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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review by Off the Coast

Book Review by Off the Coast


Common Excellence

Itching for Combat by Gary Hicks (Venice, CA: Vagabond, 2013), paper, 55 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9885023-2-1. $12.
"All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare." –Spinoza.
Marc Smith, one of founders of slam, stated that if there were a true contribution to the art of poetry it lay in developing group presentations. But many slam poets have learned that adding performance to poetry presentations doubled the difficulty. Those who thought they could cadge the judges learned that in the long run the collective wisdom was superior to individual ego. Adding music to performance or searching out arcane or repetitive forms merely demonstrated that repeated elements had a negative effect. So it is refreshing to read the work of political poets who not only understand the economy of poetry but are (so to speak) well-versed also in the economics of politics.
According to Gary Hicks:
a spectre is haunting communism
the arrival of the new communism
awaiting the shaping both by the
young who shape the clay and by
those of us who know at what
temperature to heat the kiln
No competition among generations there. Not since the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) on the far left and the centrist coalition of the US Civil Rights leadership has there been such humanist collaboration. A cadre of politically astute politicals with a thorough understanding of the codes and contrasts of the two hundred years of world history stands ready to teach and organize those who have no insight into the capitalist mess.
In the 1960's and 70's a whole middleclass had to learn that cops are not our friends, businesses are not organized for our benefit, and the generation of hope is led by the hopeless. Those lessons were blotted out by imprisoning poets, putting African American and American Indian Movement leaders in solitary, sacking real teachers, and demeaning women in general. How long will it take till the general populace listens to those released after thirty years in prison?
They are here again, and their brief, incisive verses recall, update, and urge forward movement. It may seem fashionable to point to political poetry as plain or merely polemic. But reading the best, like the best haiku, should make us think. Again from Hicks:
swine flu
original bug
came with the founding fathers
has been with us since

The Dirt of Despair / Herrumbre de la Desesperanza by Mark Lipman, translated by Antonieta Villamil (Los Angeles, CA: Casa de Poesia, 2010), paper, 60 pages. ISBN: 978-1-936293-23-0. $15.

Mark Lipman's dual-language book, like many political books of the last half century, entwines the dirt-poor lives of Hispanic people with the world-wide political economic philosophy of the last two centuries:
At a hundred degrees they burn
Like the children of the poor.
Trapped in the fires of neglect
In the smoke of bureaucracy.
Again, there is the simplicity of the sparse language and the political truth:
Total Debt Forgiveness
Zero homelessness in one day.
The Power of Pardon
It is difficult for many of us to read such lines without hearing echoes of the imprisoned voices of Black Panthers, Leonard Peltier, or Chilean activists lost since 1972. We honor the dead and deplore the Gulags of all the national powers. For us, Edward Snowden's revelations are only the latest in a long succession of Palmer subpoenas, HUAC hearings, illegal wiretaps, commission cover-ups, and Pentagon Papers. Our pantheon consists of actors, singers, and poets. As someone once remarked, Gamble Rogers spent his spare time polishing words. Utah Phillips carried his IWW card till the day he died. Rosalie Sorrels learned everything the hard way, so she never forgot. Studs Terkel captured the ordinary language of extraordinary people and made us feel special. They all learned from each other and we all learned from them. It takes listening and reading to get that, but those are possible for all of us.
—George Magoon

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014


RISE: a people's anthology
 Deadline November 5th, 2014

Send up to 3 poems on the theme of labor and social justice,
short factual bio and author photo (Word .docx / jpeg) to:

Blind Selection: 

 (include cover letter with name, contact information and title of poems  
 – author’s name should not be found on poem pages). Original, unpublished works only.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014



 This anthology, a selection of works from 70 local poets, and the great photo-art of local Venice artist, Mike Chamness, represents a powerful and broad spectrum of voices throughout the entire region.  Though by no means intended to be an exhaustive collection of all the great poets there are to discover here, let this anthology speak as an introduction to the soul of our communities, here in this great city, the belly of the beast, Los Angeles, California.

