Monday, August 4, 2008

Immediate Empire an Intimate Collaboration

I got an email from Catherine Daly of I.E. Press, my publisher, that the new book that I authored with Waltraud Haas is coming out. This is very exciting but the process of creating this book was interesting and at time very tough in an intimate way.

Most poets are lone wolves. They create alone and they process alone and they work alone. Immediate Empire is a collaboration. Waltraud Haas is my wife and life partner but we have not collaborated before artistically except on book covers so working on this together was an experience because Waltraud is also a solitary in her art so where the nexus occured makes the book all that more intimate and for me as a poet interesting.

I wrote Immediate Empire from 2003-2005 and it is based around some themes. One of those is Leni Reifenstahl and Fascist collaboration. I have always found Fascist/Nazi intellectuals fascinating. Heidegger, Celine, Marinetti, Pound, Nolde and Reifenstahl were artists of the highest order and unlike most of their friends and colleagues they chose to believe in Fascism or Nazism. What possessed these keen intellects to believe these evils? Normally intellectuals who believe in Marxism get a free pass (Which is Unfortunate since Marxism is simply a different form of Totalitarianism and is equally murderous) but those who believed in Fascism become pariahs. I am fascinated however in the parallels to Fascism and Nazism that exist today in our world and how ready we are to believe the big lie.

Immediate Empire in its poetry is about this- but the visual art is something else. Waltraud chose to create a series of paintings called Origens. These are not synthetic works like my poems but organic works. The paintings come from Traudi's sense of art as sucher rather than razorblade. It was quite a challenge to fuse these two things into one and I proud we could do it in many ways it is a homage to our whole relationship over the past 12 years.

Traudi's paintings are really something and we are hoping to find a gallery here in Chicago to be able to bring Immediate Empire alive with poetry and art in one spot.

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