Chapbooks & Deep Sea Organisms...

I'm impressed by the ability of deep sea organisms to survive in freezing cold water, without light and very little food. I like the way their anatomy is beautiful and functional and durable.

I'm also impressed by the ability of chapbooks to survive in otherwise hostile environments. I like the way they are constructed by hand and the way they are designed for small, particular audiences for little or no financial gain.

Here are some chapbooks and some deep sea creatures that are rad:

Julia Cohen: The History of a Lake Never Drowns

Press: Dancing Girl Press

5.25" by 8"

Pages: 12

This chapbook is only twelve pages long, but all of its poems are filled with dense imagery and mercurial syntax. You will probably want to read them several times, so really, it's like 36 pages long. When I read this chapbook, I feel like each poem is an ostensible mystery, unfolding in front of me. This is a feeling I look for when I read poems, but rarely experience. Here is an example of some idiosyncratic lines that demonstrate what I am talking about:

Come here, balloons
We have business
We have alter-egos so distinguished
Nobody can tell us apart
Nobody can tell us they're sorry

Glowing Sucker Octopus: Stauroteuthis syrtensis

Size: up to 50 cm

Depth: 700-2500 m

The Glowing Sucker Octopus can change its shape at will. It can expand the size of its body, inflate itself or twist itself into a rope-like shape.
Also, it looks like a space alien from a 1950's sci-fi movie called "Attack of the Glowing Brain-Creature".

Zachary Schomburg:
The Pond

Press: Greying Ghost Press

Size: 5.5" by 7.25"

Pages: 28

This is a "classy" chapbook. It has nice, slightly sparkly end-papers and a simple cover and it is set in Sabon. Classy. The Pond is composed of a series of 23 poems. The poems have a lapidary quality that makes them enjoyable to read. I would say that Zachary Schomburg is very good at creating precise images with simple language. I also like the dream-like quality of these poems. Here is a line from poem number 5:

I am sleeping on a chair with very long legs
in the middle of the pond.
I don't have a name.

Spookfish: Winteria telescopa

Size: 20 cm

Depth: 400-2500 m

The Spookfish has very large eyes that enable it to to see in almost total darkness. Its eyes are sensitive enough to distinguish between the bioluminescent glow of potential prey and the glow of predators. And it looks hilarious.

Sampson Starkweather: City of Moths

Press: Rope-a-Dope Press

Size: 6.5" by 6.5"

Pages: 52

This chapbook has a nice linocut cover and a hand-sewn binding that make me feel satisfied when I hold it in my hands. The poems in this chapbook are a discontinuous series of untitled prose poems. One of my favorite things about them are the way they proffer philosophical ideas without pretension and without sacrificing a feeling of intimacy or poetic intent. Here is an example of a section that does those things:

Before we part, there's one more thing I need to know. Does water flow in the city where you live as well? When I was there, I don't remember anything but rinsing your scent off my skin from some sort of sex the night before. But who's to say what's real? Was that what I loved?

Silky Medusa: Colobonema sericeum

Size: 5 cm

Depth: 500-1500 m

This jellyfish is easily recognized by its white tipped tentacles which are able to detach from its body. They are also able to light up when it is attacked, thereby confusing predators and allowing the Silky Medusa to escape. Badass.

Justin Taylor: More Perfect Depictions of Noise

Press: X-ing Press

Size: 5" by 7.75"

Pages: 48

This chapbook has a unique feel because it is perfect bound, but it has a hand-drawn cover. Also, in place of a title and author name on its cover, it has a tag attached to it that tells you who it's by and the press and title. It has nice graphic flourishes inside, too. This chapbook is full of good poems that I would call "urban," if it did not sound grossly diminutive. I like the way the poems include people and places in New York. I also like the way they express intellectuality without seeming pretentious. Here is a line I like a lot:

(...) I am going
to stare out the dirty window of this apartment
overlooking East 3rd street and think about being
the kind of man who listens to a song
and makes a decision, but not actually be that man
or decide anything.

If you send me your chapbook or your deep sea organism, I will study it with great care in its natural environment and make sure that all five of the people who read my blog know about it. You can email me (benmirov@hotmail.com). Together, we will ensure that chapbooks and sea creatures will survive so future generations of human beings can enjoy them.



brian said...

I saw this fish (not sure what kind) at the aquarium:


It was bigger than us.

bmirov said...

That's terryfying, like straight from my nightmares.

Greg said...

I want to be a spookfish when I grow up...

Anonymous said...

That was a badass picture u fuckin morons!!!! U guys will believe even the bitchiest crap!! Shit dudes!! U guys are bastards!!!

Anonymous said...

You guys are soooo retarded u believe anything!

Anonymous said...




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Anonymous said...

Get it together.

Then look at this guy.



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