Mar 082016

A speech for national poetry month about BLAST PRESS.

by Gregg Glory

Ab li dolen in l’air [look up: beauty falls from the air]

“A book should be a ball of light in your hands.” — Ezra Pound

As we all know, April is “International Guitar Month.” But my heart twangs for poetry, and I was invited here to tell you a little bit about a tiny poetry publishing company called BLAST PRESS.

Let’s start with what BLAST PRESS is not. BLAST PRESS is not a community. It is not a community-building venture. It is not by, about, or for “the people.” Unlike the pretentious magazine anthologies that weigh down the shelves and slander the individual by gluing him into some historian’s scripted story, BLAST PRESS is not a collection of individual voices expressing the vibrancy, meaning, and tradition of the creative community–nor of any community. In this respect, BLAST PRESS, as its critics have bitterly asserted, is nothing at all.

BLAST PRESS has published over 100 chapbooks by some twenty authors over the past two decades. Each author’s work stands singularly alone and apart. BLAST PRESS does not take part in the mish-mosh of the magazine market, where a hundred tentative voices are corralled by brute binding into an ersatz herd. We go alone, each of us, to where the crocs swim alertly in the bulrushes and the nights are long. Meet me in Botswana, if you will meet with me at all.

What is a chapbook? A chapbook is a saddle-stapled booklet of plain paper stock folded in half with a sheet of colored card stock for a cover. In the first decade, booklets would be stapled together by hand, each staple closed with a bloody fingertip to save the two-cent per staple cost. All small publishers are unified in this regard: we are exceedingly cheap.

In the next few minutes, for a brief moment, we will hear the voices of some poets that have been published by BLAST PRESS. Their words have been put into chapbooks with a BLAST PRESS logo on the back, and my current address somewhere inside the front flap. Words torn from the air and swatted into print. That is all. But, that is everything.

Jun 242012

My new project is to illustrate and notate my old “Rehearsing Repetitions on the Rappahannock.” This is a book I adore, and which no one else really cares for too much–like “The Departed Friend,” which was about my feelings of loss when Jeff Moller stopped being my buddy. I did eventually send a copy to his last known address, but he returned it unopened, just like the Weird Al Yankovich tickets I had sent a few years earlier. It is difficult not to reach the conclusion that it is oneself who is the toxin in such relationships. But I believe that I am not, even so.

I think I am a giving, and even generous, friend. And I see the beauty in beings who are in need, and extend myself, perhaps uninvited, into their world. It is this quality of “uninvited,” I believe, that eventually wears thin. When the subject of my interest and affections grows strong with genuine self-worth (perhaps partly, I egotistically state, from contact with my unflagging approbation of their being), they look back with disapproval at who they so recently were, and exile or dismiss that past. I, as an associate of that past (and an approving and loving associate at that), must be exiled as well. To continue in friendship with me is to acknowledge a continuity between their own old bad self and their current stronger, healthier self.

“Whatever gets you through the night,” is a song that comes to mind. If what gets you there is base betrayal of loyal friendship, well, that is preferable to death–or the death of one’s self-concept (self-conceit?) in any case. Or so, at least, I believe, wanting to forgive rather than forget my old friends and those dear to me who have “moved on.” Even as I sit here, fingers lightly aligned on their home keys, rancorous and angry.

Sep 262011

It is almost the ides of Octoberfest, and my mind is turning toward the furious fun of NaNoWriMo, National Novel-Writing Month, which is actually in November. But for some reason this year I just can’t wait. Last time out of the gate, I got down “The Singing Well,” a Young Adult coming-of-age novel that surprised me and still holds up pretty dran well. It’s available for purchase on CreateSpace. Read about it here.

I don’t have a title for the new one, which I just started a few hours ago, but I’ll be posting to it daily as “30 Days” in the Novellas section of

Off we go! The tale commences here.

Aug 182011

I’ve got the last nail in two new books: “Evil Interludes,” a compelling, fast-paced novel about a poet, Charles Baudelaire, author of the impeccable and fascinating “Flowers of Evil.”. I’ll post the titles of some good books about Baudelaire, many of which I mined for inspiration, along with my visit to an absinthe bar in San Francisco. The other book is a Cali travel journal interspersed with many prose poems called “Sipping Beer in the Shadow of God.” A big part of the journey for me was to see Yosemite again, and to attempt to get down some of the feelings that the place inspires. I have only scratched the surface with my nib.

My next project is a contemporary novel set in the New Jersey beach area around Long Branch and Asbury Park. I am avidly collecting lively anecdotes. Please share some in the comments, or by email. Thanks in advance.