Visiting White Noise Temple 《拜访白噪音寺》, by Sophia Kidd

It’s monday. Next week this time on that plane, I will see more than sky. Traveling through space, like analyzing a chessboard, one’s role diminishes the game. It’s really good to have this time with my father, Peter Kidd, to have flown from Sichuan province, in China’s southwest, to Texas via Seattle, to bang out a few weeks on Igneus Press. Main goals: print Bill Bland’s new book, open online bookstore and develop close contact list with authors by which to know their textual voice, i.e. poems.

My dad’s in the other room flipping between apps and online windows. French doors between us one leaf open. Coffeemaker gurgles all morning, a wind kicks up. My provisional desk faces south, in proper Chinese literati fengshui.[i] Pink lace curtains are tied before me with ribbon, their bulk uneven. Right one leans lazy left, right one twitters in wind of a cracked open window. Outside, a white and green macramé totem hangs high on the front porch, a gift from Bob Paquin, stone mason who built Dad’s walls for 20 years.

William Bland just signed off on final proofs for Academia Nuts. I sent final layout and now chase down the printer, a kind and slightly strung out man working at the UPS store, which seems to unfortunately have a stranglehold on printing services in and around Amarillo, TX.

Now we turn our attention towards Igneus’ online bookstore, paying special attention to inventory. 2016 is turning out for Igneus, as did 2015, with new releases including What the News Seemed to Say, poems by S. StephaniePounding the Door Into Gray, by James De Crescentis, and Beryllium Diary, poems by Nancy Jean Hill. In the first quarter of 2016, we are putting out two books: Morning in America: A Poetic Assemblage from the Long Decade, by P.J. Laska, and Academia Nuts, poems by composer and poet, William Bland.

We want to move books. Why? Because we want to spread the word, we want capital for the next book. My father and I are enflamed, totally jazzed to transition the press into its next 50 years. My watch. Today I filled twelve large and rugged brand new plastic bins with 25 years of Igneus Press’ inventory. I carefully took stock of every book and labelled the tops and sides of bins with the names of authors within. Butts and Kemmett rest together in one. Dorbin and Ferrini in another. Still others contain plumes of seven or eight small runs. Best of all, two bins contain ten of every book published by Igneus since W.E. Butts’ Required Dance came out in Aug 1990. These are the “quick inventory” boxes, to make it easy for Dad to go out back to the castle and fill orders. The plan is he’ll handle shipping. The castle is a dusty old barn. It has its charms, but no fresh air. Tonight it wasn’t so bad, slant under a Texan sunset blaze.

I’ve spent the past three afternoons in there, emptying old boxes of books, books fused in some instances to the gravel and dirt floor beneath. Cockroaches, mold, but NO BLACK WIDOWS, an important detail. After all the books were sorted, it took an hour to break down cardboard boxes, some decades old, others a month recent. All with a kitchen knife on the lawn, beneath a setting sun sky.

So why “White Noise Temple”? Well for one thing I need a temple right now in my life. I’m losing control. But temples aren’t always easy.  In particular, my Dad, the abbot, is also progenitor of a vision of television as hewer of “diamond mind”. His t.v. flickers and mumbles 24 hours a day, runs logs of elemental phrases. Kardashian and genre-inflicting machines rinse morning air with sound. White noise. Working undercover as a Confucian, but being daughter-of-a-Daoist, I paint atmospheres in neon parameters, needing things a certain way, as if there were ideal conditions for enlightenment.

Plus I’ve put down my work. Here with my dad these past three weeks in Canyon, we work on the press. My dissertation on medieval Chinese classics, freelance translation and writing;  on mid and back burner. I’ve stepped outside myself, broken routine, protocol, regime…Dad comes first. Maybe I’ll come first tomorrow. In the meantime, a universe of image, paint-begging-moments. Wirld curling churns.

Two-thirds of my life, Igneus Press. Growing up, poetry, gardens, my dad. Dead dogs and tragedies, loss of love and humid weather. Always writing alongside life, always letters there in the background, some sort of white noise or winsome narrative. Stone Soup poetry readings in Cambridge, visits to Bedford, New Hampshire from Wally Butts, Bill Kemmett, Bob Synyder, Pete Laska. Visits to Dick Martin’s in West Roxbury, Deac over, too. Other times in Portsmouth at Wally’s house, with Steph. Those were, actually, the days. I remember cognac and private readings with poets. Rolling rock and Newports were Wally’s thing. Bob Synder asking some poor woman at the kitchen table, “You aren’t a Christian, are you?”, she answers humbly, “I am, though”, and he shoots back, “What a drag!”. As a fifteen year old, that sort of interaction sensitized me.

Working with my father these past seven years to take on the press, after he’s gone from earth, which Praise the Dao, will be eternities from now, I am heartened. Dialoguing with Igneus writers, on the phone and online, touching base, I know I am never alone. We are never alone. Not with sadness or pain. Nor with sunshine and gain.

We hope to have the online store open within the week, with Bland’s book online for purchase within the month. We also hope you’ll read our Blog and leave comments. Let’s talk about poetry.

[i]Fengshui 风水, is the art of geomancy. Literati were, in China, a mostly aristocratic class of intellectuals and artists. Literati would be sensitive to fengshui norms which (1) believed a desk should never have its back to an entrance, and (2) should face south, emulating Chinese emperors on the throne,  who being incarnations of the sun, always faced south. I bring a Chinese mind this this experience here. Igneus has a certain Chinese influence, among others. Consider, Pete Laska’s mention of ancient Greek materialism in “History and Memory” assemblage of Morning in America (Igneus, 2016) reminds me of Zhang Heng (78-139 c.e.) and Wang Chong(27-97 ce). The former is an eastern Han northern literati, astronomer, geographer, mathematician, scientist and inventor; the latter an eastern Han southern literati and philosopher who wrote the bible of ancient Chinese materialism. Also see: PJLaska’s New Publication The Original Wisdom of the Dao De Jing by P. J. Laska (Eccsbooks, 2012), a daring vote for afterlife right here and now on earth, as ourselves. But I digress.


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