Elephants I didn’t Ride — New Poetry from California Poet, Peter Marti


Virgogray is proud to present a new publication of poetry by poet, Peter Marti. Elephants I Didn’t Ride is an exciting collection of photography and verse, that takes readers on a trip to the far East and the lands of Hong Kong, Thailand and Laos. Marti provides poetic snapshots of his journey, a nod to the art of “sketch”style poetry. Elephant’s I Didn’t Ride is almost a poetic diary describing the poet’s encounters all along the way with crisp and sometimes laughable experiences in the unknown. Peter Marti is a veteran of the California post-beat and neo-beat scenes and has had his work published in a variety of mentionable venues, including City Lights Journal and the Beatitude Golden Anniversary issue. Marti also studied at Naropa University and has read alongside poets like Dianne Di Prima and Allen Ginsberg. To share this collection with a hard working and recognized poet as Peter Marti is indeed privelege, and we are sure readers everywhere will be excited by this latest literary work to be added to the underground and independent body. 58 pages. B/W photographs by Bernard Ries.

New from Subhankar Das: By the Banks of the Ajoy, Jaideb Vanishes into the Blue

Subhankar Das’ new offering of poetry, his collection, By the Banks of the Ajoy, Jaideb Vanishes into the Blue, is a first for Virgogray Press in that it is printed bilingual—in English and Bangla. When Subhankar’s manuscript came across our proverbial desk, we were delighted at the idea of sharing this well-known author’s words and poetry. By the Banks of the Ajoy… did not disappoint. There is a feeling we quite value in poetry, some have described as “the Ah-ha!” moment, it is a moment where you “see through” or your mind begins the penetration of the veil before your eyes. Poetry that does that is important. There were several instances as such found in the pages of this book.

To begin, the poetry collection draws attention to his long prose poem of the same name, a poem inspired by many factors even as writers like Henry Miller and Henry Denander echo through the allusion of Jaideb, the ancient, mythical Bangla poet still celebrated in areas of India today. Like many of the poems in the collection, “By the Banks of the Ajoy, Jaideb Vanishes into the Blue” the poet follows a trail of stream of thought, cut-up, a beatish ripple in the flow of words, subtle and overt wisdoms, and colorful use of imagery that at times touches the reader to pure psychosomaticism (read ”Erosion,” a fettered account of a doctor visit). Longer poems like “Ma” or “A Little More than the River Korkai,” exhibit the poets mastery of poetic language and voice; in fact, the voice of the poet, or the essence of such an entity, is apparent in both pieces, as “Ma” is a semi-sentimental piece, that while taking a backseat from the opening “Focault’s Pendulum,” is still resilient with poetic imagery and cadence:

“ I have preserved the pale ribbon, a tip of which she
 held in her teeth to tie her hair and the memories of those
evenings in a box, so that ants do not eat it up.

Be careful, son
Take care, my son
Stay at peace, my son

I take care and I stay wrong. In outmost care whom would I give
those fountain—cherished days, to take care of? Who will try
and understand the smell of the colorless withered ribbon?

Forget about me; just ponder over the closeness of the two
bodies. Consider those poses and reflexes – the falsity too.
Feel the touch of the soft feet. Just feel the touch of the
fingertips on the burning forehead. Without applied color you
 and empty and a zero.

The poem, “A Little More than the River Korkai” begins with fervor of Romantic Passion, and falls into a facet of poetry most desirable, one which speaks to and of the soul, a touch of the supposed metaphysical regarding predetermined lives and the hidden knowledge, the mystic truth about our existence:

All our deeds were pre-determined
We knew every note about our life, read them before
Since everything was pre-written we completed our task en-route
Now we’ll go to the other room to finish it up, jail the dialogues in blank cassettes
But still the stories of water were never in the notes
Those swirling waters that move with a suppleness of pine trees
Still love was there some parts loved
The rest remained like a blazing rose that I kept touching
The way the winter touches a city, a cigarette and remains like smoke
A borrowed blanket hovers on my shoulder, the same way.

As Jaideb was a mythical poet of Bangla lore, I believe this collection does justice in recalling traditions and bodes well for the continuity of heraldic verse, with a literary beatitude all its own. This collection is also an outstanding introduction to American readers to the work of Subhankar Das, a poet already carving a niche for himself in his homeland of Kolkata, Bengal, India as a purveyor and advocate of underground Bangla poetry and literature.

Post Beat Surrealism Emboldened to New Heights

Broke Nuptial Minds by A.J. Kaufmann

Broke Nuptial Minds by A.J. Kaufmann


I am happy to announce the release of Broke Nuptial Minds, a brand spankin’ new chapbook from Polish poet & lyricist, A.J. Kaufmann. This is the latest release from this prolific young writer who has captured the minds of readers abroad and in America. Mr. Kaufmann has become well read among the independent literary scene and among several Internet poetry community sites. His prolific nature and post-beat cadence is appealing to almost any ear. Broke Nuptial Minds collects some of Mr. Kaufmann’s writing that is accented for its poetic tones and structures. This book breaks away from some of the writer’s more lyric pursuits, but still captures the music of words in writing. This is a rhythmic and fluid breath of strong poems that are sometimes unrelenting and powerful and other times quiet and subtle. Broke Nuptial Minds is some of A.J. Kaufmann’s best poems to date.

The first piece, the title piece, is an introduction, an invitation to a world of gritty forgotten magic and fragmentary visions displaced into stanzas, to a journey through mystic truth. The books second poem,  Ghosts of the Miners I is no less breathtaking, a battle cry of strength that envisions some of the work to come. Kaufmann shamanistically summons a requiem prayer , “we, who come on patchy wings / of hyenas / piranha sailors on dead feet / like sculptures /  “We, the narcissistic haters of / nihilistic manners / ambassadors of well mannered old-fashioned / word riddlers / book swallowers, sword shapers / albino deconstructors / we, the sunlight over Monte Albon / in a greener kind of blue /.”

Broke Nuptial Minds captures the subtle music and hidden rhythms of quiet beat poetry. The intense inflections and images juxtaposed and proffered invoke a tone of severity and power behind each word. Deliberate.  Yet  Kaufmann manages to cater to all dimensions with snapshot peculiarity. In Whistling Workers he touches Urban themes but skews them surrealisticallly,

“Careless whistling of construction worker’s / blues / sweat bricks / odors of fly meat / seared by hotter equatorial explosions / black jeans burn / white cap stutters / TNT evolves / ”

The poem itself seems to be an observation of man’s role in the world, a reconciliation with man’s impulsive need to build. The poem Merde follows these themes, keeping in question man’s relationship with itself and the planet ,

” that’s what we’ve come to / after thousands of years/ of mindblock / corrosively wondrous / as this global value of art / becomes more and more dreary / Leary / mumbo-jumbos / despite all these / utopian new villages / charms / & freedoms / ”

Hear the Road is an ode to the freedom acquired on an open journey, an open road, a path made by choice by the lucid wanderer. This poem like many others in this collection capture the nostalgia present in the poetic tone, transposed to an avante-garde literature that’s essence is a tribute to the heroes of this trodden path. Broke Nuptial Minds will be available on September 22, 2009 from Virgogray Press. It is over 30 pages of some of A.J. Kaufmann’s most dynamic work.