Join Michael Aaron Casares for a virtual poetry event as he reads select pieces from his upcoming collection, The Vanishing Poet. “Poems from the Edge of Forever” will go live on The Root of Many Returns YouTube channel on Friday April 10th, 2020 at 7 pm central standard time (UC -5). In addition to the poetry reading, there will also be a giveaway for signed copies of The Vanishing Poet and other prizes! Get there early, and get verified! RSVP and spead the word.
Notebooks. Rough drafts. Scratch and scribble. Writers are no stranger to hoarding pages and pages of old writing, throw away lines, brainstorming moments, scribble, and scratch. I finally decided to do a bit of ‘Spring cleaning’ only to find about a dozen tomes (some full, some not) of such writing. I marveled at some of the writings I found, was taken back to ideas I’d forgotten about, and inspired by the possibilities. I found i had enough ammo to keep content coming, books in production, and blog posts rolling .
So far I’ve culled seven notebooks, a half dozen to go. I think I found another book, which means after The Vanishing Poet, readers can expect two more poetry collections (rapid fire: I’d like to see the subsequent collection available later this year or early next year). Cheers.
The Vanishing Poet by Michael Aaron Casares will be available 04.21.2020 from Virgogray Press.
Pre-Order your copy now exclusively from TheRootOfManyReturns.com and get your copy signed by Michael, and shipped for free! In addition to that, all orders placed before 04/10/2020 will have their name added to the Acknowledgements Page and published in the book.
The Vanishing Poet
Poetry by Michael Aaron Casares
Virgogray Press, 2020
104 pages / $15
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The Vanishing Poet, poems by Michael Aaron Casares, collects poetry published just prior to the print-on-demand boom, between 2006 and 2010, on the independent circuit via chapbooks, now defunct online literary resources, and either international or limited run publications. Poems gathered in this collection were also previously published in rare, out of print chapbooks: Limbo (Virgogray Press, 2006), Ghost Roads (Virgogray Press, 2008), The Terrorist (Virgogray Press, 2009), and Green Tea America (New Polish Beat Press, 2009). The Vanishing Poet also features previously unpublished poetry that was written during this time period, including poems “Ruins,” “Poem for This Night,” and “This Concerning Neutrality” (a poem not published or printed since its previous publication in 2005’s Sad Height, a collection of poetry written under the assumed name, Jacob Gray).
Those familiar with Michael’s work from this era will get a rush of nostalgia as they re-read timeless poetry now available for an innumerable audience. The body of poems lay untouched, with exception to grammatical revision. Only few poems saw a face lift, poems that still see relevance to this day, like “End the Fed” and “Fourth Estate, address a social-political concern witnessed by the poet and expressed through his art. As with any mercurial art, though the work does see revision, the poet is careful to keep the meaning, the intonation, and the verve the poem originally presented if not augment. This is found to be the case with the classic, pensive and socio-analytical piece, “Sad Height,” a poem that has existed in one form or another, first verbally then written, for nearly two decades. The poem that serves well as a ‘sequel’ to “Sad Height,” the heavy and beleaguered “Dream of Sky” saw such augmentation, the intention of the poem now at its fullest potential, finite, and in its best form. The Vanishing Poet finalizes this lost era of writing, one dependent on the resources and kinetic wherewithal of the poet to share and spread the word of one and many, a time before the great cyber and digital rush that has inundated our libraries and mental faculties with a deluge of ideas, memoirs and publications. It was a time of the silent revolution of the small and independent press. It was a part of a last ditch effort to create an organic library of unknown literary masters, and to produce the publications romanticized by the wannabe-beat throwaways of the last millennium; it was a time when one hit the road and instead of daydream, to see people face-to-face and not merely their digital soul.
The Vanishing Poet, a new collection of poetry by Michael Aaron Casares, will be published this year by Virgogray Press. Pre-sale, on-sale date, and specials to be announced soon.
Cover art for the new book, The Vanishing Poet, finally available. Very excited to see this coming together. More information soon.
Hello, dear readers. I hope you are well. I’m dropping in a personal letter, to say hello, thank you for your support, and share a bit of news about my work and upcoming releases. The readership of The Root of Many Returns keeps growing, and trust me, when I say I can’t wait to get to one hundred subscribers, its said with humility and sincerity; there is no room for sarcasm here. It’s been quite some trip we’ve been on it seems. Much poetry, to my surprise, has been published. I’m surprised my engines began running again. I have a few short fiction pieces I’m developing, and I’m grateful to share.
