Friday, March 13, 2009

Book Launch Party / Bail Out What?

[Note: we shall be posting video clips of the book launch event soon. Please come back to check them out.]

The drawing on the left is an image that was shown to accompany the book launch party at the Bowery Poetry Club the other night for "Love, War, Fire Wind: Looking Out from North America's Skull" with poems (& prose) by Eliot Katz & art by William T. Ayton. The drawing is not actually in the book, but was created especially for the reading by Ayton. It may find its way into the forthcoming Narcissus Volume I literary review...

The launch was a big success with around 60 or so people in the confines of the Bowery Poetry Club. There were special guests — longtime Katz collaborator & friend Danny Shot did a terrific job of emceeing, Alicia Ostriker read a poem & also read out her great blurb from the back cover of the book. Diana Ayton-Shenker introduced Narcissus Press & read a new poem, "Scars". Bassist Russell Branca accompanied Katz's reading on his double bass. There was a video put together by Vivian Demuth showing the Candadian Rockies locale which helped to serve as inspiration for many of the poems (North America's Skull refers to Nose Mountain & environs in that area). Andy Clausen was there, Bangladeshi poet Taslima Nasreen dropped by, as did Brooklyn poet Steve Bloom, and writer Mickey Z, Danny Schechter was there, and here's a mention from his blog (near the foot of the page)...

There were many people there & apologies if you're not mentioned here...

Here is the poem that the above image was projected with:

Bail Out What?

As the U.S.-built trojan-horse mortgage-backed insecurities
crisis continues to hop aboard freight elevators moving
continually downwards; as the Wall Street bull let loose from its
iron base continues to rampage through the trickle-down
bloody back streets of overworked America; as a discredited
treasury department of a disgraced presidency attempts to tickle
nation’s plastic-card wallets by yet one more midnight
pour-oil-down-the-bank-chimney approach; as Congress shrugs
its confused shoulders and nods in sleepy assent, with Democrats
making sure recruit enough Republican votes to share blame
for a firecracker bill they all knew in advance was a dud; as nervous
homeowners and shopkeepers wait by silent phones for a sign
from heaven that manna-tasting loans and credit cards are
raining from the skies in infinite variety of shapes and sizes;
as the four corners of the decade’s deregulated pyramid
scheme prove no match for international capital’s globalized
wrecking ball; why should it surprise that a chef’s knife can’t carve
edible food out of a stack of blowing thousand-dollar bills?

With all major commentators warning about the need to halt
the next Great Depression, where’s the proposal for a new
New Deal? Why not Dems voting for bills they are proud
to pass alone, and then watch Bush sign because embarrassed
there is no other rational or irrational choice? Why not put world’s
heaviest military budget on a strict low-carb diet? Why not new
olive-green bridge-building projects paying a guaranteed living wage?
Why not freeze foreclosures and send $10,000 checks to every
struggling renter and homeless family worried about opening
their next medical bill? Why not rip all medical bills and create
a single-payer health security system? Send every high school
graduate to college as long as they can learn to mapquest
their way there! Build the next generation of pyramids with clear
publicly accountable front windows! There are so many jobs waiting
for those who can help build a solar energy cell or write a song
to heal a deeply troubled nation. Let’s tickle the bottom of
the economy’s feet and watch the electricity rise upward.

Eliot Katz — October 2008

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