Call For Submissions

Pandoric Poetry Review

Poetry of the metaphysical, transcendental, beat, post modern, fatalistic, phantasmagoric. Divine energies coalesce and converge here. Poetry published is featured in the featured poetry column, Pandoric at the publisher’s website, The Root of Many Returns.  

  • Send 1-2 poems (no length restrictions, though longer pieces will be reviewed on a case-by-case).
  • Previously published work is prohibited.
  • Simultaneous submissions are prohibited.
  • Allow 2 to 3 weeks for response.
  • Include name, email address, and physical mailing address (physical mailing address is for verification purposes only, though you may receive special newsletters and promotional items from time to time).
  • Include a brief biography in the 3rd. Limit 100 words.
  • Include a website and any social media URLs you’d like to share.

Artwork

We encourage artwork of the abstract, metaphysical, avant-garde, independent.

  • Send 1 – 3 images
  • Previously unpublished work (including online portfolio & social sites).
  • Black & White / Color images accepted
  • Send as .JPEG, .PNG, .GIF
  • Send at a minimum of 3-Dpi
  • HiDef imaging sustainable
  • Allow 2 to 3 weeks for response.
  • Include name, email address, and physical mailing address (physical mailing address is for verification purposes only, though you may receive special newsletters and promotional items from time to time).
  • Include a brief biography in the 3rd. Limit 100 words.
  • Include a website and any social media urls you’d like to share.

Send to Virgograypress (at) gmail (dot) com
S
ubject Line: Pandoric / Your Last Name

 

No WiFi, Plenty of Projects

Good morning, dear readers. I hope you are well. I am writing a blog post to thank you again for being a reader and joining me on my literary excursions. It has been a fun time as of recent in spite of our current living situation. By that, of course, I refer to the world’s state of quarantine and viral outbreaks. Certainly, we have all found ourselves in a spot we may have never imagined. A mass quarantine was definitely not on my radar; I’d have thought marshal law would happen before something like this, another reason why fiction could never touch the oddities of life, and why art often imitates life.

Nevertheless, we have all been put into a spot of some sort. In my case, I have found myself without work, I haven’t had a secular job for five months now, and all of this started right at the onset of the Covid outbreak and got much harder once it was in full swing. In the middle of the crisis, my father passed away, his final days spent in isolation due to quarantine. It has been tough. We carry on, though.

I carry on.

For creativity.

For art.

For my readers.

The only tasking aspect: no WiFi, no data, slow connections ( I cannot see myself thumbing my phone to compose and post poetry let only fiction, and speech-to-text which I do use quite often is painfully slow) leave me waiting ten minutes for the web browser to open, which does not include the time it takes for word boxes, links, navigation buttons, etc. to populate on the page, and then there’s upload time once the post has been pasted into the text box. First world problems, I know. But, a problem nonetheless for someone trying to get their work out, eventually make a living from their art, and someone wanting to share with their readers. For your patience and understanding, thank you. I’m thrilled every time a reader likes a post, or shares a post. I’m sure the dopamine release may have a bit to do with it, but really, it’s knowing my work is being read, and appreciated. So again, thank you.

What’s coming? The launch of my new collection, The Vanishing Poet, was an utter success. Promotional work and events have been underway with more to come. Please, by all means, if you are interested in reading, a FREE download is still available to readers from Amazon Kindle. I’ll provide the link below (there are two free downloads right now, the other being a chapbook called Poetry From the Edge of Forever). As this quarantine begins to clear, I’d expect public book readings (as opposed to virtual) and a Texas book tour, as well as some readings in California (already in the works), and Oregon, if not a southwest United States reading tour. I’d like to take my work east, to New York and surrounding areas (if anyone has any leads on getting in or knows any good open mics, etc. I’d be grateful for the assist). Currently, I’ve been doing the virtual circuit, so stay tuned for reading announcements.

As I wind up to wind down with The Vanishing Poet, know another chapbook is coming June/July titled, Severance: Poems of a Dystopian America. The next Max Caulfield story is about to drop on Patreon, and my focus is back to fiction. I’m working on a new Nicholas Duke novel, and another installment in the Siouxville horror stories. Stay tuned!

With that, I part. I opened my browser at the start of this, so it should be ready to post as soon as. And before I forget (I am a TERRIBLE salesperon!), if you’d like to lend me some financial support, subscribe to my Patreon (only $1 p/post-with an average of less than 4 p/month), buy my books, or make a one time donation (I take paypal, cashapp, zelle, and square). But more than anything, like, follow, or share my work, and thanks again for taking this ride with me, it’s been some experience. Take care.

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Get my new collection of poetry, The Vanishing Poet,FREE at Amazon Kindle.

Two New Publications And Max Caulfield Finally Arrives at Patreon

Good day, dear readers. I hope you are well. I don’t want to get into the day’s current events too much, or give it much credence, suffice it to say, I hope all are well during this quarantine time period and I hope the Covid-blues don’t have you down. I planned for a soft release of my new poetry collection, The Vanishing Poet, but I have to say I did not expect any of this to go this way. I don’t think anyone did. The Corona Pandemic has thrown some of my life sideways, but if you noted from the rant I did on my YouTube channel of the same name a couple months ago, you may already know that my life was familiar with going sideways. Sideways come sometimes unexpectedly or even in a calculated fashion. However it is you may become familiar with going sideways, may it be smooth sailing.

