Thursday, November 13, 2014

Busboys and Poets Open Mic, 5th and K, Washington D.C., 11/12/2014

Last night I met Israfel Sivad of Ursprung Collective at Busboys and Poets on 5th and K, to talk about a new literary journal we're putting together called Dupont Review. Afterwards we decided to stay for the open mic. It was a very lively crowd, the room was packed and there were plenty of poets for the night.

I went on towards the end; our limit was two poems per poet, and I performed the following:
  1. Untitled (from Rabbit Ears: Poems about Television, NYQ Books 2015)
  2. Song for the Disowned (unpublished)
I was pleasantly surprised by the reactions I got from both poems. The crowd erupted in laughter at "Untitled" and seemed very touched by "Song for the Disowned".

At the end I traded a book for a CD by Christen B., the feature. Her voice being lovely as it is, I think I'd call that a profit. I think I may make this open mic part of my monthly schedule, along with SoHo and Guerrilla Poets!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Guerilla Poets' Insurgency Open Mic, 11/11/2014, Bossa, Washington D.C.

On last-minute notice, I provided some alternative entertainment as the Featured Poet here last night. Despite the fact that I (and the other poets) were competing with Bruce Springsteen and Metallica, we eventually drew an audience of two non-poets and five poets. 

I did two 10-minute sets, interspersed with a couple of mini-readings. I'll do my best to remember them: 

First Mini-Reading 
1. "Air" (from Ignore This Book: Songs of Discomfort
2. Goals (English only) 

First Ten-minute Set
1. Classified 1 (from Leaf Garden Issue 7
2. Classified 3 (from Classifieds
3. The Leopard Slug 
4. The Herd 
5. Addy 
6. Dream? (from The Round-up Writer's Zine Pride Edition
7. Seven Short Poems (from The Leopard Slug

Second Ten-Minute Set 
1. Unpublished translation
2. Reflection on Vincent Van Gogh's The Potato Eaters (from North Chicago Review Issue 1) 
3. Reflection on Salvador Dali's The Face of War (from Counterexample Poetics
4. Casual Friday (from Counterexample Poetics) 
5. Trivium #1 (from CP) 
6. Trivium #2 (from CP) 
7. Trivium #3 (from CP) 
8. Trivium #4 (from CP) 
9. nights 

Second Mini-Reading 
1. Classifieds (remix) 
2. Unpublished translation

(more pics coming) 

Final result: I sold three books, which was enough to cover my dinner and Coca-Cola. And people claim poetry isn't practical!

Monday, October 20, 2014



Published Works from 2014

  1. "11 Promising Real Estate Markets" at Uut Poetry
  2. "24 quirky cultural tidbits about Japan from this Westerner’s perspective" at Uut Poetry
  3. "26 Unexpected Places to Find Satan" at Uut Poetry
  4. "37 Things You Can't Say On Capitol Hill" at Uut Poetry
  5. "Addy" at 1947 Journal
  6. "April" at Red Booth Review
  7. "behind circuit unattached" at Uut Poetry
  8. "civic.casual.sugar" at Uut Poetry
  9. "Classifieds (remix)" at (s)wordplay
  10. "Cosmetinaut" at One Sentence Poems
  11. "Dream?", "an r for he" and "HAIK, ooooh" in v.1-3.5 of The Round Up Writer's Zine
  12. "Goals" at One Sentence Poems
  13. "How to Paint a Fence" at (s)wordplay
  14. "Just 2 weeks learning Esperanto can get you months ahead in your target language" at Uut Poetry
  15. "Kicking", "Tomatoes" and "Atomic" in Oddball Magazine
  16. "My Nightmare" in Issue 77 of Right Hand Pointing
  17. "nights" at Uut Poetry
  18. "rain (remix)" at Uut Poetry
  19. "Scriptation 2" and "Scriptation 5" at Eunoia Review
  20. "The Herd" and "Violation" at Scars Publications
  21. "The Music Industry Is Literally Brainwashing You to Like Bad Pop Songs — Here’s How" at Uut Poetry
  22. "The Season" at One Sentence Poems
  23. "three uutku" at Uut Poetry
  24. "Through Israel, Lost" at Uut Poetry
  25. "Tomatoes," "Banana" and "Atomic" at Oddball Magazine
  26. Untitled in Issue 27 of Three Line Poetry
  27. Untitled in Issue 26 of Three Line Poetry

Published Works from 2012

  1. "a new door opens" in Poetry Quarterly
  2. "Behind the Glass" in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review
  3. Four poems in Reckless Writing: The Modernization of Poetry by Emerging Writers of the 21st Century

