic, & of course

Blown out thoughts

I now think of finding the page years from now

Will I even recognize the music

SINGING IN MY CHAINS LIKE THE SEA by Bengt O Björklund, reviewed by Belinda Subraman

Bengt has an amazing relationship with English and poetry. From the first time I read Bengt’s poetry I was amazed with the deft flow of rhythm and meaning. His words convey the awesomeness of seeing many perspectives at once, a knowledge that this life is all we have so dance with it, create new steps. This dance is with the mystical code of syllables and breath.  He makes the words bend, turn and twirl and transform. He creates a sort of magical, energetic realism and I often stop to take it in, savor it, and move with it too.

The opening poem is a good example:

puddles of wet word joy

shines in spite

on canvas of it all


there are worms
in my fight for regard 

I am hollow 

dice is my name 

crossed fingers 

and a special resilience 

dipped in ambiguity 

and a kind of loneliness 

birds respond to 

The perfect title of this book is taken from this quote:

Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea

Dylan Thomas

 Singing in my chains like the Sea is available on Amazon.

Over the last 40 years Bengt O Björklund has published six volumes in his native language Swedish: Det genombrutna fönstret, Inferi 1975; Nådsökarna, Inferi, 1978; Staden, Utposter 2003; Jag missade Woodstock, Podium 2009; Funderingar, Podium 2010; Vi drömde om en circus, FEL Forlag 2013. The two volumes published in 2009 and 2013 are autobiographical works in a poetic form. This is the first collection of his poems in English although he has been writing poetry in English for nearly 50 years since his imprisonment in an Istanbul Gaol. THis collection gathers his more recent 21st century writing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Interview with RON WHITEHEAD presented by Merritt Waldon

photo by Yunier Ramirez

Poet, writer, editor, publisher, professor, scholar, activist Ron Whitehead is the author of 24 books and 34 albums. In 1994 he wrote the poem “Never Give Up” with His Holiness The Dalai Lama. In 1996 he produced the Official Hunter S. Thompson Tribute featuring Hunter, his mother Virginia, his son Juan, Johnny Depp, Warren Zevon, Douglas Brinkley, David Amram, Roxanne Pulitzer, and many more. Ron has produced thousands of events and festivals, including 24 & 48 & 72 & 90 hour non-stop music & poetry Insomniacthons,in Europe and the USA. He has presented thousands of readings, talks, and performances around the world. He has edited and published hundreds of titles including works by President Jimmy Carter, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Seamus Heaney, Wendell Berry, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Rita Dove, Diane di Prima, Bono, John Updike, Douglas Brinkley, Jim Carroll, Anne Waldman, Joy Harjo, Yoko Ono, Robert Hunter, Amiri Baraka, Hunter S. Thompson, and numerous others. The recipient of many awards, his work has been translated into 20 languages. In 2018 Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer presented Ron with a Lifetime Achievement for Work in The Arts Award. In 2019 Ron was named Kentucky’s Beat Poet Laureate and was also the first U.S. citizen to be named UNESCO’s Tartu City of Literature Writer-in-Residence. He is co-founder and Chief of Poetics for Gonzofest Louisville. Outlaw Poet: The Legend of Ron Whitehead movie will be released by Storm Generation Films/Dark Star TV in 2021. 


photo by Clayton Luce

Merritt Waldon: Hello Ron, please tell me about yourself. Who is Ron Whitehead?

Ron Whitehead: Hello Merritt! I’m a wild nature Kentucky farm boy who loves adventuring into the unknown. I’ve been blessed that poetry, my main vehicle of communication, has taken me across the USA and to at least 20 countries around the world. I love to travel to new places and meet new people. I admire and respect all our beautiful differences. And I’m forever searching for and discovering what we have in common. We’re all dirty potatoes floating in the same tub of polluted water and the more we bang into each other by openly honestly sharing the stories of our lives the more we come clean. I love to hear the stories of people’s lives. I have friends everywhere. When I was a boy I learned that to have friends I’ve got to be a friend. If I’m friendly then most other folks will be friendly too. 


MW: You lived in Iceland for 2 years. After climbing  The Viking Mountain you wrote “The Storm Generation Manifesto.” What is it like in Iceland? How did you meet Olafur Gunnarsson?

