Posts Tagged ‘buffalo rising’

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Poetry Month: Pleasures Of The Damned

April 25, 2016

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I still had a few lingering thoughts about Poetry Month, so I thought I’d run my 2008 review of Charles Bukowski’s Pleasures Of The Damned.  It was the poet’s final and mammoth posthumous publication.  Bukowski’s impact on free verse cannot be overstated, and without his influence, there would be no Breathing Room(s).  This review originally ran in Buffalo Rising. -Tom

As far as Charles Bukowski’s work is concerned, you either enjoy his work or you don’t. As far as I’m concerned, any artist who can pen 54 books is worth looking into. Almost two years ago, a friend of mine read a poem of his aloud, with a roaring campfire in the background, during a summertime couple’s cocktail get-together–and I was hooked for life.

I’d rather read books, listen to music or watch films from an artist who’s consistently above-par than fixate on the tiny visionaries who knock one or two dingers out of the park and then disappear. It’s a testament to the poet’s already extensive and prolific career that he passed away in 1993, and Ecco books has been publishing uncollected volumes of his work practically every year since. Even death couldn’t shut Bukowski (aka: ‘Henry Chinanski’) up. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and The Pleasures Of The Damned: Poems, 1951-1993 (Ecco, 2007) marks the final note in a swan song the dead, drunken lout has been singing for fifteen years beyond the grave.
The final note plays like a familiar variation on an old jazz standard because a lot of work previously published in other collections makes a return visit in the pages of this fanatic-magnet of a hardcover. Bukowski’s heirs must have scoured the final drawers in his writing nook for one last run at the residual checks, as a smattering of new, previously uncollected verse can be found peppered throughout.

It doesn’t help that I just recently tore through The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems 1946-1966 (Ecco, 2002) along with The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New Poems (2007). Make no mistake, I don’t regret the purchase, and jump at the chance to buy any hardcover from a writer I’m enthusiastic about. It’s just a bit of a letdown to find out that I’ve already read more than seventy percent of the work within.

If you’ve read Bukowski’s work and you don’t own much of it, or if you want something literary and high-minded to show off on the coffee-table nook for your pretentious cocktail guests or in the bathroom for quick laughs and heartwarming forays into the fragility of the human soul, buy it at once. If (like me), you are systematically collecting everything the author has written and you’re starting with the larger volumes first and working your way down to the slimmer collections, you might want to hold off. There are better posthumous selections out there and they’re all marked up at boutique prices in whichever eccentric local book retailer or soulless conglomerate you can find them.

And for the uninitiated, Buk’s work is certainly worth reading. He was a champion of the underdog and an anti-elitist in the best possible sense of the term. A drunkard, a womanizer, a socially challenged citizen and a compulsive (and mostly successful) gambler at the race track, but a genius just the same. His work truly appeals to poetry lovers who think that they hate poetry. That’s how I got sucked in, and two years later, I’m still voraciously devouring every last verse in whichever books I haven’t bought yet.

Many critics bemoan the fact that his work was more structured, honest and true in the poetic sense before he become an underground sensation among skid row types, loose women and those who aren’t afraid of five to ten stiff drinks. While this may be true, the testament and the sheer weight of his own Akashic library will live on forever. His style of free verse has left a generation-spanning cacophony of enthusiasts, acolytes and derivative hacks. Present party included.

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Acid Logic Update/Buffalo Rising Update

October 10, 2008

It’s been a LONG time since Acid Logic had a new issue out (well, August, at any rate).  My beloved publisher and longtime editor Wil Forbis has posted a new issue this month including ‘Beer & Foaming At The Mouth On The Campaign Trail’, an article I read for Big Words Radio Episode 8.5.  Read all the gritty details over at:

http://www.acidlogic.com/tom_wedding.htm

     And a new informer has presented him/herself in regards to Buffalo Rising and their spiral of deceit, deception and corruption!  I know it’s been a long time since I’ve gone to bat exposing their stupidty/irrelevance in the Buffalo publishing market, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t forgotten.  Check out PUBLISHER Newell Nussbaumer’s two cents on the region, the viability of the Buffalo market and quite a few other things over at:

http://nymag.com/realestate/features/49491/

And finally, UB Spectrum interviewed me yesterday at the Marriott Hotel in Amherst about both Breathing Room books.  If you’re on campus, grab a copy of the paper next week for an interview/review/spread on ‘this guy’.  I’ll be putting the feelers out next week to see what they had to say.

