Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Special Level of Obsessed: Ochester, Watt, Young

by Sarah Marine

Bayard and I took two book trips this weekend.
The first was to the secondhand behemoth, Renaissance Books. The second was to Half-Price Books.

Rummaging through a box of zines at Renaissance, which if you don’t do, you should.
I mean, zine box? Never heard of it or seen it or actually someone told me it’s a box full of baby alligators and anyone reaching into this mythical box will get their hand eaten off!

So anyway, was having this DREAM that I was going through this box and a particular chapbook jumped out at me. We Like It Here, poetry (Madison: Quixote Press, 1967) by Ed Ochester. Immediately I yell, "Bayard!"(yelling is allowed). He is, of course, in comic book land downstairs and instead a surly “employee” walks by. I’m not sure if they have employees or just bibliophile volunteers content to hang out among the dusty volumes. I sit on the floor, back against the shelf, "Who is Ed Ochester? Who is he? Hmmm…" I decide to buy it. The name is so familiar. In the end, I purchase the chapbook, a hardcover collection of modern poetry entitled 'some haystacks don’t even have any needle'- the cover is amazing, just series of hand-drawn lines covering the entire surface. Also bought a child's guide to mapping.

Later that day I went to work at the best bookshop in Milwaukee, Harry W. Schwartz on Downer, and google this Ed Ochester fella. Turns out that since 1979 he has served as general editor of the Pitt Poetry Series. If you don’t know, Dean Young has been published numerous times by Pitt including Skid and elegy on toy piano. Dean Young is the most prolific poet writing today. You should come to Schwartz on Downer and I will tell you in person how reading a poem by Dean Young is like standing inside one of your own red blood corpuscules, sitting on a pillow of hemoglobin, which is quite comfy and you imagine that the cell was designed by some Pangean filmmaker and all the controls are labeled with sharp foreign symbols and you’re looking out into your dark sea of blood and there are rainbow trout and license plates from Nebraska floating around and you forget that you are fantastically standing inside your own blood cell and instead you wonder “Why Nebraska?” you’ve never been to Nebraska, so you at that very moment decide that it’s high time you made your way to Nebraska. Forgive me if any parallel to that is unimaginable, you’ll just have to read something by the man.

The Ed Ochester includes a bizarre ode to Bob Watt. Bob Watt is a Milwaukee mainstay often seen cruising down the North Avenue Street bridge in his Folk Art Institute station wagon, the vehicle itself adorned with a variety of fake flowers, the horns of a bull and mannequin heads. Bob Watt is a poet/artist. It is widely rumored that back in the day he had public altercations with the likes of Robert Creeley and Allen Ginsberg.


StacieMichelle said...

Marine. This may be your best blog on here yet.

ally said...

above agreed. & dean young is awesome.

sarah marine said...

thanks stacie!

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