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Scott Wannberg – The Lummox Years 1996 to 2006

A poem from the book as read by its author, Hank Beukema.

wannbergcover

Scott Wannberg was born in Santa Monica in February of 1953. A big man with an even bigger presence, he attended Venice High School and then went on to receive his master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. He was a poet’s poet and a human’s human who spent his life working as a sales clerk and book buyer for independent bookstores, most notably Dutton’s Books in Brentwood, where he held court and worked the stacks for almost 25 years. His book  Nomads of Oblivion (Lummox Press) made the Los Angeles Times‘ bestseller list in 2000, and in the late 90s,  Los Angeles Magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Coolest People” in L.A. In 2008, he relocated to Florence, Oregon, where he died too soon at the age of 58 in August of 2011.

Special thanks to S.A. Griffin for Scott’s bio (above) and other permissions and info.

This book concern’s itself with Scott’s involvement with an obscure outpost located in the far reaches of his sphere of influence…namely the Lummox Press. It chronicles Scott’s involvement with all things Lummox: the Lummox Journal, including his interview; the two Little Red Books of his poetry (Equal Opportunity Sledgehammer and Nomads of Oblivion), and his contributions to Eyes Like Mingus (Little Red Book #9), Last Call (Anthology of poets influenced by Bukowski), and The Colorado River Song sequence (about Scott’s mother’s passing). Scott was named “Lummox of the Year” in 1999 and a drawing was commissioned to artist and long-time Lummox friend Michael Paul. This same drawing appears on the cover of the book.  He was actively a part of Lummox for 10 years. Also included are remembrances by several of his friends…Doug Knott, Lynn Bronstein, Steve Goldman, Dona Mary Dirlam, Hank Beukema and Victor Infante. 

Scott was the kind of guy who made a good impression on those receptive to that sort of thing. He delighted in playing with language, linking metaphors together that quite often seemed unlikely and impossible but, in the end, worked out as if by magic!  For a sampling of Scott’s work, go here. Or listen to Scott read a poem here.

For info on the book launch in Feb. 2017 go here.
To see other Scott related Merchandise, go here.

WORDS OF PRAISE

Scott was someone I saw every weekend during my childhood when Dad would take me to look at books there [Dutton’s Books]. Upon getting older and realizing I was “different” I found  solace in Scott’s company, as I had learned to communicate better with people by the time I was that age. One day in particular during my high school years I remember talking to Scott about Mystery Science Theater and a strange dream involving “Sesame Street”s Bert and Ernie in a noir film on Turner Classic Movies. He combined these ideas (and then some) into a spontaneously written poem and I still have it in my room at my dad’s house.

Spencer Lane Griffin

We talk the old stuff: SA’s mac & cheese/ Dutton’s deceased bookstore, the endless forever Carma Bums,/ How Dustin Hoffman leaped up when he heard/ Scott was waiting for him with books! “What? Scott’s waiting for me?”/ Yes, Dustin jumped for Scott – and Mr. Dylan, Jackson Browne/ And all those movie people with the flagship names/ Always sought out Scott/ Because he was already an angel,/ and lifted them up/ despite their weight of fame/…

An excerpt from Doug Knott’s poem, Scott Wannberg in Florence, Oregon, July, 2010

Bill Craychee (reader) review:

I just finished reading your book about Scott Wannberg. I was around and not writing poetry during the years 96-06. Now I wish I was. Made me feel more a part of the poetry/art community I’m looking at through the corner of my eye… The book did a good job of introducing one to SW, making one curious enough to read some more, after a rest, of course, because SW was so relentless. “White noise Wannberg”. Nice book RD. Wonderful gift for a friend. Inspired me. Got me all fired up to be a poet.

wannberg“I wanted to publish this collection of Scott’s work to bring it to a wider audience and be entered into the American canon of literature. Though his work was peppered with metaphor, the message always comes through. Whether he’s talking about a little girl raped and murdered in a casino bathroom, or a young man bludgeoned to death in Wyoming because he was gay, or the power of Ella Fitzgerald’s voice, his words were true and free from moralizing. I think this was the real power of his work. I hope that the reader enjoys this cross-section of Scott’s work as it appeared in my old Lummox Journal (not to be confused with the Lummox Poetry Anthology that I have been publishing annually since 2012). I wish he were alive today if for no other reason than to hear him read some of my favorite poems. I hope you will agree with me after you have read this book, that he was one helluva writer! Scott was special. I can’t emphasize that enough. He was magic.”

Excerpt from the Introduction to the book by Raindog.