What’s horrified me the most lately is the fact that EVERYONE has told me time and again that Breathing Room Vol. I is the ‘best book I’ve ever written’.  This is coming from a lot of people who don’t even like poetry.  I don’t know how to deal with that kind of positive praise, and poems were the last thing I expected to start paying out like a slot machine.  In the coming months, I’ll have to accept that sort of positive feedback and run with it, but my main problem is that that sort of glowing optimism makes me wonder if I can ever top that sort of appreciation in my readership ever again.  I hope so.  Volume II just showed up on my doorstep yesterday and it looks gorgeous. 

Nick Peterson knocked it out of the park again with his stellar layout design on the internal workings of the book.   Slapstick is on target for May.  And Volume I is now available at Don’s Atomic Comics as well as Talking Leaves books on Main St. as well as Elmwood Ave.  If you don’t want a personalized, signed copy, visit either of those three locations to get your copy today!  Supplies are for realsy very limited for the time being, so don’t delay!  Talking Leaves has four copies and Don’s Atomic Comics has two.  I strongly encourage you to support local and visit either area business with your patronage!  That’s all I’ve got for today.  I’ve got a few other fires to put out and quite a few other windmills to joust (away from my official site), so I’ll leave it at that.  Peace Audi 5000,

Tom Waters

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‘Escape From Bizarro World’ Lances Its Way Onto Comics Bulletin

August 21, 2008

Yeah!

     That’s right, my sphere of influence continues to spread like an open sore.  My new beloved editor at Comics Bulletin and myself have agreed to throw my graphic novel reviews up once a week until further notice.  I coudn’t think of a better venue for comic book opinions, and honestly, it’s refreshing to find an online site that’s more than ready and willing to take my reviews ‘as is’ without frequent retooling (lke Buffalo Rising, for example).  Check out the ‘Escape From Bizarro World’ review over at:

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/

     And speaking of Buffalo Rising, ain’t it sad how few comments they’ve gotten in the last two, three and four weeks?  How very pathetic.  Either no one is reading or their own contributors aren’t signing in under their psuedonyms to chime in on their own work.  Boo hoo.  What is it going to take to have Elena Buscarino’s job, I wonder?  I’m not sure, so I’m just going to keep at it.  Now that we’ve learned that Newell is no longer in charge and that so and so and what’s his face are emptying their pockets trying to keep the ship afloat, I guess we’ll just have to dig deep and try harder, won’t we?  Or failing that, destroy someone else’s life with a minimum of effort.  It’s getting SO much easier, and it’s always been ever so much FUN!

     I just talked to my beloved editor (Ed Honeck) at Night Life today along with my longstanding contact at ArtVoice (Geoff Kelly) and all is right with the world.  It’s incredible just how much mud you can sling about one person behind the scenes as well as in front of.  It helps to have contacts, networking partners and so forth.  That’s neither here nor there, though.  I’ll just say that you can’t buy a stellar sphere of influence for destroying people, now can you?

     My Deepthroat connection is mute this week.  Perhaps he’s occupied, run out of good muck to rake, or just bored.  Time will tell.  I’m sure there are other platforms and crusades I can move on to, but I’m still waiting for word from Buffalo Rising that Elena Buscarino is dead/fired/insane/committed.  If anyone else has any good scoop, I’m all ears. 

    Keep me posted,

     Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 91 on stands/Heaven’s To Megahertz! Episodes 7 & 8 Up Online Now!

August 19, 2008

A busy, bustling seven days.  Four podcast episodes for Think Twice in seven days.  A score of poems, a few rants, some networking, some marketing, some booking work on the Monsters Of Verse gigs…I don’t know where to begin!  Whelp, how about the beginning?