I’ll say I haven’t been without suffering some odd punishments, and believe me, some people do enjoy bestowing their odd punishments on others, but everything has been par for the course. It isn’t anything I didn’t sign up for. The pandemic? That’s something totally different. A parent crossing over? Symptomatic? With me, he will be no scapegoat. It was all predetermined. It was initiated to reiterate my galactic qualities, whether conscientious or imperfect, and cast a light into the mouth of an abyss and transmit my findings to the world. It was a part of my contract. It was also a part of my contract to continue sharing my poetry and writing with you. To continue sharing my soul with you (dramatic, much? Ha!). 

So, the grand vision for the release of The Vanishing Poet: a soft-release, an online blog review tour, a summer/fall book tour (the extent of the tour unmapped, though Texas and New Mexico were definitely in mind), a decent promotional campaign to include podcast, radio, online, and television appearances. Where will this go now? It seems it will stay online. All of it. For the purposes of the soft release, this was perfect anyway. I had angled over becoming involved locally as a mean of promotion. As April is National Poetry Month, there typically is a poetry festival in Austin, and a couple more that sprout up in central Texas. But that’s been cancelled due to quarantine. Most poetry readings and open mics have migrated online so we’ll see what happens. Ideas formulate. Action is required. 

The Vanishing Poet took some time to piece together. I wanted to be thorough as possible, but it boiled down to gathering all required manuscripts. The chapbooks are more than a decade or older, most of them. The digging that took time was finding poetry that had not been published from that time. See a previous post about a writer’s spring cleaning. That was approaching the tail end of my find; and as I have said, there are at least two more collections of poetry coming because of those efforts. The next collection in mind is almost complete, but then will require editing and possible revisions. So, the process is already underway for that project while I am still culling, revising, and shopping out other work. It’s time to get back into the pages of print and online periodical; time to see if they’ll listen. I noticed one prominent magazine I’ve admired for decades is publishing poetry that is similar to my style. There is no technique for my style, yet. You either got it or you don’t. Anyway. It was odd. I thought, this poem reads like one of mine. So it may be time. We’ll see. 

Get a copy of The Vanishing Poet! If you have a Kindle Unlimited it is FREE right now. For a limited time! It will give you insight into my early work. It will tell you where I came from. It will hint at where I’m going because I’m not going away. I’m proud of how this collection came out. I’m particularly fond of the cover art, and I’m thankful I’ve had a more present cast of supporters encouraging me to continue. The paperback is matte finish. It;s dark and it’s gorgeous. If you order a copy through my website The Root of Many Returns (dot) com, I’ll send you an autographed copy and cover the shipping and handling!

The Nibiru publication for me this year would have to be Poetry From the Edge of Forever. I was NOT expecting to publish this chapbook of poetry. Indeed, I wasn’t supposed to publish any chapbooks this year. Just one collection of poetry, one novel, and one novela. I’d say as crummy as everyone says 2019 was, and how crummy 2020 has been, that’s a good start for the first quarter for me.  I am super stoked about Poetry From the Edge of Forever. You see, amid all this Covid-19 and quarantine LaLa Land scenario the world currently finds itself in, most artists are going online as a way to release expression, and entertain millions of thirsty and bored people. So, I put on a virtual poetry reading and published a chapbook of the poetry I shared on the program. 

Poetry From the Edge of Forever is FREE on Kindle Unlimited right now! Go get it!

There is also a softcover edition of the chapbook available for all the tactile readers and collectors out there. Both are very handsome, and I’d say as a set, in this quarantine time and CovidArt lifestyle, I’m satisfied with both publications as a set. I’m not done yet though. You have to get The Vanishing Poet stickers, postcards, and poster. You’ll probably see some promo stuff for Poetry From the Edge… as well. In the mean time, they are both available in soft cover and are FREE for download on Kindle Unlimited for a limited time!

Finally, Max Caulfield has arrived in his first short fiction. Yes, I’ve done a vignette or two on Caulfield, a micro fiction, even, but as the Max Caulfield Serials go, this is first cannon. The short fiction is titled, “Agave” and is hot, hot, hot, hot! I hesitated long enough before entering this wing of my writer’s repertoire. Gay erotic fiction. I actually enjoy writing Max Caulfield, although I would admonish his character is far from developed. No, duh, Batman! You may think, dear reader. And I would thank you for acknowledging that. It is unfortunate to say, for sure, that you, dear reader, may never get to know Max Caulfield, because I have only made him available on my Patreon website. And only those who dare to support each Max Caulfieldstory with a literary donation of $1 US will know of his legend. It is sexy, it is smutty, it is borderline pornography in some instances, but it is not without purpose. Follow the tales, sordid and sensual, of Max Caulfield and find out what his purpose is! I promise, it will be worth the read! 

