in conversation with John Wisniewski
Ron Kolm at A Gathering of the Tribes on September 28, 2012, as part of the global arts celebration 100 Thousand Poets for Change.
Copyright 2012 Arthur Kaye ©
Tell us about your first experience working at a book store where you worked with Patti Smith and Tom Verlaine?
In late 1969, after avoiding Vietnam by working as a community organizer in Appalachia, I moved to New York City, which I couldn’t afford, and remember, this was the era of hundred dollar a month rents. But I was going broke; nobody would hire me because I had been an activist – I was considered trouble – so I started selling off my library to the Strand bookstore. The Strand is now one of the biggest bookstores in the world; but the world was way smaller back then. The Strand seemed to make a point of hiring artists and musicians, and every time I took a couple of shopping bags full of my precious books by to sell, Fred, the owner would offer me a job. I finally caved and signed on. Patti Smith only worked there a short while; Linda, her sister, stayed much longer.
I really only have two vaguely interesting Patti Smith stories to tell. In the first one, she came up to me one day while I was shelving books and gave me a vinyl LP of James Joyce reading from Finnegan’s Wake. “Here,” she said, “I heard you liked this guy. Someone gave me this at my last reading and said I looked like him. I don’t get it, and I don’t want to. You can have it.” Then she walked away. I still have that Caedmon record in my collection.
John C. Goodman
in conversation with John Wisniewski
When Urban Graffiti first decided to conduct interviews with notable independent underground writers, artists, and publishers — John C. Goodman, editor of the ezine ditch, was among those who initially came to mind. Launched in August, 2007, Goodman singlehandedly created a site showcasing Canadian avant-garde poetry, along with representatives of international avant-garde poetry, and made it more accessible, gathering under the tagline, “poetry that matters”, some of the most exceptional avant-garde poetry being created. I invite you to enjoy “John C. Goodman — in conversation with John Wisniewski” — another in an ongoing series of evocative and probing conversations with contemporary experimental, transgressive, and avant-garde writers, artists, and publishers. ~The Editor
John Wisniewski: Where did you publish your first poems?
John C. Goodman: I first published in a local literary magazine called Hammered Out run by a friend of mine, Frances Ward. I was also fortunate enough to land some work in a few hand-made micro-press magazines. From there I began submitting to online magazines and since then, except for a few print publications, have pretty much published everything online.
I also did some self-publishing. I would read at open mics whenever I could and I made up a series of little chapbooks so I would have a book to read from and to sell. I charged a couple of dollars and sold one or two at every reading. I remember one memorable evening when I sold five. My first commercial poetry book was published by Raymond Farr’s Blue and Yellow Dog Press in Florida, and then I had another published by Alec Newman’s Knives Forks and Spoons Press in the UK.
— in conversation with John Wisniewski
Transgressive, surrealist, urban post-realist writer Christopher Nosnibor — author of This Book Is Fucking Stupid, The Plagiarist, and The Gimp — picks up where writers such as William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Jorge Luis Borges, and JG Ballard leave off, sharing influences with such contemporaries as Kenji Siratori, Stewart Home, Barry Yourgrau, and Mark Leyner. Urban Graffiti is pleased to present, “Christopher Nosnibor — in conversation with John Wisniewski”, the first in an ongoing series of evocative and probing conversations with contemporary experimental and transgressive writers. ~Editor
John Wisniewski: Could you tell us about your earliest writings — was the writing experimental in nature?
Christopher Nosnibor: My very first stab at writing was when I was aged about 7 or 8. I wanted to write an epic that was my own equivalent of Star Wars. I didn’t get very far. Well, I filled a heap of little spiral-bound notepads with explosions and so on, but never really got a sense of plot. Actually, that probably set the template for everything I’ve done since! However, it was later, after I’d read Naked Lunch that I stared writing as an adult. That novel, The Sound of Impact, written between the ages of 18 and 22, was highly experimental and not terribly successful as a novel. It’s not published, but parts of it have been reconfigured and used in subsequent works which have made it into the public domain. That was my first ‘word hoard’, I suppose. I chiseled out another brace of unpublished novels in my twenties which were pretty straightforward. My first published work proper was a collection of short stories called Bad Houses that I put out myself in 1997. Again, there are some experimental pieces in there, and it’s stylistically diverse. I think it’s fair to say there’s always been an experimental element to my work.
Marco Rea: Pop Surrealist Provocateur
in conversation with
Born in Rome in 1975, where he still lives and works, Marco Rea graduated in History of Contemporary Art, producing for many years graffiti on the walls of several Italian cities as a graffiti artist. It was during this time that Rea created and developed his own unique ‘Pop Surrealist’ technique of spray painting on billboards and the pages of glossy magazines. The result being nothing less than provocative.
From Bulgari to Art by Marco Rea
Take for instance, ‘From Bulgari to Art’, in which Rea’s technique transforms glossy magazine advertising into something entirely new, alive. Rea has raised the culture jamming ethos of Italy’s urban street artists — a form of subvertising used to disrupt or subvert media culture and its mainstream cultural institutions, including corporate advertising — into an entirely new realm of artist endeavour which focuses not only on subverting or critiquing political or advertising messages, or their negation, but to transcend both image and message with one of Rea’s own creation.