Scott Wannberg – The Lummox Years 1996 – 2006
ISBN 9781929878543
180 pgs. $20 USA only (includes shipping)
Edited by RD Armstrong

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Tracking the Rabbit

rabbitsThomas K. Armstrong, my father, died in early January 2015, in his sleep of a heart attack. He had suffered, over the past six years, from Vascular Dementia (the lesser-known half of senility, Alzheimer’s being the more widely known form). A month before, in Dec. of 2014, I had been to see him. This chapbook contains poems and blogs about that visit and his subsequent death.

People deal with the death of a parent in many ways: denial, anger, guilt, bargaining, transference…it goes on and on. Grief has no timetable either so it may take years for that loss to resolve itself (or it may never happen). In my case, I turned to a projection of my dad as a black rabbit. Some might call this transference or an animal fetish; I dunno.

I had a dream after his death and in the dream…”Suddenly, something was thrust into my arms: a medium sized furry thing as black as this night, unidentifiable except for its two white, buck teeth. Then I knew it was a black rabbit. I could feel its heart racing in fear (but also alive!) and pulled it closer. But just as suddenly as it had appeared it now leaped out of my arms and bolted into the dark! I was devastated, thinking that it had been a gift from my father, that I had not understood what it was until it was too late and now it was gone for good (like the old man)…but then, out of the darkness, the rabbit came bounding and leapt into my arms again!

I awoke from this dream wondering what in the world did this mean? I knew enough about Native-American lore to realize that the black rabbit was my father’s spirit animal and that it would guide him through the death process; and this little black bunny would serve as a talisman for me, as well…” (from the Introduction to the chapbook).

RD Armstrong uses the power of poetry for his elegiac mythology of grief. Everyone who has ever been on earth has died, and we never get used to this. Poets especially have to  speak/define/make sense of it. Armstrong’s natural strength as a writer uses an archetypal Rabbit as the central focus. This metaphor extends the glandular process of a body lost and born again. Armstrong commands the structure of prose narrative—as well as the economy of the poem— to memorialize his love for his father. In doing this, he brings everything to life again.

— Grace Cavalieri, “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”

A black rabbit jumps into a bereaved dreamer’s arms, bounds out, comes back, leaves. RD Armstrong tracks it through dream, poem, memoir, waking life, waking dream, blues, and rain. This mixed genre   tale of the poet’s loss of his real father and dreamed-of father, and coming to terms with it, is a stunner–– image-rich, narratively and descriptively tight and moving, emotionally powerful. The images and emotional honesty make the reader feel all the transformations of the dad and to the son in his journey of awakening.

— Jane Lipman, author of On the Back Porch of the Moon, winner of the 2013 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Poetry Book and a NM Press Women’s Award

You can read selections from this book, here.

ISBN 9781929878789
40 pages; $12

If you’d like to buy a copy of this chapbook via check, you can send your payment, made out to Lummox Productions, in the amount of $15 (USA) or if you are outside the USA (WORLD orders), make your check out to Lummox Productions in the amount of $25 and mail your check to PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733.

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In the Shadow of the Bomb

 

GardnerCoverThis book of poems was written for people who normally wouldn’t read poetry. Through these stories you are taken on a forty year journey that began during the height of the cold war and carries onto the new millennium; from one side of the country to the other.

Nothing is hidden in these words, all the veneer is stripped away to show the beautiful vulgarity that is life and humanity. These poems read like the pink slip the foreman just handed you or the three day pay or quit notice tacked to the door of the apartment. It is the beeping of the repo-truck and the sudden surprise of the electricity being turned off. It is the first kiss, the first fight, and the first divorce.

-Timothy Spencer

Poems like “Paying Rent,” In the Shadow of the Bomb,” and “Bar Fighting with Mullets,” demonstrate both his matter of fact ethic and his combination of humor and pathos. Gardner can use the same 16-line poem to make you laugh and make you pause for a moment.

The geography of Gardner’s imagination is the California of Steinbeck, Woody Guthrie, Bukowski and Tom Waits. Family memories are recounted and childhood heroes populate the poems. The vocabulary is everyday life and Gardner’s objective is to show you the world through his eyes.

-Mike “The Poet” Sonksen

I think Joe Garner deals with life the way he does because I think he grew up in uncertainty, in the shadow of the bomb. I knew a few of these kids in their 20’s who came into this life living under a cloud…of radioactivity; never knowing when or where the end would come, but having this “truth” rammed down their throats for the first 20.

