Wild & witty collaborative poems by two of the leading lights of the Actualist Poetry movement. With 2 drawings by Dave Morice, and 15 photographs by Shelly Vogel.
It’s always a pleasure and a joy to read Darrell Gray’s poetry. The late Allan Kornblum of Coffee House Press & I talked about doing a Collected or Selected Poems for years for the many fans and readers of Darrell, however that did not happen. Meanwhile, musician and author G.P. Skratz submitted a manuscript to me that consists of collaborations he wrote with Darrell in the decade between 1975 and 1986 (the year Darrell died). Darrell lived and breathed poetry so it was hard not to be involved in collaborations with him: whenever you visited him there would be a sheet of paper in the humming Selectric on the kitchen table and as the wine flowed, & the stereo blared, crazy ideas would be committed to the paper. I printed my own collaborations with Darrell — Wreck O’Lections (still in print) — soon after he died, but here 25 years further on are some gems that were the fruitful result of many sessions with G.P. Skratz and the odd line from Pat Nolan or Andrei Codrescu, who happened to be present at the time. The book is divided into five sections; one of them the spurious translations from the French of Anton Laplace, inventor of the shoe-horn and gnasher of the ankles of princesses. It also includes a wonderful expansive introduction by Skratz on the history of Actualism, the mysterious poetry movement that Darrell founded in Iowa City in 1972 while he was a student of Ted Berrigan and Anselm Hollo at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Another of the key exponents of Actualism, Dave Morice, aka Dr Alphabet, provided two drawings to accompany Skratz’ introduction. In order to create a parallel visual narrative I invited New York-born photographer Shelly Vogel to contribute some of his dramatic city nightscapes and urbane California moments to the book.