"RENTED MULE is a knockout! I feel Wolfgang Carstens' poetry is a working man's blues, but a working man's blues with a sense of humor! The blues and the humor are enhanced by Janne Karlsson's illustrations! The main character here is the Rented Mule, working the MegaMart! The incredible irony of life situations is played out both in the MegaMart and in the home life! Carstens is the master of the slender poem eliciting a whole greater than the sum of its parts, as in "I think": "you spelled/my name tag/wrong,"/I said,/grabbing my mop/and bucket,/"it should say/rented mule." Karlsson's illustrations enhance this hallucinatory world. Carstens yields his own brand of immortality in the poem "some men": "so,/when my time comes,/bury me/with my name tag/and plant my tombstone/on the hill/overlooking/the MegaMart." The humor in this book ranges from the belly laugh to metaphysical irony! The poems and illustrations work together to provide a kind of Zen Drama or Existential Opera! Read this book for an unusual and evocative journey!"
"I've had a chance to read LIPSMACK! and love it! First of all, the design is magnificent! I particularly like the photos of the authors on the back cover and the red endsheets! The cover design, with that great cover stock, is incredible! The legend/description of the authors on the back cover is perfect on the verso of the title page.
The mini-history of your press described in the Editor's Introduction is crucial to the reader, such as me, who is new to viewing the poetry of your press and excited about what you are doing.
The first poet I went to, because she is one of my favorite poets, is Lyn Lifshin. Her WHEN I SEE JOAN OF ARC DRESSED IN ARMOUR PRAYING is a fascinating poem very Lifshin-like in its uncanny narrative, jazzy linebreaks, and history combined with irony. Lyn somehow weaves her own identity or persona into the "other" which or whom she is writing about.
The second poet I found fascinating was George Wallace, whose ALLEGORY BEAUTY ILLUSION FEAR is a gorgeous contrast to Lyn's poem, like the organ grinder's monkey in the rain "this sweet, practical, tubercular, enigmatic, american song." Like so many poems in this volume, the history/narrative is combined with the lyric/irony.
The third poet I found fascinating was Alan Catlin. I love Catlin's poetry. Again, the narrative, the extreme irony, the jazzy rhythms, the coming at things from a different angle. The Same Damn Thing is a beautiful slice of life.
The fourth poet I found fascinating was Andy Roberts. Excellent phrasing. Jazz improvisation with a touch of surrealism. You Know the Type is a gem.
The fifth poet I found fascinating was Margie Shaheed. In her Overheard Conversation #5, Zen meets the backstreet in a marvelous parable."
If you want to check out these fantastic books for yourself, just follow the PayPal links and I'll pop the books in the mail today! The first button is Lipsmack!; the second is Rented Mule.