Dear readers, it is in this time, that I thank you again for sticking around. My Patreon is one patron strong, but that is perfect for the time being. That patron is way ahead of the game, and others will catch up eventually. And the body of subscribers continues to grow on The Root of Many Returns. Currently, along side my work, I am also featuring the poetry of 19th century presidents in a series named, “Presidential Poetry.” Thank you for continuing to like and share my poetry and short fiction. There is more to come, I promise. Writing, painting and artwork, video and audio all have something in production as we speak (I have time as I currently have no secular work). Hard as times are, it is my hope the work I produce is precious enough to own for yourself, whether by exchange or by gratis. It is my pleasure that you like it. 

Keep your ears open for more giveaways, stay tuned to my blog for free reading. I’ll be writing a couple more shorts. Expect more Max Caulfield, just don’t forget you have to get on the Patreon channels to get the dirty wordy, the literary squalor if it suits your flavor. As The Vanishing Poet is now public and ready for consumption, I shall focus on a novel and a novella. Nicholas Duke, Nick, Nick, Nick. What have you been up to, Nick? 

Poetry and Politics

The political environment in the United States of America, the whole world, is volatile. I don’t think there has been a more contentious election cycle from election campaigning through end of first term that has severed the unity of many people in the nation, and divided everything from men and women, to family structures, to community and friends, and deepened the well of political prejudice. As artists of the written word, there is no doubt that these societal issues may come out in the work of poet and other artists. Activist poetry, more prevalent today on both sides of the political aisle in America, and scattered through every polarized spectrum of politics worldwide, overtly addresses these ideas and philosophies and in some cases become its call to arms, its pool of inspiration. This political schism has also shown the hand of propagandists, and has shown how the general public does not care for the celebrity and affluent-type dictating political opinions and instructions. Along with separation of church and state, the separation of state and entertainment is requested. While an artist like Dolly Parton may find this obvious and easy to do, it may be hopeless for a poet. A trick of the trades is to be able to balance the artistic creative with real-world conditions and the necessities thereof, like the necessity of money to live comfortably and validly. But to be able to have an artistic career and a political opinion may be no easy task; a delicate balance. Poets and artists like myself, however, whom seem to be overt in their opinions in some public domains, will not intermingle their political opinion into certain aspects of their creativity. So, readers will never see posts on The Root of Many Returns dot com promoting any political party, though members of my personal Twitter stream may be privy to some pretty heavy expressions of political opinion and secularism, readers may experience art that expresses political view. The most obvious that comes to mind is my poem, End the Fed, published in December 2019 on this website.

There is no room for poetry in politics, but the same cannot be said about the opposite. While I have not come across any legislation or political speech that was overtly poetic, unless you think Truman and Kennedy were merely full of symbolism, and MLK allegory and metaphor, I have found certain American presidents turned to poetry for release and expression in various tones and topics. There, too, is also the poets presented at presidential inaugurations, poets of the American Revolution like Emerson and Longfellow, and even peculiar musings like “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr., and made popular by singer/songwriter Al Wilson (included at the aft of this entry) that have been injected into the American political scene by figures like President Trump who used it as a metaphor for illegal immigration. For the pleasure of the readers, and for historical pertinence, The Root of Many Returns is proud to present a brief series: Presidential Poems, poetry by American presidents, to be followed by a series of patriotic poems, industrial and post-industrial revolution poetry that honors and reveres the United States of America.

 


The Snake
by Oscar Brown Jr.

On her way to work one mornin’
Down the path alongside the lake
A tender-hearted woman saw a poor half-frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
“Oh well,” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”
“Take me in oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk
And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk
Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she’d taken in had been revived
“Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried
“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”
Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite
“Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
“I saved you,” cried that woman
“And you’ve bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
”Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,“ sighed the snake.

President Trump read “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr. on the campaign trail during the 2016 Presidential Election cycle. He read the poem as a metaphor for illegal immigration. What else could this poem represent in political context?

 

 

Poetry at the Edge of Forever: A Virtual Poetry Reading

Virtual Poetry Reading 04.20.20

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 20th, 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.

 

Behind the Scenes: A Writer’s Spring Cleaning

Checklists, rough drafts, & research.

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.
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Continue reading

Pre-Order Now: The Vanishing Poet 04.21.2020

VanishingPoet-PromoImageRekeaseDate

 

PRE-ORDER SPECIAL

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


Payment:

  • Our preferred method of payment is by the App ZELLE. (Most major banks *Capital One, Bank of America, Chase, etc.* use ZELLE for person to person Electronic Funds Transfer).
  • We accept pay from most major credit and debit cards (Visa/Mastercard/American Express/Discover) via Paypal, CashApp, and Square.
  • Cash/Check is acceptable.
  • Send a DM on this website on the Contact page.

 

For more information, any questions on bulk purchase orders, distribution fulfillment, booking, review, and interview information, navigate to the Contact page and send Michael a message

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Synopsis: The Vanishing Poet

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).  VanishingPoet-CoverFront MD

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. 

 

2019, Half Way On

Hello, dear readers. I hope you are well. I’m dropping in a personal letter, to say hello, thank you for your sup20190424_125310port, 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 wvanishingpoetpromoartere 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.

 

 

The Art of Remembrance

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.