These Monday updates are supposed to be about the Night Life Big Words I Know By Heart column, so let’s get back to that.  Week 91 assaults the newstands today with the third and final installment (conclusion) to ‘Alia Iacta Est’, the serialized print version of the Buffalo Rising jihad.  I’m still not done with them by a long shot, but I thought that print readers might want to be in the loop and it’s a good venue for talking even more trash.  Night Life’s got my back through and through, which is why I’m so loyal to them.  

     Saturday night, Carrie and Ron Gardner came over to our posh Lancaster bungalow to record podcast episodes 7 and 8 of the Big Words Radio One Man Mobile Unit!  The reason why I waited so long to post the Monday update today was due in large part to the fact that I was waiting for Rich to post episodes 7 and 8.  I appreciate his efforts and due to a seperate studio booking yesterday, we were unable to ‘put the tracks down’ in their entirety yesterday, so there was a two day delay in posting them up online.

     Episode 7 is an informal interview with Carrie and her ‘man candy’ Ron Gardner regarding her career, Ron’s music, composing, poetry and a lot of other uncomfortable topics.

    Episode 8 is an informal ‘concert’ we held in my dust-caked hell hole of a basement with a PA system and the third member of the Monsters Of Verse, JR Finlayson.  We were all very pleased with the results.

     Dial both of the new episodes up on your Ipods at the intraweb address provided:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html

     I’ll leave it at that.  Monday is supposed to be ‘date night’ with the wife and I’m cutting into it, so I’ll scoop you all with more of ‘the knowledge’ later in the week.  That’s all, folks!

Tom Waters

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I Am Legion, For We Are Many: (Yet Even) More Correspondance Re: Buffalo Rising’s Wacky Antics

August 6, 2008

Far be it from me to beat a dead horse, but my longstanding readers get off on this kind of thing.  Enclosed are a few more words of wisdom from first time emailers and longtime readers.  Christina (a tremendously succesful magazine editor/writer in the Buffalo pipeline) writes with:

Tom,

So sorry to hear about your treatment at Buffalo Rising.  That’s the problem with local papers: they forget they’re expecting you to give it away, that you’re doing them A FAVOR.  Now you’re supposed to put everything else aside and “rewrite endlessly” ’cause they can’t articulate clear guidelines from the outset?

You ARE a writer-to-kill-for, and we all deserve better treatment.  They’ll learn in time.

Christina continues in another email with:

Tom,

After reading all this, my afterthought: Inexperience!

Elena sounds like a beginner trying to feel/fake her way through.  I now suspect she doesn’t have a clue how to be an editor or manager, let alone how to do so efficiently and effectively, least of all diplomatically.  She also evidently has no experience, or even idea, of how to treat volunteers, let alone volunteers who’ve long ago paid their dues and could be spending their time on paid opportunities. 

And my own personal Deepthroat (the informer who brought Nixon down) has been supplying me with a steady stream of intel that may or may not be substantiated.  He/she has emailed me with a lot more info, but I seem to be unable to access my email account on BRO’s site.  Here are some snippets from what this out of towner has been feeding me.  I can neither confirm nor deny their allegations/accusations:

Oh, my password is ok but I can’t post any longer. Even after a little back and forth between myself and…”Precious”. But I will admit that your flameout on the boards will incur her wrath. Big Deal. Do check your profile and password on Twitter, much potential for mischief there but if you’re writing for the web and receiving payment, she would be an idiot to fuck with you like that considering the legal implications. (BTW:she’s an idiot) Also, I received word that Newell no longer owns BRO and was locked out of their offices recently, that he has some weird relationship to BRO as a figurehead but that he’s otherwise no longer The Man. Got no other proof for you. Either way, note that BR is perpetually on the cusp of going under and that several departures, Christa Seychew chief among them bode poorly for their continued existence. ( one of the reasons you were invited to post with them was the fact that they couldn’t afford any regular contributors and now rely on “community contributors” ) I hope they get bought out by someone with better taste in editors and enough dough to replace their 1920’s era server. Check your mail, I’ll have some tasty tidbits from Elena.

