Peter Kidd Interview Boston, MA November 27, 2014, by Richard Martin

Interview of Peter Kidd by Richard Martin is from Martin’s Goosebumps of Antimatter, forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil, New York City, 2018.

 

 

Peter Kidd Interview

Boston, MA

November 27, 2014

 

 

Martin:          I’m here in my home in Boston with Peter Kidd – poet, landscape artist, novelist, and publisher of Igneus Press. It’s a day before Thanksgiving and raining. Welcome, Peter.

 

Kidd:               Thank you, it’s nice to be here as always.

 

Martin:            It’s great to have you back in Boston for a few days. I’m still trying to get into my head that you live in Texas now but things change. We could talk about the many things you have accomplished as a life-long New Hampshire resident and in Boston during over 60 years of living in the area before your move to Texas. But let’s start with Igneus Press. This is a signature and ongoing accomplishment of yours, a press that arose out of your work as poet and a keen mind for a new direction. Talk about Igneus. When did the press come on the scene?

 

Kidd:               Well, it got started in Cambridge in 1989-90 when we were all meeting at the Stone Soup Poetry Series at Charlie’s Tap on Green Street. And I looked around and I seemed to have a core group of friends (poets) – friends I had been involved with for many years, some with a book or chapbook out during the eighties, but now we were a little bit older – 15 years or so older than the young writers at Charlie’s Tap, and we were stumped at where to go with our new work. I ran a small business, a landscape design/build business and had small business skills so I leapt forward and said let’s do it ourselves – a press that is – rather than like an Old Yankee with hat in hand begging at the bank. So the idea and direction were born and Igneus came into being with a book by Wally Butts – W.E. Butts, our dear friend.

 

Martin:            And that was in 1990?

 

Kidd:               That’s the year it came out. So ’89 was probably the year we started conspiring and I remember Bill Kemmett was in the back of my car after a reading at Charlie’s when I started to go over the idea with Wally and he said: “No, this will never work.”

 

Martin:           Yeah, I sort of remember you saying at one point that Bill was opposed to the idea.

 

Kidd:               He was a skeptic. He said it couldn’t be done.

 

Martin:         And why did he think that?

 

Kidd:               Well, first of all he is the Prince of Sigh.

 

Martin:            Right, the Prince of Sigh.

 

Kidd:               In other words, how do you move the rock up from the bottom of a mountain to the top of a mountain?

 

Martin:            Yeah, the “Myth of Sisyphus.”

 

Kidd:               Yeah, yeah, the “Myth of Sisyphus.”  But Wally had a wonderful manuscript, and to my mind, it remains the best book he ever did.

 

Martin:           What was the manuscript titled?

 

Kidd:               The Required Dance, and so we started in. Wally would come out every weekend to my home in Bedford, NH, and we worked on it. We sifted through the poems and decided on a few tenets that made sense.  We wanted to be diverse and tuned to our concern for the human condition. We wanted to be a cooperative press and draw in a group of close friends who had had access to one another for 30 to 40 years. So that was the spirit Igneus grew out of, and out of that spirit it was launched with the publication of The Required Dance in 1990.

 

Artifact Insertion:

 

Why The Required Dance now…because this is its time and to wait any longer and it would be stillborn. Why W.E. Butts…because he’s like the first bite into an October apple. These poems are offered up in that mystical musical cadence of the neighborhood of the soul. They are warm, concrete, and incandescent. Whether they take place at a nursing home, at a church with his daughter, alongside a creek, or a corner store in Boston, they are always compassionate and incarnate two qualities difficult to come by in any age. To Butts, the world and its events are surreal enough and his poems are a wonderful sifting out of meaning. Butts has worked long and hard for such a complete book, and in turn, voice. The Required Dance is exciting for the world of poetry and the world at large because it represents a right direction for poetry, a poetry that is trustworthy and seeks to share its universe with the reader-listener.

 

Peter Kidd, Publisher, Igneus Press

 

 

The Balance

 

                                   For James De Crescentis

 

I am visiting someone in an apartment,

located around the corner

from a long row of broken-down tenements.

At either end of that block

is a liquor store.  We have little money

but, in celebration of my return

from New York City to Boston

we roll two dollars worth of pennies,

and go to one of the liquor stores to buy beer.

