Wednesday, August 1, 2007


@ 7:30 PM

Peter Culley lives south of Nanaimo BC & has written several books of poetry including: The Climax Forest, Hammertown and the forthcoming Age of Briggs & Stratton. His writings on art have appeared in numerous publications. Check out his blog.

For a sample poem, see below: “A Poem for the Seattle Poets.”

Joseph Donahue currently teaches at Duke University. Born in Texas, raised in Massachusetts, this ex-New Yorker and part-time Seattleite is the author of many books: Before Creation, Monitions of the Approach, Incidental Eclipse, World Well Broken, Terra Lucida, and In This Paradise. His poems have appeared most recently in Hambone, Talisman, First Intensity, Fence, LVNG, Canary, and Fascicle.

For a sample poem: “A SERVANT OF GOD WITHOUT A HEAD V” – at Verse.


Peter Culley’s A Poem for the Seattle Poets

Blue from Player’s Plain
Pharoah & Coltrane
hopped-up hummingbirds
raging on raw honey, oysters &
barnacle-scraping soul-encounters
buzz the pre-dawn Lynnwood rain.

Blue from Winslow Homer
or someone with no home to go to
he wet his finger west
& traces out the weather week
his weakest hunch a sheriff’s gut
thrust out for the informer.

Blue Six’s “Music & Wine”
was a song we heard all the time
before the macrobiotic encounter
split the silver monitor—the crashing
symptoms came complete
with waves of “Om” on yellow gull feet.

Blue moon’s a passenger with no ID
& nothing solid in the dictionary
no per diem, no booking fee,
no very convincing reason to be
alone in swollen solidarity with
the puffer, the skink & the manatee.


Abbra said...

Thanks for writing this.

Anonymous said...

Robert Mittenthal's intro to this reading:

Peter Culley lives South Wellington near Nanaimo BC & has written several books of poetry including: The Climax Forest, Hammertown and the forthcoming Age of Briggs & Stratton (aka Hammertown book 2). This newest book a focus on the milieu of the 2 cycle gas engine mastered by the lawn mower and leaf blower conglomerate: Briggs & Stratton.

His writings on art have appeared in numerous publications. Peter may have already hit the cycle of Canadian ABC grants for his art prose.

His blog is named for Hawthorne book's and it's no coincidence that it's full of trees -- new growth in the clearcut. There's lots of life there.

Hammertown is named for a reference to "a fishing port on Vancouver Island" in George Perec’s Life A User Manual. It's become the launching pad for what might be a lifetime in the puzzle picture -- a place where landscapes and culture can be freely described or re-mixed -- and/or reassembled.

Peter made a big impression on me when we first met after a reading in the mid 80s, in Jeff Derksen's kitchen -- listening to Funkadelic's One Nation Under A Groove and talking about interesting novels, including Perec.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that the title of Peter’s early chapbook (Fruit Dots) referred to CANDIES -- of the gods -- presumably to be consumed while watching spectacular images. But it was as if he had tuned into the nature channel and the Rockford Files.

That is, my confusion was that these "Fruit Dots" were literally the fruits of nature. But Hammertown poems are more relaxed and comic.

From Fruit Dots:
Prostrate among the rocks
rise the firm
graceful crowns: conspicuously marginal
fruit-dots, caudex covered by the bases—apex and the tips
of its pinnules, plumes
of departing summer
of the greenhouse.

Consistent in a way with Perec's Life A Users Manual - Peter's poems -- like the chapters in A Users Manual -- are discrete rooms. Each room revealed to us as a world unto itself. There are discontinuities at every threshold. Each room in some fundamental way is unknowable to all other rooms, but all rooms or chapters are singularly composed, full of intent. They are divided but in time relations between poems/chapters begin to reveal a more complex organism – the building as a whole.

Peter's poems cross landscapes with culture. Information is puzzled out thru the ear where he has somehow unhooked -- to see.