Ephemera

bart plantenga — in conversation with John Wisniewski and Mark McCawley

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bart plantenga

in conversation with

John Wisniewski

and Mark McCawley

 
bart-university of writing
 

John Wisniewski: When did you begin writing, bart? When did you publish your first writings?

bart plantenga: On any conscious level? It was probably in high school. A kind of prosaic awakening. First in 9th grade, for an assignment where we had to “travel” through South America and keep a diary I did one – times 10. Mine was over 100 pages long, about 3x longer than anyone else’s – I didn’t know I liked writing about places I had [never] been to. I wouldn’t know for another 2 years that that could be a talent – and what I’ve come to realize many years later an extremely underpaid talent at that.

For instance: Did you ever get into a discussion with friends or coworkers about being underpaid, earning a shit wage and such. Well, I have only done this once or twice: tried to estimate how much per hour I earned for an article or book I was paid for. You don’t want to know. THEY don’t want to know. It is like 10 American cents per hour. You point that out and nobody wants to hear it or believe.
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Mary — a film by Yarre Stooker

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Mary

a film by

Yarre Stooker

 
 

 
 

“Eddie Woods writes poetry the way he lives life, intensely. Experience informs his art, and vice versa. Passion, raw edges, nothing left out. Sex, love, politics…coupled with an unrelenting drive towards awareness, the need to understand what universal reality is all about. His poem “Mary” enters the listener’s ears like a wordbomb, exploding inside the mind, and reverberates down the spine like electroshocks from the brain’s pleasure centre.”

— Mark McCawley (from Mary by Eddie Woods, Urban Graffiti, March 8, 2012)

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Eddie Woods — in conversation with John Wisniewski

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Eddie Woods

 

in conversation with John Wisniewski

 

Eddie Woods at the Beat Hotel (Paris, July 2009). Photo © by Lars Movin

Eddie Woods at the Beat Hotel (Paris, July 2009). Photo © by Lars Movin

JW: You had a variety of jobs over the years while getting on with your writing. Could you tell us about some of them, maybe a few that you enjoyed doing?

 

EW: I wholeheartedly agree with André Gide’s dictum, “All work that is not joyous is wretched.” And while the word ‘enjoy’ may not apply to my time in the Air Force, I still got a lot out of those four years, about which I’ll be writing in one of my future memoirs. It’s a given that I grooved on journalism. Some of that is covered in my most recent book, Tennessee Williams in Bangkok. And I am now encouraging Stanford University to obtain copies of all the pieces I wrote for the Bangkok Post so they can go into my archive there. We can forget the Tehran Journal (I was their sports and night editor in the mid-1970s), as that paper got buried after the 1979 Islamic revolution. I dug being a short-order cook and had the best teacher, namely my father! Programming first-generation IBM computers for two years was all right, until they started to bore me and I quit. Selling encyclopedias was a gas. Did that throughout the latter part of the Sixties, made good money, got to travel around Germany and France, then out to the Far East (where another life began for me). Managing a steakhouse in Hong Kong was cool. Ditto a few other gigs. It would never have crossed my mind to toil in a factory or on a farm. I’m a dunce when it comes to any kind of manual labor. All I’m good at with my hands are eating, writing, and sex.
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Bernard Meisler — in conversation with Mark McCawley

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Bernard Meisler

 

in conversation with

 

Mark McCawley

 

It was in the mid-1990s — nearly two decades before being introduced to Sensitive Skin publisher and editor-in-chief, Bernard Meisler — that I first encountered Sensitive Skin’s unique and eclectic brand of underground art and writing. Discursive, post-realist, transgressive writing. A who’s who of Blank Generation writers. Definitive “Downtown” writers. Writers and artists witnessing the commodification of late twentieth century literature, and the gentrification/Disneyfication of New York. It’s a distinct pleasure to interview Bernard Meisler concerning the history of Sensitive Skin, and how he sees Sensitive Skin as it embraces the future. Urban Graffiti is pleased to present, “Bernard Meisler — in conversation with Mark McCawley”, another in an ongoing series of evocative, probing conversations with contemporary experimental and transgressive writers, artists, and publishers. ~ Editor

 

MM: After a sixteen-year hiatus what was the impetus to re-launch Sensitive Skin as an online magazine on June 18, 2010, as well as the subsequent hard copy issues?

BM: You know, I’d never stopped thinking about the magazine. I wanted to switch it from print to online way back when, in the mid ‘90s. And I regret not doing that, as we’d be super established by now (instead of, I guess, somewhat established). But I stopped doing the print version for a number of reasons, mostly because it was a victim of its own success, if that makes any sense. See, the first few issues, we just had to put a few hundred bucks together, we’d do a benefit show, or one of my better-off friends would just write us a check for $200 or whatever, and off we’d go. By the time the final issue came out, we were getting national distribution with a circulation of 2000 or so, not bad for a little magazine. And it got more and more expensive to put out, and took up more and more time, and, now that we had national distribution, well, we got back almost nothing for sales! So it all became a bit much, I’d just gotten married and had a kid, and I had other things on my mind, so I let it go, which was actually a big relief at the time. Cause as I’m sure you know, it’s tough putting together a magazine like this – not only is there a TON of work to do for layout, typography, art and graphic design, but you’re on a deadline of some sort and you’re trying to manage, what, 30-50 artists and writers? Some of whom are good friends, most of whom are great people, but there’s always a percentage who are self-centered insane egoists. All in all, it’s herding cats. But even after I let it go, I still I thought about it from time to time, as I was doing web development for a living and I thought I could do something really cool with multimedia. We actually had a GREAT final issue, that’s never seen the light of day, as it was in color and we could never come up with the dough to print it. Maybe I’ll still put it out someday – it had pieces by Lynne Tillman, John Shirley, Maggie Estep, Luc Sante – we’ll see. Read more

Urban Graffiti Mix #14

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Urban Graffiti Mix #14 by Mark Mccawley on Mixcloud

Transgressive, discursive. Sex, desire, obsession, addiction. Poems, fictions, letters. Dialogues, monologues. Secrets. Dreams. Something old, something new. More than just the usual literary fare. Urban, ironic, sarcastic, sardonic, sometimes caustic. Allegorical. These poets, dream-weavers, memoirists, fictioneers, songwriters, storytellers, seek out new, unique vernacular to tell their particular narratives. Authentic, visceral, subversive, insurgent, real. As with any good story, poem, memoir, song — only through repeated listening does the myriad levels of meaning present themselves.
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