The gaunt, black cashier taps his jeweled,

long-nailed fingers on the counter suspiciously,

picks up a roll, balances it

in his slender palm and says,

“Man, there ain’t no fifty cent in here.”

He opens the roll, counts the pennies

and he’s right–forty-eight.

I envy this ability to know

the full measure of a thing by its weight,

no more–no less.

Between us, we have two pennies.

On the way back, I notice

a disheveled figure sprawled across the steps

of a boarded-up brick building.

I’m told he lives there, has for years.

He’s luckier than most.

People give him things, take care of him.

Later, we drink beer and talk

About women we thought loved us once.

I want to say something is terrible and wrong,

that there’s more to this evening

than our carefully measured desperation,

then realize, I am at peace

in a friend’s home.

 

W.E. Butts

from The Required Dance (Igneus Press, 1990)

 

Martin:        What came next after Wally’s Book?

 

Kidd:               Well, it wasn’t long after that I published Peter Laska. P.J. Laska is an excellent West Virginia poet whom I had known for a while. We entered into a project and then, all of a sudden, the Prince of Sigh wasn’t sighing anymore and wanted to do a book, too.

 

Martin:         And what was Kemmett’s first book titled?

Kidd:               Flesh of a New Moon is (was) an excellent book. So I took Kemmett’s manuscript and sent it to Laska, and Peter took the two books to Kinko’s and paid to have them typeset, and then sent me the hard copies, and I paid to print them. Then we started to get around with the books. Wally’s broke through right away in Boston. Sixty people came to the launch of it and I walked away with $400 in book sales.

 

Martin:           So Igneus started, more or less, in a bar in Cambridge via conversation among friends who were poets?  And it took off from there.

 

Kidd:              And with me saying: No whining! No whining! in poetry.

 

Martin:            Right. No Whining! Create your own thing…your own scene. And then three books came out from Butts, Laska, and Kemmett. I’m curious about the name, Igneus. How did you come up with that name?

 

Kidd:               Well, I first thought of Black Bear Press and searched out other presses and found some similar imprints, and so I went to the Bedford library and pulled out a Latin Dictionary. I started going through it and came to “igneus” which was spelled i-g-n-e-us; that which comes from fire. And I said: “oo!” that’s great and underneath igneus was  “igniculata” or sparks and I thought if I ever wanted to do a magazine or broadside I could use that term. Well, I loved the word and idea…you know passing through the initiation of fire and seeing what is carbonaceous…what is left after you go through that purification of fire…so that was the philosophical push…the metaphysical push….whatever.

 

Artifact Insertion

 

Peter Laska is an intensely sensitive man with a heart wider than the Interstate. His intelligence is a stringed instrument that cannot be outsmarted or ignored. And while West Virginia plays a major role in his works, it is by no means the alpha of his resources nor the omega of his vision. Through a combination of submission and compassion for the human condition, he offers us hope for a dignity and decency in this life, to me the major job requirement of a contemporary poet of stature.

 

Peter Kidd, Publisher Igneus Press

 

The Secular Humanist Phones Home

 

                        Warm tangos of sunlight

interrupt the telephone

on the mattress

 

the room smells of coffee

and cigarettes

before breakfast

 

I’m here on the Sabbath

looking at the text

of my worse regrets

both a father and a son

but not The Father

and The Son

 

past forty

I retain a belief in knowledge

as my true belief

 

I hear the pendulum

swinging

in the vestibule

 

I restate my position –

religion for the dead

socialism for the working class

 

this doesn’t mean

the alcoholic priest

is not a friend

 

Hello!

 

Give me an outside line, please

maybe this time

I’ll be understood

 

P.J. Laska

from The Day The Eighties Began (Igneus Press, 1991)

 

 

“Bill Kemmett’s Flesh of a New Moon echoes voices of nature, be it mineral, vegetable, animal, or human kingdom. Kemmett’s precise, to the quick poems are more than oriental, for he is, in the deepest sense, a New Englander Boston born and Roxbury raised. His images evoke a strength that is confirmed by his understatement. I feel as though I know his backyard, and all the creatures that have passed through it, and have been captured on his pages. These poems are original, finely crafted, and each one contains a revelation shared with the reader.”