This individual was kind enough to send me ten or eleven great emails, but ignored my advice to send them to my fan address.  Again, PLEASE re-send to:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

A second email disclosed this:

Well, in a post last May, Elena actually said that she was a “harness child growing up in Chicago.” This was in the context of Mother’s Day reminisciences. The Newell thing was provided to me by none other than BuffaloPundit.  BTW, it was another Mother’s Day Post by Elena that got me whacked from BRO. Check it out, I said something about “Siciliane big hair” and I guess that was more than she could take. I didn’t even use my fallback line: “Che facia bruta!”. Thin skinned, that one.

Sicilian big hair!  That’s great! 

That’s all the muck that’s fit to rake for today.  I’ll be going to hash things out with my therapist this afternoon and then I’m off to Think Twice studios to wrap and upload the third historic podcast episode of Big Words Radio with Alex Robinson and my special guest co-host Michael Hilliard (or as Night Life bar review readers may remember him from back in the day, I.B.M. or Intentionally Bald Mike).  Expect to hear slide whistles, bicycle horns, Alex on maintaining a functional relationship/marriage when one or both parties have a creative bent, and, as always, your opening shot.  You won’t wanna miss this one.  I’m wound up and ready to let loose on everybody willing to listen!  The show should be up online by about ten pm eastern standard, so tune your dials in and click away at:

www.thinktwiceradio.com

Meanwhile, the word of mouth on Big Words radio has been through the goddamned roof.  One of my work contacts has been telling all the guys on his route that they’re going to piss their pants laughing if they give the show a chance.  That’s promotion you can’t buy. 

BRO would do well to earn that kind of word-of-mouth instead of pissing in every young-upstart freelancer that winds up at their virtual doorstep.  And that number is dwindling down to a narrow few contributors.  In a few more weeks, they’ll be left with just Queenseyes (Newell), Buffalo Rising (Newell/Elena) and Elena Buscarino for contributors.  I can see how it would be difficult to re-tool other people’s material if you’re placing the fastest publication on your own work first and writing three quarters of the publication.  Life’s a bitch, ain’t it? 

And the site hits continue to soar into the stratosphere on the BRO YourHub posts.  We’re in the neighborhood of 3 or 400 individual post hits total on the campaign and yes, Night Life did get the first installment of (Alia Iacta Est: ‘The Die Is Cast’) into the print magazine.  Suck on that, Buffalo Rising!  Suck it long and suck it hard!  The title refers to Ceasar’s legendary remark during one of Rome’s epic battles, so I found it suitable for a war with a crazy bitch from the ass of the boot, so to speak. 

This armageddon is just getting started.  I’m not done with you by a long shot, E.  I haven’t heard peep from either of them since last Wednesday and don’t expect to.  And in the mean time, I’ve got so many personal appointments, free drinks and luncheons to take with all of the reputable newspapermen and women in the WNY area that I’m going to have to burn the midnight oil to keep slinging this much mud.  Whelp, I’ll get more than five hours of sleep a night when I’m dead.  I’ll see Buffalo Rising buried first, though, and I’m holding the motherfucking shovel.  Cheers,

T.W.

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Monday Big Words Update: Stop The Press, I Wanna Get Off!

August 5, 2008

     If I had a request to pass along to the Fates, it would be that they didn’t let all the important things happen in the last week of each month this summer.  This makes twice now that I’ve had to phone in to Night Life magazine and essentially tell them to ‘Stop The Press!’  With a four rant block of essays already in place, I changed tack in light of last week’s events and decided to publish the Buffalo Rising campaign ala Lenny Bruce by serializing the ordeal.  Every email, every column and every late breaking event will be disseminated in a two or three part column series IN print in Night Life magazine under the auspicious title of ‘Alia Iacta Est’ (or, for those of you familiar with your Latin, ‘The Die Is Cast’. 

     There were a lot of updates I wanted to write over the weekend, but Linds and I skipped town and set sail for Lake Erie.  Some time late on Friday, I finally (after many hits, misses and total mistakes for the notion) came up with a lasting title for Essay Book Six (technically Book 9.  Are you ready for it?  Maybe we should get a drum roll going because the title is unbelievably perfect for the content.