And then,suddenly, it was over…the threat was gone!?! This generation stumbled on trying to shed the suspicious mind that had brought them through. And we all heaved a sigh of relief and let our guards down. This generation became complacent and unfocused.  Then 9/11 happened and the old paranoia got a reprieve…

When you read this book, you can join Joe in bearing witness to this part of our history  See our world. your world as Joe sees it. Perhaps, you’ll notice a voice in your head, crying out against our treatment of our world…and if you do, don’t be scared, you’re not going crazy…that’s the voice of your moral outrage!!!!

Savor it while you can…

Read an excerpt of In the Shadow of the Bomb.

In the Shadow of the Bomb by Joseph Gardner
252 pages Trade Paper 6 X 9
ISBN 978-1-929878-68-0
$18 (+ S & H)

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If by mail…send Money Order made out to Lummox Productions and addressed to RD Armstrong, 3127 E. 6th St. Long Beach, CA 90814 and made out in the sum of: $24 (U.S.A.) or $42 (World). There are E-copies available for $6 (these are PDFs). Contact us for more info.

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Lummox #3

RevisedL3Cover.inddLummox 3 is out and ready to be shipped to interested buyers. This issue contains poetry by some 180 poets, plus interviews with Grace Cavalieri, Doug Holder, Daniel McGinn, John Macker and Rick Smith; plus essays by James Deahl (Canadian Poetry in 2014), Daniel McGinn (A Bouquet dropped on Laura Nelson’s Grave), Linda Lerner (Just Another word for Plagiarism), Ellaraine Lockie (The Poem in Public), Bill Mohr (the First No School Anthology of L.A. Poets – a book excerpt), Lucille Shulklapper (My Life in a Book), Judith Skillman (the Fine Art of Revision), Norman Olson (Failure – Musing on Art) and finally RD Armstrong (the View From Down Here).

There are also reviews by Nancy Shiffrin (the Unexpurgated Dairy of Anais Nin), RD Armstrong (A Shot Across the Bow), Bill Gainer (Relics of Lust), Joseph Gardner (Songs of the Glue Machines) and Angela C. Mankiewicz (What the Wind Says).

And of course, the poetic musings of this year’s first Poetry Contest winner and runners up… John Sweet (winner); William Taylor, Jr. (first runner up) and Christina Foskey (second runner-up)! Their poetry was really quite good…some of the best I’ve seen to be honest (in my opinion). The poetry in this issue is really something special!!! There’s so much to be explored in this big-assed book!

Check it out on ISSUU. com where you’ll find the “sampler” edition…

Readings are being scheduled all over the country and even beyond! Check this link to see if there’s one near you!

In the ‘IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING’ DEPT.

amelia raymondA little about the two covers controversy: originally I was going to use a drawing by Amelia Raymond (that’s her holding up her copy of the original cover design) but it was deemed too racy for general consumption, which really surprised me (but I came to realize that what I thought was “normal” was way too liberal, even for the poetry crowd). So, the artful layout designer, Yazoota, created the cover you see at the top of the page. But I was saddened by the loss of the more radical cover, so I decided to print a second book with the original cover and to make it really special, I made it a Ltd. Edition (only 125 copies would be printed). So make sure you are ordering the right book (the contents are the same in either book, only the covers are different).

Here are some satisfied customers.

Lummox 3 – Poetry Anthology
ISBN 978-1-929878-59-8
216 pages; $25 Retail Special to Lummox Customers, $20 + S&H (USA)
8 X 10 inches; Paperback

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Lummox 3 Special Ltd. Edition
ISBN 978-1-929878-76-5

216 pages; $30 Retail (collectors edition – only 125 printed) includes S&H (USA)
8 X 10 inches, Paperback

USE THIS BUTTON (BELOW) IF YOU LIVE IN THE USA (includes S&H)


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LAST CALL – THE BUKOWSKI LEGACY CONTINUES

Last Call-new frontCharles Henry Bukowski, Hank to his friends, was born in Andernach Germany in 1920. He died in 1994, at the age of 73. Even though it was 20 years ago, I remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news…it wasn’t devastating, but it was hard. I still think of the old coot occasionally, and his name still comes up in conversation…such is the power of Buk (rhymes with Duke).

Bukowski spawned a school of poets who write in a kind of gritty, street-wise style. The Buk persona, Henry Chinaski or just Chinaski, has inspired many a young person to devote their lives to boozing and chasing skirt and being a loud-mouth. They wrongly assume that by emulating the actions of Buk’s alter ego, they will be able to write like him…this would be the school of BAD Bukowski poetry & fiction (oh yes, he wrote some great novellas and short story collections).

