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Inlander Staff Pick

Damn Good Cookie

Chris Cook interview on KPBX

From the Studio: Poet Chris Cook’s “Damn Good Cookie”

We had Chris Cook in the studio to talk about his most recent book Damn Good Cookie, a collection of original poems. Chris talked with Verne about what he does when he’s not playing trumpet with the Spokane Symphony–writing and reading poems. And that’s exactly what he’ll be doing this Saturday, June 18th at 7:30pm at Auntie’s Bookstore. Chris gave us a preview of that reading with a selection of poems, and he also talked about his writing and ideation process. Damn Good Cookie was published this past May by Korrektiv Press.

“Meter Master” — Spokesman-Review feature article on Chris Cook

Chris Cook

“Damn Good Cookie” (Korrektiv Press, $15), which hits shelves on Saturday, is Cook’s second book of poetry, following 2014’s “The View from the Broken Mic.” It features 42 poems, all of which Cook has performed for audiences. Some of them are relatively new, while others have been in his repertoire for more than a decade. “I’m pretty proud of this one. It shows a more complete writer,” Cook said.
Read more.

Damn Good Cookie Book Launch, June 18, 7pm at Auntie’s

Damn Good, Cookie

Enjoy an evening of poetry this Saturday night at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane with Chris Cook, the proprietor of Auntie’s 3-Minute Mic reading series. Cook is the author of two poetry collections: The View from the Broken Mic and his newest book Damn Good Cookie.

In the Spokane tradition of Vachel Lindsay, Chris Cook sings. Before you register the dark humor, the sharp satire, or the elegant constructions of the meter, you’ll notice the music of these poems. Whether at the park, in memory, or elsewhere on the periphery, Cook writes large-hearted poems that remind us how poetry moves: from ear to mind to heart.

Wow. Just…

wow.

Poem for Memorial Day

54thmemorial

For the Union Dead

Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam.

The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.

Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.

My hand draws back. I often sigh still
for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom
of the fish and reptile. One morning last March,
I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized

fence on the Boston Common. Behind their cage,
yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting
as they cropped up tons of mush and grass
to gouge their underworld garage.

Parking spaces luxuriate like civic
sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders
braces the tingling Statehouse,

shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw
and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
on St. Gaudens’ shaking Civil War relief,
propped by a plank splint against the garage’s earthquake.

Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city’s throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound’s gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man’s lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die–
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.

On a thousand small town New England greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year–
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns . . .

Shaw’s father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son’s body was thrown
and lost with his “niggers.”

The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here;
on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling

over a Mosler Safe, the “Rock of Ages”
that survived the blast. Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set,
the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.

Colonel Shaw
is riding on his bubble,
he waits
for the blessèd break.

The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.

Hey!

The blog is still here! I clicked on over, fully expecting a 414 page instead of the spooky ol’ banner.

Here are a few items of note, courtesy of the indefatigable Karey Perkins:

WALKER PERCY’S 100TH BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY

In honor of Walker Percy’s 100th Birthday Anniversary, proposals addressing any topic or area celebrating Walker Percy’s life, his fiction, or his non-fiction are welcome. Send 300-word abstracts, brief bio, and A/V requirements to Dr. Karey Perkins, University of South Carolina – Beaufort, at both kareyp@uscb.edu and kareyperkins@gmail.com by June 7.

WALKER PERCY: A CENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION

In 1962 Walker Percy wrote, “Southern fiction, in one sense of the word, ran out its string at Faulkner’s death and has not known where to go since. It has been hung up on the myth, both the splendor of the myth and its decay, on the people who come after and who are haunted by the myth. But it has not known what to make of the people who come after that, who grew up in the South and who don’t even remember that there is anything to remember.” Percy’s observations are especially noteworthy on the 100 anniversary of his birth. Is what he said in 1962 proved to be validated since then—and has an awareness of “not remembering that here is anything to remember” actually embodied a typical paradox for which Percy is noted? The session invites papers on all aspects of Walker Percy’s writings, particularly as they enlarge the scope of Southern writing to other fields–literary, theological, and sociological. By June 9th, please send a 200-word abstract, brief bio, and A/V requirements to Benjamin Alexander, Franciscan University of Steubenville, at balexander@franciscan.edu.

WALKER PERCY’S UTOPIAS AND DYSTOPIAS

Much of Walker Percy’s fiction and non-fiction writing is social commentary. At least two novels – Love in the Ruins and The Thanatos Syndrome – may be called dystopian or post-apocalyptic. His numerous essays on race relations, on secular materialism, on misguided “self-help” books in a postmodern world seem to indicate that he suspected 20th century America was a dystopia itself. Additionally, Walker Percy’s personal life included social action in his local community and through the Catholic Church. Proposals addressing the SAMLA 88 theme “Utopia/Dystopia: Whose Paradise Is It?” in Walker Percy’s fiction, non-fiction, or life are welcome. Send 300-word abstracts, brief bio, and A/V requirements to Dr. Karey Perkins, University of South Carolina – Beaufort, at kareyp@uscb.edu by June 7.

See y’all in 2017!

It’s Walker Percy’s Hundredth Birthday and We Suck

… but here’s the beginning of an epic poem about the time a young man met the man himself:

November 22, 1989

The day I met Walker, the rain had fallen
in Louisiana sheets, and I’d left
my tent illicitly pitched in the Bogue Falaya
State Park, along with a bookish bottle
of Early Times I’d taken a few swigs off of
in the dark the night before as pine cones pitched
and fell outside as if in triadic morse code
from Flannery in heaven telling me grace was in
the river. And alligators, too, I reckoned.
I walked the cracked sidewalks of Covington, aimlessly,
dazed by the wonder of seeing vines sprouting
through the cracks in a sacramental vision,
a concelebration of the namer and the named,
and lept across the flashflood puddles
as I made my way towards no destination
but found myself in The Kumquat bookstore
to oggle shelves bursting with signed copies
of The Moviegoer, The Last Gentleman, Love in the Ruins, Lancelot,
The Second Coming, The Thanatos Syndrome, Lost
in the Cosmos, The Message in the Bottle, books
that had changed (and continue to change) my life.
Oh Walker (Oh Rory) I was twenty-four
and pining for a woman I was also
on the run from in triangular
despair (yet thanks in part to you I also
was aware, at least a little — a foothold —
of the despair, contrary to that Kierkegaardian
epigraph, precisely pitched though it is).
Oh Walker: so I bought a stack of books,
some for me and some for those I loved,
and left instructions with the keeper of
the store to have you encode, in your
physician’s scrawl, your cracked prescriptions
where the vines of love and truth might grow from bourbon
and ink, the cumulative bliss of limitation,
where you and I might clear a space for being.

No One Can Sing the Blues

Happy birthday, Bob.

Gaga Redux

… not a prize for the perfect but the food that God gives us.

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See also