RW:  Iceland is majestic. It’s been 20 years since I lived there. But I’ve returned many times for performances and visits. In May 2008 Olafur Gunnarsson, Iceland’s most respected novelist, and I produced Iceland’s first Beat Generation Festival. We held the festival on his beautiful land, Storra Klopp, Big Rock, several miles outside Reykjavik. It was an amazing event. For 2 weeks I stayed in his guest house. Every time I stepped out my door I looked into the gorgeous valley with the crystal river and then across the valley to the legendary Viking Mountain. Olafur knows more than anyone I’ve ever met about the history of the Vikings, especially their history in Iceland. 3 days after the festival I solo climbed the mountain. When Olafur dropped me off at the base of the mountain he said, “Ron, be careful. I forgot to mention that several people have been blown off the top of the mountain to their deaths.” I stopped, turned and stared at him, then laughed. He said, “I’m serious.” I said, “Thanks for letting me know.” As I walked away light rain started to fall. 

The higher I climbed the harder the rain fell. 

Then the temperature dropped and the wind began to howl. The rain turned to hail. The hail turned to sleet. The sleet turned to thick snow. I continued to climb the now treacherous slope. I reached the summit and was nearly blown off the other side, which was straight down. I was staring down into the abyss the other folks had fallen into and died. I quickly turned and, crawling,  pulled myself down behind a giant boulder. For 15 minutes I had a non-stop series of epiphanies. Then I stood up, faced the howling screaming north wind, uncorked my 1.5 liter bottle of red wine, which is all I had in my backpack, drained half of it, thanked the Norse Gods for finally accepting and embracing me. Then I made my descent. 

Olafur and I had many way into the night conversations and with his inspired help, honoring all the previous cutting edge avant-garde generations and movements, which have helped us be here now, realizing we were being called upon to birth a new generation, “The Storm Generation Manifesto” was born. 

In 2013 I became godfather to amazing Icelandic musicians, Tanya Lind and Marlon Pollock. The pagan ceremony, led by the High Priestess of Icelandic HIgh Paganism, was held way out in nature, at the base of the volcano that shut down all European air traffic in 2010. My partner Jinn Bug and I climbed The Viking Mountain. I did several performances on that trip. A Storm Generation Films crew accompanied us and captured incredible footage, some of which will be included in the Outlaw Poet film. Jinn and I hope to return to Iceland later this year. 


MW: I watched the video of The Crystal River World Peace Sand Mandala Ceremony you did on the 2013 Iceland trip. How important to your poetics is the spiritual?

RW: I am spirit. I am matter. I am a spiritual warrior poet. The older I get the more I realize I don’t know anything, no one does. We’re all guessing, feeling our way, grappling for answers. But every day I have encounters with the spirit world. We are all in perpetual motion, in transition, even when we are still, silent, listening. Listening is the greatest art of all. Not-knowing is the fundamental plowed earth of our being, not-knowing. It is our life source. Embrace the wind. Embrace my heart. Born to die, there is no safety, all is demanded. Expose yourself completely. Accept the consequences of your successes, and your failures, as no other dare. Enlightened mind is not special, it is natural. Present yourself as you are, wise fool. Don’t hesitate, embrace mystery paradox uncertainty. Have courage. Through fear, and boredom, have faith. Be compassion. Embrace the wind. Embrace your heart. Not-knowing is the fundamental plowed earth of our being. It is our life source. Not-knowing.

Today ‘Specialization’ is sold on every corner, fed in every home, brainwashed into every student, every young person. We are told that the only way to succeed, here at the beginning of the 21st Century is to put all our time, energy, learning, and focus into one area, one field, one specialty: math, science, computer technology, business, government, the gaining of material wealth, the material world. If we don’t we will fail. We are subtly and forcefully, implicitly and explicitly, encouraged to deny the rest of who we are, our total self, selves, our holistic being. The postmodern brave new world resides inside the computer via The Web with only faint peripheral recognition to the person, the individual - and by extension the real global community, the real human being operating the machine. The idea of and belief in specialization as the only path, only possibility, has sped up the fragmentation, the alienation which began to grow rapidly within the individual, radically reshaping culture, over a century and a half ago with the birth of those Machiavellian revolutions in technology, industry, and war. And with the growing fracturing fragmentation and alienation comes the path – anger, fear, anxiety, angst, ennui, nihilism, depression, despair – that, for the person of action, leads to suicide. Unless, through our paradoxical leap of creative faith we engage ourselves in the belief, which can become a life mission that regardless of the consequences, we can, through our engagement, our actions, our loving life work, make the world a better, safer, friendlier place in which to live. Sound naive? What place does the antinomian voice, the voice that, though trembling, speaks out against The Powers That Be, what place does this Visionary Outsider Voice have in the real violent world in which we are immersed? Are we too desensitized to the violence, to the fact that in the past Century alone we have murdered over 160 million people in one war after another, to even think it worthwhile to consider the possibility of a less violent world? Are we too small, too insignificant to make any kind of difference? The power and greed mongers have control. What difference can one individual life possibly make, possibly matter?