 “That a Revolutionary Poets Brigade exists in Los Angeles is a bit of a miracle and thanks to Mark Lipman in ElAye this Anthology reflects some of the terrific poetry, outside the established institutions, that exists in that area, from more renowned poets like Luis. J. Rodriguez to terrific new voices like Henry Howard and venerables like Michael C Ford.  There’s potential for the biggest Brigade in the States in Los Angeles.  Where did Romero come from?  And that Devcich, wow!”       
 ~ Jack Hirschman, 4th Poet Laureate of San Francisco

“The Revolutionary Poets Brigade Anthology makes revolution still possible in these cataclysmic terrible times.”
~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1st Poet Laureate of California 

  8.5 x 8.5, 298 pages, full color illustrations, $25 (plus shipping)


Most impressive about Henry Howard's work is that he appears to be able to wear the skin of others so convincingly that you would believe these poems were written in the first person by the subject of his writings; whether being a tortured detainee, or pregnant teen, a victorious people freed from their chains of apartheid half a world away, or a grieving mother here at home, Henry’s poems speak with a powerful truth that is both eye opening and a pleasure to read. 
“A major work of rage and compassion, Henry Howard’s book will be recognized as a momentous volume, blazing the way to a future free of injustice.  This book holds its head high and deservedly so.”    
~ Jack Hirschman, 4th Poet Laureate of San Francisco

“Henry Howard leaves all of the conventional narcissism behind and sings of the here, the now and the real. It is a joy to see Henry’s poetry welcomed into the ranks of the great bards with the splendor of truth.”   
~ Blasé Bonpane, Ph.D., Founder and President, Office of the Americas  
6 x 9, 178 pages, full color illustrations, $15 (plus shipping)   


Drawn from the inspirations of social awakenings throughout the world; born out of the economic and social justice struggles of today, and a living testament of the spirit of the Occupy Movement, this powerful body of work exemplifies the voice of a generation tired of towing the line for a system that provides nothing for its people.  A treasure trove of poetic verse, Poetry for the Masses is bold and brazen indictment of capitalism and is a major step forward in the on-going debate of where we are heading as a society.  A clarion call for justice. 

“Mark Lipman writes beautifully and honestly for the people.  His words are a gift. They give us strength; they remind us of our history, our potential, our bravery, our indomitable spirit.  Mark’s poetry teaches us that anything is possible, that nothing has to stand in our way, that together, dignified, focused, and determined, we can change the world!”

~ Ron Kovic author of “Born on the Fourth of July” 

“Mark Lipman makes verses incendiary, an insurrection of words, ideas, rhythms, plowing open the earth for true justice, greater imaginations, for a new world about to blossom.  Read Mark’s poetry, think hard on the material he draws on, the concaving of the capitalist world, then act. You’ll be more vital and incandescent for it.” 
~ Luis J. Rodriguez, author of “My Nature is Hunger” and “Always Running”

  8.5 x 8.5, 108 pages, full color illustrations, $15 (plus shipping)


An amazing collection of thought provoking work, Global Economic Amnesty, examines the economic system of capitalism and how it has led to great social injustice and economic disparity we face today, while at the same time presenting solutions to a more co-operative economic path for society. A powerful, must read collection of essays that will redefine what is possible. 

“The idea of debt forgiveness is very much on the agenda.  I think some form of debt forgiveness is a good idea and has been for a long time.  Jubilee 2000, for example, called for forgiving “odious debt,” a technical notion introduced into international law by the US when it didn’t want to pay Cuba’s debt to Spain after taking Cuba over.  And the notion is correct: debt imposed on a population who didn’t incur the debt; rather dictators did.  A pretty natural interpretation of that notion would eliminate quite a lot of debt.  And there are other cases.  But the groundwork has to be laid.  There has to be broad general understanding of the meaning, the justification, and the likely consequences – which are complex.  Closing the banks, for example, would pretty much destroy the society as it now stands. That’s a long project.  Thanks for your thoughts.” 
~ Noam Chomsky

“Lipman’s style is breezy, conversational, and engaging as he indicts runaway capitalism.  He inspires us to think more deeply about economic engines, the power of community, and the need to reassess the importance of time and happiness over profit and plunder.  I give this book an A+.” 
~ Marcy Winograd, Economics Teacher and Three-Time Congressional Candidate

“The ideas in this document are truly revolutionary.” 
~ Alex Pausides, Director, International Poetry Festival of Havana, Cuba  

8.5 x 5.5, 98 pages, $12 (plus shipping)