 

Peter Kidd, publisher of Igneus Press

 

 

Faith of Stone

 

                        The cave listens to the night

with a dark ear…

Drops of water echo

in an empty rhythm.

 

The rock within dissolves

a second at a time,

deeper and higher until

the sun pecks through eroding walls.

 

From the blinding sky

far back in the shadows

bats dream their upsidedown knowledge

into rocks.

 

The mountain has been informed.

The stones of the inner core

accept their fate:

know of the wind and rain.

 

The mountain

is equal to the truth.

 

William Kemmett

from Flesh of a New Moon (Igneus Press, 1991)

 

                       

 

Martin:          Earlier you mentioned being sensitive to the human condition as a tenet of the press…addressing it in diverse ways. Talk about your poetics at the time you brought out Wally’s book. What were your thoughts about American poetry at the time and has your poetics or outlook changed since then?

 

Kidd:               That’s a great question. In terms of Boston poetry, I was at loggerheads with many of the poets because they all thought the poem was a product of the mind, and I thought it was a product of the soul. And so the battle was on and waged. It came to a point where one poet, Rando, said I wasn’t even a poet but a social humanitarian. As for poetics, from the get-go, it was the study of the minimalist school. Start with the ability to focus your consciousness through a single image,  so a lot of my early poems were tiny little poems unto themselves. I will always love minimalist poetry…there is so little time for the epic poem…what with family and work…and I learned to get in and out of a poem. I probably beat minimalism to death…until I realized I could string these images together into stanzas, then skein out the stanzas into longer poems, and that has evolved to the point where right now, I’ve been actually going with a poem for 11 months and it’s probably around 140 pages with 117 poems considered part of it…which is quite a change for someone who started out with a single image.

 

                       

Martin:           Let’s stay with the minimalist/image period of your work for a moment. Do you see your exploration of this style connected to and/or as an outgrowth of the strand of modernism called Imagism launched by Ezra Pound in 1912 through a poem written by Hilda Doolittle that he sent to Poetry Magazine.?

 

Kidd:              I am thinking Amy Irving began the magazine The Imagist, Pound and HD were certainly components of it. I think the modernist movement was most likely an attempt to morph the poem into a new set of language laws, overthrowing the Victorian laws of rhyme and meter. And, in fact, was effective, and led to other offshoots like Objectivism. I have always been drawn to HD, we share some similar metaphysics with her Rosicruceanism and my early immersion into the Grail and the story of Parsifal. I think of HD much like I think of Bach. They were clear examples of Hermetic initiation, spatial relationships. I am afraid I find myself in a minority in terms of Pound’s and Eliot’s contribution to American poetics. So much of the emerging poetry passed through Pound in that period prior to WW2 it would be useless to try and marginalize him. But I tend to think of both he and Eliot as Neo-Classicals. I tend to favor the Whitmanic stream of American poetry, poets like Hart Crane and W.C. Williams. Not just the furthering of the American voice, but the act of reaching up into the cosmos and bringing down the divine into the human. My minimalism grew out of a humility and consecration of a single simple impression or observation being highlighted. It was born of wonder of how less can be more. It was born out of a sense of the surrounding multiplicity and the question of can a single image stand alone in its midst? As my minimalism grew into longer poems, there was always this sense of layers and negative space, which better reflected how the human mind and soul work, on many different levels simultaneously. Certainly I am aware of how linear time works, but my perception is it does not relate much to the subconscious and the unconscious, both enormous sources of poetry and awareness. Also, I’m sure my minimalism was a response to the growing masses of workshop poetry and writing programs which hyper focus on the construction of a poem, the craft. I learned as a landscape designer long ago, the only kind of craft that interests me is learned through constant repetition of just writing and using one’s ear to refine. I must confess I am drawn to more experimental poetry.  

