Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Muse: MuckWorks

Several weeks ago I happened upon a site called MuckWorks, which produces chapbooks, pamphlets, and related ephemera of such writers as Elizabeth Alexander, Yona Harvey, and Terrance Hayes. The poetic "experiments", as MuckWorks' visionary Douglas Kearney calls them, are made available as free pdfs or mp3s downloadable from the site. It's worth taking a few moments to see what Kearney is doing in the self- or independent-publishing field, particularly with chapbooks.

Kearney is a poet, performer, and librettist (he's written four operas). His most recent chapbook, Quantum Spit, comprises seven 12" x 12" broadsides; released by Corollary Press in 2010, the hip-hop poem's special format includes a full-size record sleeve that Kearney designed, with each page doubling as a poster. His Fear, Some, his first full-length poetry collection, was published by Red Hen Press in 2006. His second, The Black Automaton, published by Fence Books in 2009 (also available on Amazon), was selected for the National Poetry Series and named a finalist for a 2010 Pen Center USA literary award. 

A Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of a 2008 Whiting Writers' Award, Kearney has published poetry in nocturnes, MiPOesias, PloughsharesGulf Coast, and other literary periodicals. He regularly performs his work at venues across the country. He teaches at the California Institute of the Arts.

An excellent interview with Kearney, in which the poet discusses the chapbooks he produces at MuckWorks, collaboration with other poets, and the future of chapbooks, can be found here. Another at laist, can be found here.

To download MuckWorks One, a 20-page color pdf featuring poems by Latasha N. Nevada Diggs, Brian Gilmore, Yona Harvey, National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes, Amaud Jamaul Johnson, Douglas Kearney, Bao Phi, and Crystal Williams, go here.

Douglas Kearney Profile at CalArts

Douglas Kearney Profile and Poems at Spoken Word

Douglas Kearney Profile and Poems at From the Fishouse (Text + Audio)

Essays on Craft for Poetry Foundation's Harriet Blog

Cave Canem Reading by Kearney, 2007 (Video)

LA Lit Podcast With Kearney (Downloadable poems are available at the site to accompany Kearney's reading from Fear, Some.)

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