Published Works from 2011

  1. "A Sound Request" in Red Fez Issue 39
  2. "Daedalus at Sicily" in Right Hand Pointing Issue 37: Ohio
  3. "Jasper Owen Interview, 1957, Excerpt No. 6" in Gargoyle #57
  4. "Portrait of the Artist as the Cause of Relationship Strife" in Short, Fast and Deadly
  5. "Psychedelic Psalm 1" in The Right Eyed Deer
  6. "The Quincouplet: A Matter of Words" in Galatea Resurrects
  7. "Self Interview, Part 13" in 50-to-1
  8. Seven poems in Pemmican
  9. "The Biggest Mind" in The Stray Branch (possibly one or two other poems as well)
  10. "Tuddle Park" in Boston Literary Magazine
  11. Two poems in Fib Review #8
  12. Two poems in The Medulla Review Volume 2, Issue #2
  13. Two poems in WTF PWM Volume 3, Issue 1

Published Works from 2010

  1. "All Indians Love Gandhi" in The Literary Bohemian
  2. "Aphrodite Waltz" in Houston Literary Review
  3. "Channeling Jackie McLean's Plight" in Every Day Poets
  4. "Classified 17" in Grey Sparrow Journal
  5. "Lace and Lust-Painted Lips" in Ophelia Street
  6. "like film the night" in Nibble
  7. "new york jewish brown" in Forge Issue 3.4
  8. "Rain Clouds" in Foundling Review
  9. "rain drips" in Fib Review 7
  10. Several poems in Leaf Garden 7 and 9
  11. "Snapshot of an All-Nighter" in Children, Churches & Daddies
  12. "Spirits" in Muse Thing: The Caliope Nerve Weblog
  13. Ten poems at Counterexample Poetics
  14. "The Con Artist" in Wilderness House Literary Review
  15. Two poems in Foliate Oak
  16. "Winter" in A Handful of Stones

Published Works from 2009

  1. "Classified 10" in Boston Literary Magazine
  2. Four poems at Counterexample Poetics
  3. Two poems at fourpaperletters

Forthcoming Works

  1. Two poems in Eunoia Review
  2. Untitled in Rabbit Ears: TV Poems


  1. Classifieds (erbacce-press 2010, self-republished 2014)
  2. The Leopard Slug (self-published 2014)
  3. Classifieds: Late Edition (2014 Kindle exclusive)
  4. ignore this book: songs of discomfort (coming November 7, 2014)


Verkoj eldonitaj en 2014

  1. Recenzo de "Ĉu mi malgrandas?" en Beletra Almanako #20
  2. Poemo "Celo" en One Sentence Poems
  3. Poemo "Kadavro" en Penseo 271
  4. Traduko de Wallace Stevens' "Dektri manieroj rigardi merlon" en Penseo 270
  5. Poemoj "Anoncoj" en Penseo 269
  6. Letero al la redaktisto en Forumo 149

Verkoj eldonitaj en 2012

  1. Traduko de "Nokto" de Howie Good en Penseo 252
  2. "Kio estas gento?" en Penseo 251
  3. Traduko de "Londono" de William Blake en Penseo 250
  4. "Post la mondo" en Penseo 249
  5. "Ju pli..." en Penseo 248
  6. "Malhavo" en Penseo 247
  7. Traduko de "Kio mi estas" de Mutiu Olawuyi (La Ĝanglopoeto) en Penseo 246
  8. Traduko de "'kompreneble post dio usono" de E. E. Cummings en Vesperto 243


  1. Traduko de Amo en tempo de paranojo de Howie Good (2014)
  2. Traduko de propra anglalingva libro Anoncetoj (2014)


Obras eldonite in 2014

  1. "Nabucodonosor" in Panorama
  2. "Mi caffe" in Panorama


Opera anni 2014
  1. "Tres Haicua" in VATES

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Show Must Go On

Despite the recent delay in the Rabbit Ears anthology, there will still be a poetry reading at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City on October 17th. Only now I'm on the list to read, in the third slot out of twenty-five poets. The cover charge will be $8, which includes a house drink. The cafe serves non-alcoholic beverages.

Despite having plunged into my poetry recently, to the exclusion of everything else, I still have a day job, which I have resumed. Right now I am waiting for an email from the web host that I need in order to continue, so it seems like a good time to blog.

The show must go on. Rain or shine. Happy, depressed or manic. Young or pushing 30. Sane or insane. Delayed or not. Accepted or not accepted.

It's at this point I'm reminded that I wrote a poem called "Anchor" earlier in the year, and I can't remember how it goes. Luckily I posted it on my Tumblr for just such an occasion. I know that I always lose hard disks, or personal websites. Tumblr's not going anywhere.