 

Artifact Insertion

 

                        The Quarry

 

                        where

this time of year

everything is slippery

and the stone is brittle

the equipment breaks down

driving the costs

up

 

Peter Kidd

from Bear Stew (Igneus Press, 1996)

 

1

 

Walt’s Kid(d)

 

and yes it was

an immaculate conception

perhaps the only thing

in my life

that is immaculate

 

when I see people hold hands

sparks fly from their fingers

in sandals toes visibly curl

 

I’m registered with the government

as a solar powered

generation plant

 

the NSA leaves me alone

after putting 3 agents

into the mental ward

 

liberty is hard work

 

last week

I reduced the macrocosm

and the microcosm into a whole

 

even my truths and conclusions

have a tendency

to evolve in dynamic fashion

 

my father taught me a trick

how to catch Blake’s Tiger

by the tail

 

if you find me lacking

in metaphor

it’s on purpose

my only narrative

is

this instant

 

there is no need for a decoder ring

 

I pay alimony

to 12 harlots

on a handshake

 

my mission is to alienate

most poets

for their lack of simplicity

 

screw your vocabulary

learn to dwell

inside your words

 

is it true your beta-alpha

manifests

upside down

 

whole grains

you say

whole souls

I reply

 

my father changed head wound bandages

and still had the clarity

to celebrate life

 

are you displeased

when you buy

the wrong floss

 

Dr Williams

my cousin

married Floss

there is a stream

in American Literature

where a handful or two

have taken

baptism

 

we all meet there

at

unappointed times

to discuss the alchemical formula

of conjoining soul with body.

 

1/29/14

 

Peter Kidd

from Human Condition (poem in progress)

 

Martin:           Definitely, moving from a single image to an epic charts the change in your work. Now we have a number of plates in the air: the start of Igneus, the first poets to be published by the press, Igneus as a cooperative press, and your poetics over time. But now I want to veer back to an earlier statement you made and that is the distinction you made between a poem coming from the mind and a poem arising from the soul. What do you mean when you say “soul?” What is “soul” to you?

 

Kidd:               At the concrete level, the soul is memory and the inner and emotional world. On the metaphysical level, it is passion and involved with feeling. But I always had a sense that the a priori for me was this inner welling up of enormous feeling, which is not to say that I play down the role of the mind. However, I didn’t think the mind was the source or the point of origin for the poem. I consider the mind the “tool” to construct and shape the initial push.

 

Martin:            Is feeling something broader or more inclusive than emotion?

 

Kidd:               I don’t think there is a whole lot of difference. Feeling is a word we’ve brought closer to the pavement than emotion. It’s less psychological…more humane. It is something you can talk to children about, and they’ll understand what you’re talking about. And I think a big key is that it (feeling) embraces empathy…something that leads to a relationship outside of yourself as well as to yourself.

 

Martin:            For you, does the soul or your soul exist prior to existence. Is there a Peter Kidd prior to Peter Kidd? Is there a Peter Kidd soul after Peter Kidd. What are we talking about here?

 

Kidd:               Well, I’ll come out of the closet. You know, I’ve always thought I was one of the 12 Bodhisattvas around Vishnu at the Mother Lodge, and I’m still up to that. I don’t think there is anywhere else to go. I’m reaching up and grabbing the divine cosmos and dragging it down. I’m not a transcendentalist. I’m an incarnationist.

 

Martin:            Also re-incarnationist. I remember that walk we took through a mosquito patch in the woods when you defined your position in life. Remember?

 

Kidd:               The walk in which you worried your head would grow in size like a beach ball?

 

Martin:            Yes, the inflatable head stroll through a corridor of pines and into the vortex of mosquitoes…until we reached a country road and you took a toke on your…

 

Kidd:               Herbal experiment.

 

Martin:           Yes.  Herbal experiment and you confided to me that you had made a conscious decision to go through your present incarnation medicated to ensure you would return again. Is this part of your idea and sense of soul?

 

Kidd:               Absolutely! I consciously like to leave a little unfinished business, particularly with those I love dearly, you know.

 

Martin:            So the Wheel of Birth and Death is a good thing for you?

 

Kidd:               Yeah, yeah.

 

Martin:            You’re not trying to get off of it?

 

Kidd:               Yeah, and Bill Kemmett would say, I’m an evil person – not only because I want to come back, but because I want to bring all you guys back with me by leaving unresolved issues.