Today the millennial generation is swollen with young people yearning to express the creative energies buried in their hearts, seeping from every pore of their beings. They ache to change to heal the world. Is it still possible? Is it too late? Is there anyone (a group?) left to show the way to be an example? To be a guide? A mentor? James Joyce, King of Modernism, said the idea of the hero was nothing but a damn lie that the primary motivating forces are passion and compassion. As late as 1984 people were laughing at George Orwell. Today, as we finally dwell in an Orwellian culture of simulation life on the screen landscape, can we remember passion and compassion or has the postmodern ironic satyric death in life game laugh killed both sperm and egg? Is there anywhere worth going from here? Is it any wonder that today’s youth have adopted Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Herbert Huncke, Gregory Corso, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Amiri Baraka, David Amram, Diane di Prima, Bob Dylan, Hunter S. Thompson, Patti Smith, The Clash, and all the other Beat Generation and related poets, writers, artists, musicians as their inspirational, life-affirming antinomian ancestors? These are people who have stood up against unreasoning power/right/might, looked that power in the eyes and said NO I don’t agree with you and this is why. And they have spoken these words, not for money or for fame, but out of life’s deepest convictions, out of the belief that we, each one of us, no matter our skin color our economic status our political religious sexual preferences, all of us have the right to live to dream as we choose rather than as some supposed higher moral authority prescribes for us. I choose to be a spiritual warrior poet.

Can poetry, music, film, dance, art matter? Are they merely a gold exchange for the rich? The crucible of the alchemical arts blends the terrible beauty of the natural world with questions of global social conscience. Poems stories songs films dance photographs art defy categorization. They are authentic original expressions of spirit dwelling in dynamic harmony with nature.

What is involved in the process of artistic creation? And how is that process related to space and time? What makes it possible for a handful of poets, musicians, filmmakers, dancers, artists to maneuver in a molecular universe, where immersion at will into things and being other than self is readily accomplished, rather than the dreary chore of drudging through the thick cellular world? The answers are simply complex and like truth, time and water they constantly slip through fingers away, away but the past recalled becomes present again and in a sense when we look anywhere including back into the past we are looking with some form of anticipation which is an attribute of future time so where are we really? How do how will poets, writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, photographers, inhabitors of the creative realms of the 21st Century respond to these questions? Some respond with ironic, comic faith, some with passion, with compassion, without which the intelligent sensitive creature will inevitably traverse the Valley of The Shadow of Death encountering Angst, Despair, Ennui, and possibly Suicide. The sensitive individual poet writer musician artist filmmaker photographer prophet, the empath whose natural ability is negative capability, ineluctably chooses the life-game quest of self-creation in the possibly infinite probability of possible realities in the self-contained inter-connected Ocean of Consciousness.

There are no answers, only questions.

My argument for The Ocean of Consciousness reaches back to the early experiential understanding of holy while reaching forward beyond the limits of dialectical gnosticism to an alchemy that also transcends divisions inherent in the alienation the fragmentation of Deep Modernism and the superficial chaos of postmodernism. Even if you are a cryptanalyst and are able to turn into plain text the coded messages of Lacan but also the utterances of French existentialists, deconstructionists, poststructuralists, and all the other sibilant schools that flowed out of postwar France what leads you to believe that the deadly serious egocentric humor of postmodernism where theory is lauded as more important than text (whatever text might be: book, song, painting, film, life, etc) can possibly be the final word? Deconstructing a text does not designify does not make the text less than what it was before you playfully surgically took it apart and, if you’re a good mechanic, put it back together again even if you gave it new features. No matter how much taking apart deconstructing you do there will always remain something, a meaningful essence that cannot be destroyed.