Every morning I wake up naked
looking like a shaven simian
and I put on my clothes
and hair and face
the world, trying to be
the best dressed-up version
of the monkey I was when I started.
It's a Tumblr-worthy poem, for sure, now that I look at it again.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Inside the Mind of a Fool

A couple years ago I let the domain name lapse, and someone picked it up and tried to sell it back to me. This did not deter me in my already-existing plan to drop off the face of the planet.

As I started to slowly crawl back onto it, I noticed that whoever bought the domain had gotten sick of paying for a defunct press's domain, and it was now available. So I decided I would snatch it up.

But then the most horrible, tragic thing happened. Namecheap informed me that the domain was also available. And almost as bad, it was $60.

So I bought both. I, whose day job (which is not related to poetry or publishing) didn't have an office until Friday, spent $70 on two domain names. Why? Because if I didn't buy, the wrong person might own it and make me look bad. Vanity of vanities!

It is a pretty cool domain name, though.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Open mic at SoHo Teahouse and Coffeeshop 10/4/2014

Went to an open mic at the SoHo Teahouse and Coffeeshop right in my current neighborhood, DuPont Circle in Washington, DC. I went on third, after two very good musicians and before a slew of other very good musicians. I was the odd one out, again.

I had been given the suggestion, the last time I did an open mic, that it helps to tell jokes to keep everyone interested. So this time I sort of had a comedy routine to go with my poems and lead into/out of them, recounting my day. Cheesy as it sounds, it went over quite well. Afterward everyone told me I did great. I had never gotten so much praise for reading poetry at an open mic night. Usually it's like "Oh God, there's a poet."

The poems I read were:
  1. "Narrative Poem"
  2. "Addy"
  3. "Untitled"
  4. "Tuddle Park"
"Tuddle Park" is in the book The Leopard Slug and was first published by Boston Literary Magazine. "Addy" and "Untitled" are going to be in the book Ignore This Book: Songs of Discomfort. "Addy" was first published by 1947 Journal, whereas "Untitled" was originally accepted for the anthology Rabbit Ears (currently in limbo). "Narrative Poem" is likely to be in Ignore This Book, Too: Songs of Comfort which is planned for 2015.

Karma? Is that you?

Nora Nadjarian. Sonnet Mondal. Aju Mukhopadhyaye. Eckhardt Gerdes. Everyone who contributed to the quincouplet anthology. And me.

What do these people have in common? They all had work accepted by a press, who promised to publish it only to back out later or just disappear. However, except for myself, they all had it done by me.

On October 4, 2014, I found out that 
Rabbit Ears: Poems about Television had suddenly been dropped by publisher Poets Wear Prada, two weeks before its planned release. There will probably be a new publisher, but I still think there is some irony in the situation.

I suppose professionalism is one of those things I have had to learn about the hard way. I'm still young, and the cards have not always been in my favor, but mistakes are mistakes and wrong things are wrong. I'm committed to not doing those kinds of things anymore. Not because they happened to me, but because they were bad things to do.

Update: This situation might be more complex than I had thought.

Desperation, Dissatisfaction and Discovery

It had not been a good couple days. I had barely slept, I had spent the last two days writing, and I apparently wasn't getting any satisfaction out of the ordeal. All I had gotten were a few Likes and +1s, which could mean anything from "That was awesome" to "I didn't read it."

Then suddenly someone from home called me. Someone I had given copies of both of my books to. And he said that he had not only read them; he had an opinion as to which was better. "The Leopard Slug is more clever," he said, "whereas Classifieds just reads like you were in a really, really bad place at the time." To tell the truth, I was in a really bad place when I wrote both books; I just didn't know it when I was writing The Leopard Slug. I'm still probably in a bad place that I'm completely unaware of.

Let's face it; being a poet sucks. These kinds of interactions are the exception, not the rule. You never know how many people actually read your work. You never know how many people skip past your poem to get to their own, or to that of someone they know, or to one with a more interesting title. You never know how many of your books, politely bought, stand unopened on someone's shelf or in a box.

But poetry isn't about you; it's about engaging with readers. And to do that, you have to write a lot, and put a lot out there. You don't get to choose what resonates with people. Nor can you possibly know, because you're not those people. All you can do is write, desperate, dissatisfied and disillusioned (in the words of Charles Bukowski), until you discover that someone has been disinthralled by your words.

Friday, October 3, 2014

On elimae

It was the perfect online journal. It looked perfect. It read perfect. Everything on it was genius. The editors responded in 1-3 days, without exception. And they never once accepted a single one of my poems.

I tried my best. Sent them my best work. Every time I thought I had something perfect, I would send it into them. The response would always be the same: "This isn't right for us. Feel free to send us something else. Best of  luck placing it elsewhere."

