Friday, July 20, 2018


(great weather for MEDIA, New York, 2018)

In where night and day become one: the french poems/a selection, Steve Dalachinsky riffs on Paris, Versailles, Giverny, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Chartres, Brittany, Normandy, Marseille & Aix en Provence, but mainly he riffs on Paris ― sewers, clouds, museums, hotels, cafés, poets, painters, cemeteries and le metro interlacing waves of darkness & light &

it is MUSIQUE   it all is

Dalachinsky’s compositions, written as homages to his ever faithful muse ― the capitale infâme ― let the alphabet improvise off of cords & out of thin air.  Starting with or without a melody in the dark, smoky jazz club of his mind, the mystery of Paris ― le narcissus noir ― opens, classically and free.  

In this marvelous city of graves, to which Dalachinsky returns & returns, there is a lot of time to spend
playing                 with the dead like
                           playing                 with the dead like
                           listening to the dead like
                           looking at the dead & watching the dead
                                                      & seeing the dead….

Gratefully!  In Père Lachaise, with its sheer number of mildewed head stones & markers, he thanks his partner “for buying the map” ― so crucial to the location of Richard Wright’s interred ashes, where the poet places a paper flower before moving on to Proust, Molière, Fountaine, oscar gone wild(e), all day, Ernst, Modigliani, Delacroix, Morrison & Chopin.  worshipping the dead & finding them alive    with no regrets…(a veiled reference to Piaf, perhaps, at the end of the map, in the new section, showered with fresh flowers, the most beloved?)

Dalachinsky’s Paris, is a liminal place ― neither real nor surreal, dreamed or conscious reverie, experienced or imagined, day or night.  It’s haunted by the achievements of those who’ve gone before, personal memory, & happy, tired & reflective in the present.  It’s a vision behind his eyes, blown out of a jazz horn or vibrating on the strings of a stand up base ―a mumuration of swallows over Montmartre & Montparnasse, divining the of sacred heart of Charles Mingus.

it is MUSIQUE.
Dalachinsky was born just after WWII, in Brooklyn, with his eyes on Manhattan ― Île des artistes, a replacement for Paris for creatives in the second half of the 20th c.  As a young man, he set up home downtown, where he still resides. He became a poet, as heavily influenced by Ginsberg, Corso & Ted Joans as he was by Parker, Mingus and Coleman.  He became a Francophile, in quest of the soul of a glorious and syphilitic past & the Five Spot in some small club   on some back street.    Did he ever find
them?  where night and day become one implies that the quest is never-ending.  But quest the poet must, with notebooks filled with doodles (some reproduced here) and scribblings that run all over the page.  Words, with minds of their own, play games, and contemplate more than the immediate environs of “Sq. Georges Cain” or the taste of wine in a lover’s mouth.  The words, racing over the page, contemplate the big things:  LOVE, DEATH, LINQUISTICS, PHYSICS, PROCESS, POETRY, PHOTOGRAPY, ASTRONOMY, & EXILE.  The words also spell out table cloths, trees, window views, flowered dresses, unfulfilled desire, weather, fountains, Spanish dancers, dead zoos, stalled clouds, stars in small black boxes & “The Birds of Marseille.”

This is free jazz & “bop prosody” in the city of Bresson and Soupault’s Champs Magnetique.  It’s Paris in the key of pigeon shit and Corot skies, a layered patisserie of “Trust Fund Babies,” Trial & Error,” “Phenomena of Interference” & and “The Veiled Doorway,” sprinkled with the fine confectioner’s sugar of “The Mysteries of Paris.”  No wonder Dalachinsky was honored with a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.  WOW!  May the poems keep and wailing & grooving ― always best with an underlying cord progression.

Kudos too to editor Jane Ormerod, who improvises with font the way Dalachinsky improvises with language & who gives where night and day become one the design it deserves.



Janet Hamill is a “neo-Surrealist” poet and fiction writer whose work has been compared to Baudelaire, Breton, Neruda & Rimbaud.  Like Rimbaud, she can express a “more-than-human intensity and transcendence of limits” by working “the borderland between rationality and dreaming,” the mundane and the sublime.  Her work is characterized by its strange and wonderful imagery and its oneiric qualities.  She is the author of seven previous collections of poetry and short fiction ― Knock, Tales from the Eternal Café, Body of Water, Lost Ceilings, Nostalgia of the Infinite, The Temple & Troublante.  In collaboration with the bands Moving Star and Lost Ceilings she has released the CDs Flying Nowhere and Genie of the Alphabet.  Her work has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and The Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Prize.  Tales from the Eternal Café was named one of the “Best Books of 2014” by Publishers Weekly.  Hamill is presently director of the series Megaphone Literary Arts, at the Seligmann Center in Sugar Loaf, NY.