-Drum Roll Please

First of all, you’re all (most of you) familiar with the next Rant Book Title, Slapstick & Superego.  We’ve got that one covered at least.  I’m looking at May or June of next year depending on how long the Breathing Room promotions will spill over.   But the book after that, the rant collection that’s clocking in around 107 pages thus far, is:

-Drum Roll, Please!

Merry Prankster

     I agonize over the naming of things.  This title knocks my socks off, though.  It’s an obscure reference to the ’60s, The Tarot, my lifestyle, the material and my way of life.  It works.  If it turns out that someone else has used that handle, I’m still using it.  It’s perfect, it has a nice ring to it, and I can’t think of Rant Book Six as anything other than.

     I spoke with a lot of Buffalo Industry Veterans today regarding the Buffalo Rising fiasco and they’ve all given me some sagely advice.  Whether I follow it is irrelevant, but it was nice to get their opinions.  People who have been toiling away in the business of newspapers for over a decade (and in some cases, two or three).  In many cases, this experience has opened (or re-opened) a lot of doors for me into new endeavors with old friends and new alike.  A few interviews will be finding their way into the pages of Buffalo Spree, a slick magazine publication with nationwide circulation that Elena was blinded with rage over being unable to trump.  A few others still will be finding a home with ArtVoice after Editor in Chief Geoff Kelly and I manage to trade some old journalistic muckracking anecdotes over a stout or two and come to agreement on the Buffalo Police series.  And I’m going to find a way to work something out with WNY Media, as I think they deserve a few fresh pieces from me after sticking their necks out along with me last week when no one else would.  That takes guts.

     Nicholas Peterson has joined the brigade with myself and Carrie Gardner in putting the finishing polish on both Breathing Room manuscripts.  He’s a wiz on formatting, desktop publishing and layout and he’s been kind enough to volunteer his efforts on rescuing the headers, footers, fonts and formatting headaches that have just about gotten the best of me.  I’ve already begun work on a THIRD volume of poetry (shooting for 3-400 pages for the next tome) entitled Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick which, if I’m lucky, will not be complete for another two years or so with all of the other plates spinning in the air. 

     RD Pohl didn’t see fit to accept any of my submissions for this month’s installment of the Poetry Page in the Buffalo News.  Florine still hasn’t run ‘token excuses for block’, which is understandable as they only seem to run poems once in a blue moon in the ‘In The Margins’ section of ArtVoice.  ‘poem for Lindsay’ continues to garner decent votes on poetry.com, but I’m going to need more credibility for certain parties with the poems if I’m going to move some copies.  It’ll all fall into place over the next three or four months.

     I’m lining up some phenomenal concerts/readings/performances that center again around the ‘Monsters Of Verse’ concept.  Three poets, one location, and the occassional musical guest between sets.  Carrie Gardner, Jeff Finlayson and myself will be headlining a Screening Room reading in mid-December that pays.  Carrie and myself will be featured as readers at the Center For Inquiry as part of Just Buffalo’s ‘Literary Cafe’ readings hosted by the ever-entertaining Perry Nicholas.  All signs point to yes for a launch-window (late October) trifecta reading at Talking Leaves on Main St near UB North.  And discussions are being bandied about regarding doing the official launch at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center on Main St. downtown.  Most of these events are paying and the majority of them are going to come to pass.  The ‘Monsters Of Verse’ concert concept just feels like more of a downtown Buffalo venue, so I’ll be focusing most of my efforts in and around Buffalo, where poetry seems to thrive in multiple pockets and genres.  Buffalo Spree has even informed me that they’re willing to jump in ahead of the curve and do an Artist Profile and me, which is tremendously flattering. 