I am happy to create something that one wants to stick around and see what happens. The biggest developments will most likely be in fiction. With the second book in the Nicholas Duke in the works, and the kick off of the fantasy series I’ve harbored for years, I think you’ll be interested if not somewhat shocked at some of the things I have planned for the site. Some may have noted the tag “Max Caufield” on the post of short fiction. This marks the beginning of a brand new series of stories for me to write. While I am gearing these tales to be short fiction ala the vignette, or something five hundred words or less, the story will be about an openly homosexual individual and some of the exploits he faces in dating and sex life. Ultimately, the Max Caufield line of short fiction will address many topics of the LGBTQ and, specifically gay, community. I recommend discretion as these stories will be descriptive in content both sexual and mature.
There is also a planned release of my newest collection of poetry. The last one I published was in 2011, so this is by all means long over due. The collection will be called “The Vanishing Poet” and will contain several dozen poems that were originally published in the Virgogray Press chapbook line of poetry. These chapbooks published more than a decade ago are long gone and rare to the public as print quantity was severely limited. So, for the years these writings were read of the chapbook, these writings were lost, until now. The poems, of course, are not without repair. To cast a glance over the shoulder is to see the errors of the past. As these poems will be relatively new, there may be no note of revision or modification, but for the poems published in literary journal both online and in print, there should be a slight explanation. Some of the poems sucked as was, and are much better now. The choke in the developing voice unhindered by the lack of resources or fear to seize their passions, left creations slightly unpolished, and less than perfect. I am pleased with the new text. And I assure not all were revised. Some only had small editorial misses, and not complete overhauls. I wouldn’t say any poem changed its original meaning from when I first wrote, but definitely clarified them.
As current subscribers to the blog, I’m offering a free advanced copy of my book in exchange for a review, a sketch, or a blurb on what you thought of the work. Just send me a message via the contact page, or comment below and I will get in touch. I may also publish any feedback given in the final edition of the book. In fact, any reader that subscribes to my Patreon account will most likely be included in the acknowledgments page should they remain at least through book’s publication. And lastly, get ready, especially if you’re in Texas, because I will most likely hit the road with this book and see if I can’t do some book readings for support and exposure. It will be fun times. I haven’t toured a book in a long time. I know I could tackle Texas immediately. But perhaps soon I will be able to expand my footprint and tour a book throughout the U.S. All things looking forward, barring some crazy, world altering event, I’d say the only way to look is forward.
I challenge a lot of view points in life, offer some interesting angles, black mirrors to peer into, whether in my writing or my day to day. Sometimes the work is too abstract, and sometimes pretentiously blunt. I’ve been working on the balance of these in a concise and calculated form. To make my words count. It makes me happy to know I will not be alone as I discover the path we make. But know as long as I may dream up a universe, I may dream up the entire existence of what we are now, a piece of cosmic space dust glittering, the distant glow of a central star; and as long as the creativity flows I will form this dust into fully evolved worlds, whether by story or verse. Happy reading.
Every now and then he comes to visit. What affinity towards, I do not understand. We understand each other. But there is much more in his solace-locked art and candor than I could ever dare to express. I never knew the man. It is safe to say I could have. Had I awakened to his craft, had I sensed him sooner, I could have. In this world of single degree separation, I may have known the man. I may have experienced his art live. But I never did. One September evening, I did meet his successor, an artist of his own vision and scope, Valor Kand.
And now the initiated know.
I actually interviewed Valor (unpublished and possibly difficult to obtain now, oh dearest technology) and manned the merch table when he brought Christian Death through Texas sometime ago. That in itself was an experience to have, and just in time for birthday season. I also had the opportunity to speak with Zara Kand, Valor’s daughter. Zara is a magnificent artist in her own right, not falling far from the family tree. Long time friends of mine, too, have toured their music with some of Rozz’ brood and relations, right down to the matriarchs themselves, Eva O. and Gitane DeMone. All this name dropping, you may say. But my point: we’re always one or two degrees from separation. It could just be small world syndrome. Or the specialized sub-culture all these beautiful people inhabit. Still, in the absence of his being, and beyond his musical creations, I sought to engage the late Rozz Williams in poetry.
Rozz Williams, born Roger Painter, was known greatly as an underground icon for the American goth and deathrock scene. He was iconographic, as many photos of him may prove. He was influenced by great artists, Bowie and Roxy Music not withstanding. But for most, the fascination of Rozz Williams ends with the seminal album Only Theater of Pain by Christian Death, a band he founded in the early 1980s. A listen to the follow-up, Catastrophe Ballet, gave fans a much deeper, and melancholic sound that took the frenetic energy and dark, punk sentiments of Only Theater of Pain and subdued them into rock and roll art that was layered and thought provoking. The combination of music and lyric let listeners know a much more substantial work was at play here. It was as if the heart of the Parisian, surrealist artist had jumped into the body of this youthful expressionist, and channeled their darkest moments through his work. Considering some of his literary influences, Jean Genet and Baudelaire included, I wanted Rozz’ poetry.