The poet writer musician filmmaker photographer dancer artist deconstructs realism. She employs the innovative technique of intercalation: the juxtaposition of scenes in time. She is Elus Cohen, Elect Priest of Expressionism, Cubism, Modernism, Dadaism, Surrealism, postmodernism but she is more. She is Master Alchemist, Master Magician. Her long slender hand reaches towards me, grabs my throat, and pulls me into the text, the book, the song, the art, the film, the photo, the dance. Manger du Livre indeed! I not only consume the book: the book consumes me. Now I, with her, am Elus Cohen juxtaposing scenes in time and space in her, in me. My original perception, awareness, and senses are fractured, fractalled, and exiting the poem, the song, the film, the dance, the art I find I am rearranged. I now have new perspective, awareness, senses. I look at others. Are their expressions different as they look at me? I must look different. I feel different. I am different. Me. And me now. I,I. Ha. Aha! Now as my hand moves this pen across this page I change. I am transformed. I am never the same. My molecules jump, sway, swoon, dance across the page, giggling, laughing, singing, happy to be new! It’s spring again! They shout Yes Yes Yes!!!

Poetry, music, film, dance, art create new resonant myths. Knowledge, from the inception of Modernism and through postmodernism to The Ocean of Consciousness, is reorganized, redefined through literature, music, art, film, photography. The genres are changing, the canons are exploding, as is culture. The mythopoetic  the privileged sense of sight, of modern, contemporary, avant-garde poets, writers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, dancers, artists are examples of art forms of a society, a culture, a civilization, a world, in which humanity lives, not securely in cities nor innocently in the country, but on the apocalyptic, simultaneous edge of a new realm of being and understanding. The mythopoet, female and male, returns to the role of prophet-seer by creating myths that resonate in the minds of readers, myths that speak with the authority of the ancient myths, myths that are gifts from the creative realms of being, gifts from the shadow.

MW: What does it mean to be an outlaw poet? 

RW: "To live outside the law you must be honest." 

--Bob Dylan, Outlaw Poet

"An outlaw can be defined as somebody who lives outside the law, beyond the law, not necessarily against it. By the time I wrote Hell's Angels  I was riding with them and it was clear that it was no longer possible for me to go back and live within the law. There were a lot more outlaws than me. I was just a writer. I wasn't trying to be an outlaw writer. I never heard of the term, somebody else made it up. But we were all outside the law, Kerouac, Miller, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kesey, me. I didn't have a gauge as to who was the worst outlaw. I just recognized my allies, my people." 

--Hunter S. Thompson, Outlaw Writer 


MW: As a Kentucky poet, what was the greatest moment in your life so far?

RW: Every moment of my life has been a gift, a treasure beyond measure. Without any one of those moments I would not be who and where I am today. 


MW: If there was one thing you wanted to tell the world what would it be?

RW: Never Give Up

Never give up

 No matter what is going on

 Never give up

Develop the heart

 Too much energy in the world 

is spent developing the mind 

instead of the heart 

Develop the heart 

Be compassionate

 Not just to your friends

 but with everyone

 Be compassionate

Work for peace

 In your heart and in the world

 Work for peace

And I say again

 Never give up

 No matter what is going on around you

 Never give up 

Ron Whitehead & His Holiness The Dalai Lama 


Friday, April 9, 2021

LOST ON YOU by LP: Album review by Kevin M. Hibshman

Androgynous singer/songwriter LP (Laura Pergolizzi) has to date released seven albums on various labels and although all are worthy of a listen, Lost On You, their fourth outing, represents an artistic and should-have been commercial peak. 

        At its smokey core, this is really a finely executed pop album with hooks galore and memorable melodies to spare. It retains a unique sophistication due to LP's bluesy, belting vocals and their ability to mesh a variety of incongruent styles into a singularly refined sound. There are hints of electro-pop, folk, gospel, blues and classic rock and roll throughout the album's ten solid tracks.

        The pop finesse of their material comes as no surprise as they have written songs for Cher, Rihanna and Celine Dion, among others. They have become something of a icon and inspiration to LGBTQ youth in several countries. This album went platinum in Italy and France, selling 50,000 and 100,000 copies respectively and double platinum in Poland where it has sold 40,000 copies. The powerful opening track, Muddy Waters, was featured in the closing scene of Netflix's hit, Orange Is The New Black  in 2016 and was heard in the trailer for NBC's Shades Of Blue. They also worked with Morrissey in 2018, contributing background vocals to his cover of Roy Orbison's It's Over. 

        Highlights from the album include the moving piano-based ballad, “Switchblade,”  the irresistible groove of the title track and the closing number,”Long Way To Go To Die” which has an unforced poignancy that lingers on with the listener. This is a fine, under-appreciated effort by a talented maverick that deserves to be heard. I leave you with a lyric from “Strange”... “We are all strange but it ain't never ever ever gonna change.” 

Watch a performance of Lost on You on YouTube.


 (Thanks to brother John Patrick Robbins who turned me on to this artist.)