     After two months of typing furiously, my right hand is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.  I’m afraid I’ll be taking a break from writing (and posting) for the majority of the week so that I don’t put any undue strain on the nerve and tendon clusters in my forearm.  I will, however, be running some emails that a certain Informant on Buffalo Rising has been supplying me with intel from mid-week.  The new Big Words radio show wraps this Wednesday night and Uncle Hal and I are STILL trying to find a good time window to do the 60th episode together.  We’ll hammer something out.  That’s a lot of ground covered.  Talk to you soon,

Tom Waters

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Rock Bottom Club Watch Hits Gusto, or: Hare-Brained Today/Gone Tomorrow

August 1, 2008

After two months of one-review only coverage, my review for Rock Bottom (on Transit Rd. in Amherst) starts off August with a bang.  And with the wedding just around the corner, any extra revenue is truly appreciated.  In the wake of the Buffalo Rising all out cage match, it’s a big plus to get some extra credibility.  Some of us actually get paid to write, and the smarter writers have editors with a high level of professionalism who do indeed edit our work (which is an editor’s job, if I’m not mistaken) instead of telling us to edit it.  I was just talking to Deanna Russo (one of the frontrunners at Buffalo.com’s YourHub) about life, the universe and everything on Wednesday and we agreed that despite what ill everyone may have to say about the Buffalo News (most of them losing competitors), I’ve never had any problems with them.  Their staff and their writers have always had a level of diplomacy and professionalism that is unparralleled in Buffalo and I truly, truly appreciate it.  After working closely with Brian Connelly (the editor for Club Watch) for well over eighteen months now, I don’t think I could ask for a better mentor. 

     And meanwhile, out and about, I continue to tell every living soul about what a reprehensible piece of shit Elena Buscarino is.  Apparently she’s the lead singer in a big band, so if you see her out, feel free to throw some rotten produce in the vicinity of her fat mouth.  A ball gag would serve better, but what’s a fella to do?  The old saw goes that when a customer has a poor experience, he’ll tell ten people.  I’m ahead of the curve on that one.  If I have a poor experience, I just won’t be capable of ending my infinite ire regarding the situation.  You made a very large mistake, BRO.  I want Elena’s job by week’s end, her sanity by the end of August, and the paper to fold by New Year’s of 2009. 

     It would most likely be the best thing in the world if ArtVoice would buy them out (like they did with Blue Dog Press in the yesteryear of 2002) and sink the ship to avoid any media confusion.  And say what you will about ArtVoice, but they are an institution, and they march to the beat of their own drummer instead of kow-towing to the public opinion of a small group of simpletons.  Jamie Moses (publisher) and Geoff Kelly (managing editor) are men of conviction, and they follow their passions wherever they happen to carry them.  AV has vision, drive and intensity, and they make a brilliant bookend to everything that is good and true about Buffalo print.

     I tried to contact Geoff about all of this business this week by phone and via email, but to no avail.  Smart odds would bet that AV is going to sit this one out.  I have yet to speak with Elizabeth Licata (whom Elena Buscarino has been less than complimentary regarding), but I’m interested to see if Buffalo Spree magazine would take the hook on my interviews with Kevin McCarthy, Michael Bly and Bob ‘Ernie’ Insana.  I’m also wondering if ArtVoice will bite before Buffalo Spree.  Perhaps my reputation is shot, but I stopped caring about that a long time ago.  As long as I’ve got the Buffalo News, Night Life and my readership on my side, I could truly and honestly care less. 

     Early response to the radio show has been overwhelmingly positive.  Next Wednesday, I’ll be heading into the studio with Harvey and Eisner Award winning comic book artist/writer Alex Robinson.  There will not be a Buffalo angle.  We’re not so insecure that it’s warranted.  Buffalo does fine on it’s own.  It has enough writers who waste their careers and their creative efforts licking Buffalo’s ass like a lollipop that I’d rather not throw mine away on something so timely and trifling.  The thing about local writing is that it’s here today, gone tomorrow.  After the day, you can wrap a fish in it, toss it in the trash or use it as a recepticle for parrot shit.  Write  a good national interview or universal piece about the foibles of the human struggle, though, and you can pimp that feature out for a lifetime.  This is one thing that a lot of respected journalists (and established hacks) will never get.  Yeah, I’m talking about you again, Elena.  I’m not done with you by a long shot.

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