April 15, 2013

my love is bigger than your love

Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Conception Synchromy, 1914

* Excerpts from an interview with Paul Fericano (editor/publisher of The Broadsider and Poor Souls Press, and editor and co-founder of the first parody news syndicate, Yossarian Universal News Service (1980). He is the instigator of the Howitzer Prize hoax (1982) and founder of Stoogism (1976), a mock-literary movement that mocked all literary movements.):

Q: Do you believe "Stoogism" has seen justice? That literature can confront the “prison” of the spirit and mind?

PF: Absolutely. True poetic justice is our obsession to be connected to everyone and everything with little or no intention of communicating honestly. Reality TV is one indication that we are slowly slipping into the morass of our own frenzied non-existence. We happily immerse ourselves in the underwater wrecks of other people’s lives week after week. Many of us claim to be abhorred by this painful, public spectacle of self-conscious, self- revilement. And yet, we have no problem informing the rest of the world on Facebook that the sushi we ate last night gave us diarrhea. If literature is ever going to confront the prison of the spirit and the mind it has to do it through consequence and circumstance. Expanding the inconsequential and imploring the circumstantial are risky but necessary components of a sane presence. Accept what you don’t know and you embrace a genuine life free of mouthwash commercials, SUVs, and people eager to show you they aren’t wearing any underpants.
Q: Are there any memories from Ginsberg, Bukowski, A.D. Winans, Micheline and Kaufman, which you’d like to share with us?

PF: I first met Allen Ginsberg in 1981 at the American Library Association convention in San Francisco. I had an exhibitor’s table with my press at the time, Scarecrow Books, and Stoogsim Anthology was on display. Ginsberg dropped by with his entourage in tow and stopped at my table. He picked up a copy of Stoogism and started reading it. Then he smiled and asked what possessed me to put together such an outrageous anthology. I told him about a dream I had one night in 1975. I was sitting with Moe in a pew at old St. Mary’s Cathedral on California Street when he turned to me and said as clear as a bell: “This place is haunted.” (I didn’t know how right he was until years later.) As a kid I was a huge fan of the Three Stooges so I figured the dream was a message of some kind. Shortly after that the idea for Stoogism arose and the anthology was just part of a natural progression. Ginsberg seemed to appreciate this explanation. He even mentioned how he once dreamt of Harpo Marx speaking to him in Groucho’s voice. Then he reached into his pocket and paid for Stoogism Anthology with a crumpled five-dollar bill.....

The only contact I ever had with Bukowski was when he sent me a postcard around 1980. It bore his return address in San Pedro and arrived unsolicited and out of the blue. I always assumed Bukowski heard about and maybe even saw a copy of Stoogism Anthology from poet Gerald Locklin (who appeared in the anthology and was a good friend of Bukowski’s), but I never got around to asking Gerry. The post card was great fun. Bukowski scribbled only two words on the back: “stoogism” and “ass-boggling.” Then he signed his name next to a small drawing of a face. I wrote him back and thanked him but never heard from Bukowski again.

* “We are put on this planet only once, and to limit ourselves to the familiar is a crime against our minds.” - Roger Ebert


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