But for most, the fascination of Rozz Williams ends with the seminal album Only Theater of Pain by Christian Death, a band he founded in the early 1980s.
Readers of this blog may recall the four poems I shared at the beginning of National Poetry Month. They were tributes to Rozz and spotlights on his work, in memoriam. Rozz became physically removed from this realm on April 1, 1998, in his apartment in West Hollywood. I found him a few years later. And years since, I have discovered the various facets of his art. The man, though life short lived, was productive, a prolific artist; and a theme with most in his circle, Rozz was an artist of all trades: visually, aurally, literarily. To date only one book I am aware of exists that collects the poetry of Rozz Williams, and that is And What About the Bells? or “Le Theatre des Douleurs,” because it’s in French (I don’t own a copy, personally. It’s a trite expensive at import). It was published by Camion Blanc in 2010. The book is a biography and poetry collection. Supposedly, an English version was rumored to be in the works, but that may have been just a rumor. I can say for certain that it is a shame there is not an English version, or an American release, at that. He was, after all, an original American artist.
The Art of Rozz Williams: From Christian Death to Death, was released by Nico B. and is a collection of Rozz’ artwork. The book contains some verse, though they are presented as original copies, rough drafts, and visual art (this I do own, first edition; the second edition is hard cover and I want a copy of that). It was inspiring to see the hand-written texts, the sprawled out messages seeped from pen to page. The engaging work produced by procuring and interweaving the art of others (collage). But, again, this is a collection of his visual art, with some discography, photos and text, but by no means substantial for a deep, lengthy read of his verse. So, what then? All we have is a hard-to-get, foreign publication, and an artbook, the two providing a mere tease. There was some reprieve in Rozz Williams’ sound recordings. He had many projects, and spoken word was definitely an artform he dabbled in. He released two formal spoken word studio albums, Every King a Bastard Son and The Whorse’s Mouth (the latter being a personal fave). Visions of Bowie and Morrison and Burroughs and Ginsberg abound. Countless more, I’m sure, but my scope is limited. It is always refreshing to me to experience poetry in a different way. Spoken, is definitely one I enjoy. Spoken set to sound track is even better. Audio adds another depth to the work. It may strip the listener of free-roam interpretation by providing a focused tone or tempo, but enriches the piece nonetheless.
…readers may ask (and some have), about the content of the work. It’s heavy stuff. But, only a shard of the crystalline spectrum that is the art of Rozz Williams. In the case of The Whorse’s Mouth, the spoken word album dealt with heroine addiction.
The pieces I shared come from the album The Whorse’s Mouth, and, I believe, are some of his strongest literary works. The sophomore spoken word album was less experimental and the poetry was elevated, crafted. The writing while aligning with the music and soundcraft, does not feel like a reaction to it, or secondary, as I felt it did in Every King a Bastard Son.
As I will reblog the four poems, readers may ask (and some have), about the content of the work. It’s heavy stuff. But, only a shard of the crystalline spectrum that is the art of Rozz Williams. In the case of The Whorse’s Mouth, the spoken word album dealt with heroine addiction. He frequently looked inward at personal demons and experiences as substance for his creations, but also, as artists do, he gave an outward view, and provided perspective and commentary in regards to social issues, the metaphysical, and in a couple instances, became semi-political. These ideas swam in the deeper end of the soul, and truly there may have been some torment there. But, again, I never met the man. And in lieu of sharing the information provided by others regarding his personal and emotional state, I’d rather not say anything. While it is understandable the type of energy and emotion that his work taps into is not the most desirable feeling to linger on (as one dear friend once said to me, “But why would you want to feel that way all the time?”), it is a part of the human experience not many address, and not many are equipped to express. To take a look at his body of work, one would consider this man to be a brave artist, with bold expression, and ahead of his time.
I will disclose that I edited the four poems (structure only [and some grammar]), but not the content. I, unfortunately, do not currently own a copy of from The Whorse’s Mouth (don’t get me wrong, at one point I owned two copies), but this gem has become increasingly hard to find. Most of his work is becoming rare. Still, these were procured from the inter-webs. And if memory serves, the poems were included in the insert of the album. So these may be reputable, yet, but that’s the editor in me coming out. Enjoy the poems, start a discussion, look him up. Rozz Williams was an American, gothic icon, a pillar of the underground, and a forefather of shock and abstract rock. Still, he may yet provide something you’ve been missing or looked over, like that small, dark corner waiting to see the light.
“The Art of Remembrance” is an essay written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.