The closest I got was one time I submitted a poem, and they told me that it stood a good chance of being accepted if I resubmitted it as prose. But being stubborn as I was, I said "No, fuck you. This is a poem" and I continued shopping it around as one. It never got in anywhere and I don't know where it is anymore.

One day I was in a really pissed off mood, and I guess I had just gotten too many rejections. So I wrote a nasty, homophobic insult-poem allegedly directed at their editor but really just reflecting the fears I had about myself. I thought "Hey, Catullus did it- right?" The more time passed since then, the more I began to think I had made a huge mistake. I wondered if Catullus felt the extreme guilt I did after he wrote his sixteenth poem.

I never submitted to elimae again, being too ashamed. Then 2014 rolled around and I decided, on a whim, I wanted to read what was up there. But I went to Elimae and I saw they had closed up shop a couple years ago. End of an era. End of the best online magazine that ever lived. And I still never got a god damn poem in it. What a missed opportunity!

Why elimae? Nothing that great should ever die. Far less deserving journals live on. Is this just the nature of the web- are all our online journals doomed to become ephemera? I hope not. There are too many good reads to be found inside this little box. Then again, even Catullus will be forgotten some day, along with everyone who ever lived on earth. Some of us just get a head start.

Everything In Its Right Place

Two Fridays from now I will go to New York for the release party of Rabbit Ears: Poems about Television. The book features a veritable "Who's Who" of American poetry, and somehow I'm in it too.

For most of the people in the anthology, it's probably not a huge deal. They're used to their names appearing in the same table of contents as one another. For me this is the greatest event of my life since 2011, when I was published in Gargoyle, long before moving to DC. Back then my name was still Benjamin C. Krause, and I was ashamed to let anyone know who I really was. But this time, I'm out and I'm close enough to the release party that I can travel there and back the same night.

So what do I do in the meantime? Make everything perfect, of course. It starts with mass-deleting videos off my YouTube channel. I can't let you see my receding hairline; you might wonder where it went and how my hair grew so fast. And besides, they're amateurish. Not like the videos I just recorded suddenly in the middle of the night to replace them- those are pure professionalism.

OK, then what? Well, my webpage kind of sucks. It could use some actual poems on it. Hey, why not put them in one of those Carousels? Those are trendy nowadays. Now spend all night working on the CSS, only to revert everything because you don't like how it turned out. There. Now you've got the same crappy site with a carousel of your poems. Congratulations.

But wait, there's more! We need a blog. And this blog has to be Informative. It has to be Worth Reading, which means it's of great necessity that it not involve you. Let's write a review of the first great poem we find on the Internet, and spend three quarters of the review insulting it. That'll show some edge.

Alright, now I've got some YouTube videos where I'm wearing so much lipstick that I look like a drag queen, a blog post that insults a great poem, and an arguably crappier webpage than where I started. What next? I bet you could come up with a million ways to sabotage your poetic and day-to-day living careers. Let's get brainstorming, Catherine. Or wait- is it possible that maybe- just maybe- you could slow down? Get some sleep, listen to some music, go for a walk? Meditate? Read some Charles Bukowski or Hugh Fox?

Wait, here's an idea: let's bring back Liebamour. Let's put out the Quincouplet Anthology. Let's do it all without staying up all night ever again. Let's keep our job. Is that too much to ask? We'll see.

Update: Rabbit Ears has been delayed indefinitely, due to the current publisher dropping it.

On "Sudden Loss" by Rick Blum

I decide to start a new blog. I don't know what to blog about. I remember, from googling my dead name millions of times, that someone (I don't even know who!) once reviewed one of my poems on their blog. I decide that might be a good premise for my own blog. Review poems from recent literary journals, I said. It'll make things less about you, I said, and more about art. Plus you'll be supporting independent publishing, I said. I had little indication of the emotional roller-coaster on which I was about to embark.

"Sudden Loss," which appears in the Fall 2014 issue of Boston Literary Magazine, is a cruel poem. In fact, it is the poetic equivalent of a psychopath who blackmails you and threatens to kill your entire family as it tortures you psychologically at gun point, moves you to the brink of sobbing, brings you to your knees and points the gun right at your face. And as you scream "No! Please no!", a little flag comes out of the gun that says BANG. He was never serious; it was just a joke. And then you retrace the whole day, and realize the clues had been there the whole time, right in front of your face. How could I have been so dumb? you ask. He said "Let's play a game" several times.

Honestly I'm not even mad. Or maybe I am, but I'll get over it. This poem proves the axiom that you will never have the same experience as the first time you read a poem. Oh, yeah. It takes it to the extreme. I love extremes. More poems like this, please!