Archive for March, 2011

April is online – meet György Faludy

March 31, 2011

We’re online before the end of the month this time, because your editor will be heading off for a short seaside holiday on the first of April.

The cover portraits are of  Rimbaud and Faludy. I suspect that the former is the more familiar to most Anglophone poetry readers, but Faludy really is a man worth knowing.

One of the features of Snakeskin over the past few years that I’m most pleased with is the series of translations from the Hungarian by Thomas Land, introducing poets unknown to most of us. Of these, faludy must be a star turn. I have recently been reading  the translation of  his 1962 autobiography, My Happy Days in Hell, published in Penguin Modern Classics, and thoroughly deserving its place there.

My Happy Days in Hell

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March 30, 2011

Those excellent people at Lulu Press are currently holding a sale, offering 20% off all titles.
There has never been a better time to buy my two books, (which are actually very reasonably priced at any time).
They are:
An Essay on Rhyme

(a very varied mixture of all kinds of poem) and


(a selection of comic poems, parodies, collaborative pieces and songs).
When you get to the Lulu checkout, just enter the coupon code SPLISH305 for a genuine bargain.

Abilene and Points East

March 30, 2011

I’ve been away, so there are a couple of Bentzman bulletins to catch up on:

I’ve done most of the driving. Ms Keogh doesn’t like to drive as much as I do. She especially doesn’t like the twisty bends through mountains or driving at night when her vision is compromised. For most of our trip she has been the nagivator [sic]. On the straight highways across plains, I grow numb, begin yawning, and when I yawn tears fog my vision, so Ms Keogh drives. This give me a chance to nap or take notes, although it is very hard to take legible notes. But here are some:

[15 miles west of Deming]
<> Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman returns

March 28, 2011

Bruce is heading homewards. He writes:

We left Oakland on Saturday and drove south. Ms Keogh could not bear another cold, wet day, which seems to be what we would have encountered if went to Seattle, then took a northern route home. We went south instead, but we did try for a different southerly route.

575 miles later, we found ourselves in Needles, California again. We had stopped there on the way west for lunch and now it was on our way east. The waitress at Denny’s who had served us lunch the last time was there to serve us a late dinner this time, and she remembered us. I’m not surprised. I had asked her many questions about the community and her life. She appeared thrilled to have us again and we asked more questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Bruce Bentzman and the scruffy men

March 23, 2011

Bruce continues heading West:

Scruffy men roam the streets of Santa Fe. You see them walking into town, or leaving, on the highways. They appear lean and tough, toting perhaps all their worldly belongings (are there any other kinds of belongings?) in oversized, stained duffle bags or backpacks. Bearded and dark-eyed, their hair long and shiny, I think of them as mountain men walking into town to restock. I was expecting them to be leading mules, although I saw no mules. Santa Fe tolerated them.

The scruffy men occupied the the street corners and I never saw them molested by the authorities, and I’ve been told they don’t molest the public, not even to panhandle. Santa Fe is so decent. Read the rest of this entry »

Bruce in Santa Fe, haggling

March 22, 2011

Bruce continues:

We must backtrack to Santa Fe to finish the story of the Native American who sold Ms Keogh earrings, with whom I haggled over the cell phone and did succeed in having the price reduced.

When Honda completed the brake job and I was able to rejoin Ms Keogh, she introduced me to the woman who sold her the earrings. She was part of a group of Native American sellers who sat beneath the veranda of the Governor’s Palace with their wares set out on blankets. Upon being introduced, this Native woman claimed I was the first Jew she ever met. Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman hits L.A. and is impressed by the plumbing

March 20, 2011

Bruce wrote a postcard to friends living in Manhattan:

We have made it. This afternoon I finally saw the Pacific Ocean from The Getty Center. At first I could not be sure if I was viewing the Pacific or a bay. There was a haze that erased the distance and I thought the shadows might have been the far shore. Came the late afternoon, I could see more clearly here was a plain of water extending to the horizon.

He adds: Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman in New Mexico

March 17, 2011

The journey continues:

We have reached Santa Fe where our friend Skip has opened his house to us. Skip is a retired professor of Psychology. All the houses area adobe in appearance and melt into the landscape. Skip’s home is no different. The homes dot the mountainside and are surround by scrub and dirt. His home, which is typical, has no attic or basement, the high ceilings are held up by timber beams that give confidence. Skip has made much of his furniture of wood scraps. His rough, hardy tables are massive and comfortable. Ms Keogh asked if she needed a coaster for her mug of tea and Skip replied, “are you kidding? If I really don’t like the stain I can sand it down.” We’ve been with Skip since yesterday and despite all the subjects broached we have not been able to find a difference of opinion we could have fun arguing.

Santa Fe is a different kind of tourist center than Santa Rosa. The merchandise here has an exceptional quality and sincerity. At the historic center it is clean and alive, so very different than Tucumcari. Ms Keogh is texting me about the fantastic lunch she’s consuming, teasing me with pictures. I’m stuck at the Honda dealership on the edge of town getting an oil change and my rear brakes pads replaced. Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman in Texas

March 15, 2011

Bruce heads into John Wayne country:

Cruising along Interstate 40 west of Oklahoma City, I saw my first longhorn. They really do have long horns, so long as to appear awkward and clownish.

I didn’t notice any obvious demarcation like a river to announce we were entering a different state, leaving Oklahoma and entering Texas. The pavement changed beneath the wheels, that was about it. But other changes soon became manifest. Fields of grass gave way to scrub. The land appeared dryer and less hospitable. A sharp eye found abandoned homes and shelters collapsing because of neglect, clapboard and brick structures both long out of use. Ms Keogh’s impression of Texas is that it is rusty, dilapidated, and abandoned, but that was likely just the part of Texas we passed through. Several times I saw stables where horses were standing in small muddy enclosures, just standing and staring at nothing, looking sullen. Can horse be sullen? I know next to nothing about horses. The horses had been roaming grassy hills in Oklahoma, mostly eating, but at least in motion. I don’t think they like horses in Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman Goes West

March 14, 2011

Bruce writes:

I woke from my nap to see we were passing a field in which the cattle were standing like statues, so I figured we were in Oklahoma. Ms Keogh said, no, not yet. We were still in Arkansas. But a moment later we crossed a ridge and before us were the Ozarks.

It is difficult to write in the car, being hard to keep my hand steady. I have pulled out my laptop to compose this. Soon it will be my turn to drive again. Ms Keogh does not like to drive at night and she doesn’t like to drive in the mountains, although the Ozarks don’t look like much in the way of mountains.

From Monticello, Virginia, we drove to Greensboro, North Carolina to fulfill a specific mission. We were to find the Community Book Shop and tell its proprietor that there were people who loved him. Al Brilliant has a long history in books, selling, publishing, and writing them. Now in his retirement, he pedals a bike to his own bookstore which doesn’t open until noon, which meant we had to wait until noon to deliver our message. Read the rest of this entry »