 

Artifact Insertion

 

Witness

 

 

Mind pervades everything is a sentence with clout

Uncertainty is a principle

Cogito ergo sum and the double helix

remain hot news items

We polished off a bottle of Pouilly Fuisse

enjoying the play of mythical children from frosted steps

Are butterflies reincarnated philosophers

Do trees deny the wheel of birth and death

What’s your present velocity and location

I’ve shot pool like David Hume

(Send the paparazzi to the front(s)

Send the presidents the monarchs the dictators

The millionaires and the religious leaders too)

It’s more than getting one’s paperwork in order

or forging the moon’s blood work

to obtain the Mind’s birth certificate

Great history shakes with the awareness of what has been lost

Pure reflection did explode

See Internet  See Spot run

Through equations and livid insights

we encode multiple oblivions

Before it started to thunder

we collected raindrops in pearl pails

There were ghost planes in the sky/homeless soldiers

When consciousness slips on a noose of flowers

eye is not so bad or mad a witness

 

Richard Martin

(House Organ #77)

 

Martin:          Well, I understand that and thanks for that country stroll because I grew up with the Catholic version of soul – immaterial and judged up or down by actions and behavior during one’s life. Up or down in terms of heaven, purgatory, or eternal damnation in hell. Not everyone gets to merge with Oneness. There’s no room for coming back for a second try. Maybe get right this time.

 

Kidd:               Which is crazy. Christianity doesn’t comprehend the power of grace, which is one of its tenets. The power of grace – I like that better than karma (the eastern notion of karma) – the idea, if you make a mistake you just own it and you can have a fresh start with people…you know…just don’t let the lower ego build a fort around your mistakes. Own them…laugh…and move on.

 

Martin:         Say you’re sorry.

 

Kidd:               Yeah, say you’re sorry. I’m human. What I find as I get older is that imperfections are what are so artistic and lasting. The imperfections of people and things. Total perfection is auto-mechanical. I like the human quality …that we’re all leaking a little bit out of our eyes.

 

Martin:         OK…with our imperfections let’s get back to poetry and poetics.

Poetry appears to be in many camps today…the big one, as Charles Bernstein calls it, Official Verse Culture, which includes poetry sanctioned by the American Academy of Poets or as Joel Dailey says, the American Academy of Armchairs and the various awards linked to “official” poetry – a poetry that more than likely includes many MFA programs and what they’re preaching to students, and the rest of the scene, from poets clustered in magazines like Fell Swoop or in the Igneus catalog…the perpetual underground of the unnoticed. Exclusivity bubbles through the veins of American poetry.

 

Kidd:               Yeah, I think it is healthy that you mention that.  Frankly, I think every type or manifestation of poetry out there  – regional poetry, schools of writing – Black Mountain, Beat, Language, MFA etc…on and on… create and generate quality work regardless of the type, mediocre work regardless of the type and crap.  It’s my experience when a press or magazine centers on a region, school, or type of poetry exclusively, they go dry very quickly. They don’t attain longevity because they’re not involved in the evolution of the poetic and that’s a great mistake. Again, the reason you might not get into Igneus is that you’re not diverse enough.

 

Martin:            So how many poets have been published by Igneus…how many books are available?

 

Kidd:               I’ve published 58 books since 1990…58 in 25 years.

 

Martin:            And those 58 books reflect your vision of poetic diversity?

 

Kidd:               Because I made my living as a landscape artist and designer, I’ve always thought of Igneus Press as a landscape – one that includes all kinds of elements and components with specific elements compositionally arranged in sequence or juxtaposition with other specific elements or components like a visual artist would do. As a landscaper, I collect my materials, get them to the site and place them into a landscape composition. Igneus is a poetic landscape from the seventies until now and some 40 years later the landscape is growing in complexity into new and exciting dimensions…one with more layering…layering on layers…exploding the genre…crossing boundaries. More than just ekphrasis…but poets and poems crossing into and breeding with other art forms and bringing enrichment to each. So I think we’re just starting to hit our stride. My feeling early on was that people who were constructing poems… a lot of them came from workshops and MFA programs…there was an essential sameness to them…a flatness…and honestly those programs are no different than many academic programs…To become a professional, in this case a professional poet, is humiliating to the poet and the process. You have to become a Genghis Khan shit sniffer to get through and who wants to become that, especially when pabulum is the result…the sophisticated end of the oligarchy, you know.

