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Bill Kushner

22 poets, 65 minutes of Bill Kushner's poems & good-humored presence last night at the Poetry Project. Kudos to Peter Bushyeager, Ed Foster, and Lewis Warsh for a lovely selected, Wake Me When It's Over.

An underrated poet: why? Because of his friendliness & modesty? Who has written anything better than "My Father's Death"?

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Do you have a band?

Entranced to get my hands on Daniel Kane's latest book about the intersection of punk & poetry. Our magazine KOFF ("a publication of the Consumptive Poets League") gets a write-up. Part of what entrances me is how much intention he finds in what we were doing, when we thought we were just having fun & épater la bourgeoisie.

We printed, what?, 50 copies? 100 tops. Who knew that almost 40 years later we would be considered "the punk magazine" (Eileen Myles) & worthy of scholarly research. That KOFF would exist at all beyond us occasionally remembering we published the first-ever poetry magazine with nude male centerfolds of poets. And not the only! Someone since us did a much more (MUCH MORE) tasteful & artistic calendar of beautiful young English poets in the Lake District.

Ahem, I've only read the chapter about us, but I can assure you the whole book is totally worth reading!
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Bill Kushner

Bill Kushner (1931–2015) was hilarious, loyal, loving, "an expert flirt" (Todd Colby) & most of all, a poet. A good poet. He was also, I think, happy, in the way of someone who feels like he got more than he ever expected.

The New Year's Day Marathon at the Poetry Project won't be the same without Bill sitting in the front row from the first reader till—well, way past my endurance point.

The best picture ever of Bill was the one we took for the 1979 KOFF calendar. "He was magnificent. The light fell onto him like cream onto porridge."

Bill has been part of my poetry world since I got to New York. I've known him well over half my life. I will miss him.  Read More 
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A long & honorable tradition

Thomas Chatterton (1752–70)
The tradition of fictional personae and false attribution goes back pretty much as far as writing has existed. There are Greek, Biblical, and classical works where the claimed author is not who really wrote it. Homer didn't write Homer, King David didn't write the psalms.

Some writers use pseudonyms: George Eliot, Mark Twain, and there are people who invent a whole separate person, an alter ego (Latin for "the other I"). In the literary world it's common: Chatterton attributed a series of poems to a 15th-century priest named Thomas Rowley; James Macpherson wrote the works supposedly composed by a 3rd century Scottish bard named Ossian (and incidentally  Read More 
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