I have attempted to capture some of the GOOD Bukowski writing out there, beyond the boundaries of Los Angeles, because the Bukowski Legacy has spread world-wide.  Many of the poems I have chosen to include in this collection don’t seem to fit the misconception of “Classic Bukowski” (i.e. Boozing, Broads and bad behavior); but the writers employ the strength of the line and don’t mince words, an economy of words if you will, and to me, this is the real “Classic Bukowski”.

At his core, Buk was a good story teller. Last Call is one man’s homage to a man known as the “Underground Poet Laureate of Los Angeles”. I hope you enjoy this collection.

Read an excerpt of Last Call

ISBN 9781929878864
152 pages; 6 X 9 Trade Paper
$18 + S&H


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SCHEDULE OF PENDING LUMMOX READINGS

In 2012, fMike Adamsor LUMMOX #1, groups of poets who came from the same regions held readings from this issue to promote sales. A series of events held in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles County, California (Venice, Downey and Santa Ana) were either co-sponsored or curated by Lummox.

Then in 2013 for LUMMOX #2, similar readings were held the SoCal towns of Venice, Downey, Long Beach, Canoga Park and Orange. A reading also took place in Sacramento, CA. Other readings happened in Pittsburgh, PA and Boulder and Denver, CO. 

(Left) The late Mike Adams reading from Lummox #1 in 2012 in Colorado.

2014 – 2015 READING SCHEDULE for LUMMOX #3

NOV. 9 – SANTA FE NM

Jane Lipman HOSTS a reading at Teatro Paraguas, (3205 Calle Marie Suite B Santa FeNew Mexico 87505) on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 5 pm. Featuring Blair Cooper, Mary McGinnis, Jane Lipman, Mitch Rayes, Judith Toler, Linda Whittenberg and John Macker.

NOV. 13 – DOWNEY CA

RD Armstrong HOSTS a reading at the Stay Gallery (11140 Downey Ave, Downey, CA 90241) on Thursday night at 7:30 pm. Featured are Trista Dominqu, Lorine and Jeff Parks, Nancy Shiffrin, Daniel McGinn, Radomir Luza, Linda Singer, Frank Kearns, Murray Thomas, Rick Smith and RD Armstrong. This event is sponsored by the Downey Arts Coalition.

There will be copies of both LUMMOX #3 and LUMMOX #3 LTD. Edition on sale as well as other Lummox Press merchandise.

JAN. 24 – WHITTIER CA        

Eric Morago HOSTS the Lummox gang at Half-Off Books in Whittier (6708 Greenleaf Ave. Whittier CA 90601) on Saturday night at 7 pm. Featured to read are RD Armstrong, Heather Browne, Kevin Ridgeway and Linda Singer. Others TBA.

FEB. 12 – LONG BEACH CA

Join us at Viento y Agua (4007 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814  (562) 434-1182) for some of the local flavors that Long Beach is known for. The reading starts at 7 pm. Featured readers are RD Armstrong, Heather Browne, Tom Thomas, RD Armstrong and Linda Singer. Others TBA.

FEB. 19 – VENTURA CA

This reading features poets from the Camarillo to Santa Barbara. Come down to the E.P. FOSTER LIBRARY in old town Ventura (651 Main St. Ventura, CA 93001 805-648-2716). Starts at 7 pm and features Ron Alexander, Tim Tipton, Dane Baylis, Katherine Hamilton, Jackson Wheeler and RD Armstrong. Others TBA. 

MARCH 21 – VENICE CA

RD Armstrong hosts the Lummox gang at Beyond Baroque (681 Venice Blvd. Venice CA) on Saturday night at 8 pm. Featured readers are Jeanette Clough, Michael Meloan, Julia Stein, Lynne Bronstein, Nancy Shiffrin and RD Armstrong. Others TBA.

PENDING READINGS TBA

SARNIA, ONTARIO, CANADA; TORONTO, ONT. CANADA; ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND; and others TBA.

LUMMOX 3 order page 

LUMMOX 2 order page

APRIL 1st READING PERIOD FOR LUMMOX 4 BEGINS

 

 

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Birth Mother Mercy

BirthMotherMercyCover

BIRTH MOTHER MERCY by Alex Frankel

“Days and nights in Los Angeles, roots tugged out, wrung out, chatrooms, classrooms, malls, toilets, Help Wanted at the 7-Eleven, elusive boys, “urgent hunger,” the American 20th century, loneliness and betrayal—these poems have begun to haunt me. Alex Frankel sings in a register almost beyond hearing, the pain is so keen, the writing so fine.”

Alicia Ostriker, author of The Book of Seventy
Cover art by Luka Fisher

108 pages; 6 X 9 Trade Paper
ISBN 978-1-929878-48-2
$15 Retail + S&H

Read Samples from the book.

Alex Frankel



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