 

Martin:            Speaking of oligarchy….I find it interesting that when one thinks about postmodern writing, writing since 1945…writing we’ve come to associate with Black Mountain poets, the Beats, Language poets, etc. …who were all outsiders to the university to begin with, then eventually a number of poets from the outside settled into the university and Academia.

 

Kidd:               They gradually got usurped.

 

Martin:            Yeah…so the chunks of poetry outside the university walls…Igneus…Fell Swoop….etc.

 

Kidd:               Archetypical chunks.

 

Martin:            Yes, these archetypical chunks floating around like air masses in the body poetic…address if you would their direction… what about our generation of poets, who quite frankly, very few have been read or are known about…where are we headed?

 

Kidd:               Look, we have an understanding that our greater commitment is to the poetic itself. Inclusive of that is our times, the surrounding politics, changes in time and metaphysics, changes in the nuts and bolts of the publication world…changes  the electronic and technological age has brought us that have made things more doable. We’re not dependent on some small formula.  It’s always been my opinion that people who are studying or trying to be canonized – reading or taking off on what it took to be postmodern – will blow it completely. Evolution is evolution…So we change, time changes, the poetic changes and so will the criteria of what has substance. I don’t think you can work off the recipe for being a well-rounded, respected postmodern. It won’t be applicable…you’re going to have to have the computer and technology involved.

 

Martin:            So, it’s being present in one’s time and open to new forms of expression and exploration.

 

Kidd:              Yes, and what is unique is being in your own time, which I think is absolutely right, and to get to that point in ourselves where we are secure enough to move on…and like you were saying…why is it so many people we like are somewhat, in a traditional sense, obscure. But we’re not obscure to each other. We were fortunate, and we constellated with 4, 5, 6, 7 core poets that we have had 40-year relationships with and great accessibility to one another.  I think that, in and of itself, is unique. Within that primary constellation, each of us have other constellations and those constellations have come together (in some manner) to form a truly diverse constellation. We kind of know who swam against the current, kicked ass, became experimental and innovative. We don’t feel responsible to 200 year old language laws. That’s not our ilk. We want to play with things. See what the potentiality of language can be. How can we cross pollinate with music…How we can cross-pollinate with painting.

 

Artifact Insertion:

                       

Advice

 

 

Brief through the simple

Confusion: transition

To river of thought

 

You know what Pound said

About this type of figure

Of speech: Don’t do it

 

River is a natural object –

Thought an abstract one

Both have origins

 

Meander

When put together

Collision of worlds

 

Sounds

Vortex waterfall

Wormhole

 

Rules then

For composition:

Who needs them

 

Richard Martin

(published in Chronogram)

 

Martin:            Let’s talk about one Igneus poet who swam against the current for a lifetime, a poet Igneus has published a number of times, Vincent Ferrini.

 

Kidd:               The old man.

 

Martin:            Let’s talk about the old man. I can’t claim to know his work like you. How did you meet him?

 

Kidd:               Yeah, it was a great experience for me to know him. I have had two major older generational poets in my life. Neither were mentors – they were peers and recognized that…as I recognized that…One was Bob Kaufman. the old Beat poet, and the other was Vincent Ferrini, who was part of that daemon with Charles Olson and the whole Gloucester scene. I first met the old man at the Boston Center for the Arts. I was sitting with a 100 people or so and this little bitty guy with a head full of white hair and wide brimmed black hat, plus 5 inches of manuscripts steps to the podium on the stage. And he plunks the manuscripts down on the podium and looks up at the audience and says: “I’ve got enough material here to blow the roof off this building!” He gave a fantastic reading. I loved it. Afterward I started to walk on the stage to talk with him and he pointed his finger at me, wrote down his address and said: “Write me.” So Vincent and I started our correspondence and there exist hundreds of letters between us – These letters can found in my archives at Kent State and in his archives at the Cape Ann Museum. They cover a 30-year relationship. He was just a big brother and good guy. He ruffled everyone he had ever met in his life. He was the ultimate “shoot yourself in the foot” poet. He pissed off the postmoderns. He pissed off the moderns. I mean he’d write to Clayton Eshleman and misspell his name. Ferrini was the ultimate…well you met him. I took you to meet him and you know what happened.

