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Nate Pritts

About About:

Homage to Gertrude Stein

William Heyen

Two Chapbooks in One!

     It's not often that surrealist intuitions break into & out of my semi-syllogistic historical skull (not that my poems won't usually resist empirical intelligence) but when back in 2012 I read a Beinecke Rare Books & Manuscript Library at Yale U. brochure-announcement of an exhibition, my poem "About About" came to be, in a hurry. The exhibition was of Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas papers. It explored Stein's writing process. The brochure pictures Stein writing, & includes her "Descriptions of Literature," sentences or phrases that sometimes seem commonplace ("A book in translation about eggs and butter."), & sometimes jangle the mind as though in answer to Rimbaud's famous "derangement of the senses" ("A book telling why when said that, she answered it as if it were the same.").

     Once I started my own "list" of books, I counted hers. The brochure held 66. I thought I'd do the same, but didn't count. I ended up with maybe a hundred until I felt I'd had my say, whatever say it was. I scratched some lines. I typed up what I had, & my poem made me smile, & still does. A book about a book about the pleasure of being embooked with poet Nate Pritts, & about now being a full-fledged member of the FootHills family!

     William Heyen / Summer 2014

I don’t have one story to tell.  This thought weaves its way through Life Event, sometimes put on paper as words in a sentence or line and other times only as the undercurrent that drags the speaker along.  The poetry accumulates and radiates around a mass, some event or occurrence, some precipitating cause or node and which, ultimately, doesn’t matter.  What the process of writing this poetry did for me, as the writer, and what I hope it can enact for any reader, is to enliven the circuit we all travel as we construct and deconstruct identity, as we try to find ourselves – plural! – as we seek to balance a drive toward coherence with a fumbling sense that the only logic available is an abrupt and incomplete one.  Hopefully everything comes to a place of acceptance after every frenetic grab comes up empty.

Nate Pritts

Excerpt from Life Event:

I can’t enjoy this morning

which is slow & grey   in deep rainy breaths

buffered by a sky that curls around itself in layers of color

because I’m not even here.  

All my energy is concentrated

on some point in the past

that drains this present attention.

I don’t have one story to tell

 but I can’t stop.

There are so many points of contact

 between consciousness & complex phenomenal experience

& I am hundreds of other people

each with responsibilities

cares / interrelations  all of which makes me

human  all of which

I wish I could be rid of

 cleansed so as to be only here

only now pure

in this slow grey that breaks & breaks

that brings light I am too distracted

to fully realize the beauty of.

Nate Pritts is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Right Now More Than Ever, as well as several previous chap-books, including the recent Pattern Exhaustion.

Publishers Weekly described his fifth book, Sweet Nothing, as “both baroque and irreverent, banal and romantic, his poems […] arrive at a place of vulnerability and sincerity.”  POETRY Magazine called his third book, The Wonderfull Yeare, “rich, vivid, intimate, & somewhat troubled” while The Rumpus called Big Bright Sun, his fourth book, “a textual record of mistakes made and insights gleaned…[in] a voice that knows its part in self-destruction.” 

His poetry and prose have been published in Southern Review, Forklift, Ohio, American Poetry Review, Passages North, Court Green, Gulf Coast, Boston Review. He founded H_NGM_N, an online journal and small press, in 2001 and continues to serve as Director and Prime Architect for its various endeavors.  Nate lives in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

Excerpt from About About:

A book written in the dark with an empty pen O what might have been but in fact was even if never.

A book of a passing car the night street seeming to remember it with the next one. Red tail-light chapters.

A book wherein one shadow touches another for the first time maybe trees or maybe lovers yes it's the moon that enables this.

A book with Monsieur Surreal in his backyard at his barbeque when his burgers catch fire & he might resort to absinth to quench its thirst, or an eraser.

A book that begins with Chapter IV & the abandoned castle stays that way for centuries until a dog arrives that can growl a whole dictionary.

A book of two women on a foliage trip when fish are dropping from the boughs their gills crimson & gold but it's time for breakfast.

A book of soundings, of reaching the bottom of.

A book of crooked sentences because the carpenter never did syllogize or empiricize his ladder or ruler or hammer until it was too late because commitment commits to tendency therefore lean this way reader or that way never mind the kinks & dys-squarements.

William Heyen is Professor of English/Poet in Residence Emeritus at the College at Brockport, his undergraduate alma mater. He received his Ph. D. from Ohio University, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from SUNY. A former Senior Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature in Germany, he has received NEA, Guggenheim, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and other awards.  His work has appeared in hundreds of anthologies, and in The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Harper's, The Atlantic, The Southern Review, and other magazines.

He is the editor or author of more than thirty books including Noise in the Trees, an American Library Association Notable Book for 1975; Crazy Horse in Stillness, winner of 1997’s Small Press Book Award for Poetry; Shoah Train: Poems, a Finalist for the 2004 National Book Award; and A Poetics of Hiroshima, a Chautauqua Literary & Scientific Circle selection in 2010. Three new books of poetry (Straight's Suite for Craig Cotter & Frank O'Hara, The Football Corporations, and Hiroshima Suite) and the first three volumes of his massive journal (The Cabin, Hannelore, and Poker & Poets), appeared 2013-2015.  His latest collection is Crazy Horse & the Custers (Nine Point Publishing), and includes 33 paintings in response to his poems by DeLoss McGraw. Etruscan Press will publish The Candle, a volume of 45 years of his Holocaust poetry, in 2016.

Life Event/About About:

is a 40 page hand-sewn double chapbook.      $10.00

Release date 3/18

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