 

Artifact Insertion:

 

THE MYSTERY

 

                        We are not attuned to perceive certain

 

wave lengths of sound & sight

 

too low or too bright for

 

humans

the daily

 

crucifixion

 

 

 

the music in everything

 

enclosing

 

the resurrection

 

of the known, the unknowing, & the knower

 

 

Vincent Ferrini

from MAGDALENE SILENCES (Igneus Press, 1992)

 

 

The First Intimation

 

Where is the Heart –

forgotten in a place

before you were born

& it is the closest to you

the beat of your primal bonding

asking you to get in touch with

& stay there

It is the only voice that can save you

if you obey its rhythms

it will heal you

Forget everything that ever happened to you

dive into the heart’s holy water

& let its love for you breathe

give up everything

that is not in tune

with the art of your heart

which is so deep inside

you –

forget

who you are and where you are

drink from your heart’s well-water

it is where miracles come from

& the cadence of perfect Being

 

Vincent Ferrini

from THE MAGI IMAGE (Igneus Press, 1995)

 

Martin:           Ok, let’s talk about that meeting for a second. It was the day I earned an unexpected Ph.D.

 

Kidd:               That’s right. Ferrini broke his recipe. He was committed to awarding only 12 Ph.Ds. But after we drove to his place and spent the day with him, he decided to break his paradigm and awarded you the 13th Ph.D.

 

Martin:            It was a great honor…but I’m a little fuzzy on the events that led up to it.

 

Kidd:               It had a lot to do with your discussion of Blake with him.

 

Martin:          Oh, yeah, now I remember. We both loved Blake, but I wasn’t too high on the Blessed Virgin, which came into the discussion somehow…More or less I saw Blake grounded in the transcendence of being here, bringing the contraries together through Imagination. I didn’t need an eternal zone. We’re in it. Or something like that. Anyway, we went back and forth and started quoting from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”.

 

Kidd:               And don’t forget Ferrini’s self-portrait of himself as Christ decked with grape leaves and his own little laureate thing hanging in his bathroom – how that enflamed the conversation. You got him going. Remember, he started pounding on his desk with great emphasis and as a result shattered his eyeglasses.

 

Martin:            Yes, it was all a matter of timing and coincidence. His glasses were on top of a Time Magazine and on the cover was a picture of Jesus. We went back forth over the energy of eternal delight…following the crooked path… and were at loggerheads on some issues. At the point of his glasses shattering, and his angry rising, he looked at me and said: “You’ve just earned my 13th Ph.D.”

 

Kidd:               Yeah, he said to me sometime afterwards: “What about this guy, Martin?”

We had a ball other than the 2 ½ hours it took for us to have his glasses repaired.

 

Martin:            Great fun. And he is another example, like yourself, of a poet owning his own independent business and/or raising a family, and going through all the ups and downs, and still persisted with pushing the poetic envelope. He owned a frame shop, didn’t’ he?

 

Kidd:               He was a framer who carved driftwood and built frames from them.

 

Martin:            And again, you owned and operated a landscaping business for 30 years, garnered a number of awards for your business, plus raised 4 kids, and in between published 58 books. I think of Dailey in New Orleans in the same boat of responsibilities and editing and publishing Fell Swoop: The All Bohemian Revue for the last 31 years.

 

Kidd:               And Rich Blevins is a professor and poet.

 

Martin:            And until recently I was a principal in the Boston Public Schools – the energy of the day job.

 

Kidd:               And we all knew to keep them. The reality is you don’t want to put pressure on your poetry to provide dollars. It’s a high art and should be left that way.

 

Martin:            It’s an art of acceptance…of readiness to receive.

 

Kidd:               Absolutely, you have to be ready to climb right up on the cross, spread your arms and cross your legs, in case there are not enough nails, you do what I call the C-R-U-C-I-F-I-C-T-I-O-N.

 

Martin:            We’ll close on that. Thanks, Pete.

 

Kidd:               You’re welcome.

 

 

See: www.igneuspress.com and Online Bookstore/Igneus Press at www.igneuspress.com/category/online-bookstore for publishing history and books for sale.

 

 

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