poems

Flashback: Article on poet Buck Downs in Washington City Paper

city paper - buck downsThat time my article on DC poet Buck Downs and his poetry postcard project appeared in Washington City Paper (June 26, 1998). You can read the full article here.

Buck has a distinctive style of gnomic, fragmented poems that hint at deeper mysteries and insights. Third party presses (Edge Books, Furniture Press) have brought out collections of his work, and he has self published chapbooks, on-demand books, and his postcards. I still get poems on postcards from Buck, always a great read.

At the time, I was still trying to establish myself as a freelance writer, and I was frustrated by the lack of coverage for really cool stuff going on around town. This was a window of opportunity, of course, and this article on Buck’s postcards was one of several pieces I managed to place in the weekly alternative rag. The editors typically shoved these pieces off in the “Artifacts” section, with word counts not exceeding 500 words. Nonetheless, these little articles served as some form of documentation that interesting stuff actually happened in DC.

Flashback: “Rusty Love” wins Fourth Place in World of Poetry contest

rusty-love-cert.jpg

That time my poem “Rusty Love” won Fourth Place in the World of Poetry contest. When I wrote this one, I deliberately tailored it for what I perceived WoP would like: something rhymed and sentimental. The title was cribbed directly from the name of an actual person–the property manager of the apartment complex where I lived in Winter Park, Florida. If I’m not mistaken, the real Rusty Love was retired, like most of my neighbors there, but she seemed pretty cool, driving a convertible and wearing youthful looking clothes. Her evocative name suggested the outrageous conceit that leads off the poem: “My love is like a rusty nail.”

Here is the whole piece in all its horrible glory:

Rusty Love

My love is like a rusty nail:
It is old but will not fail.
Tender is the tree, and I am wet;
Rain falls on me, but I won’t weaken yet;
We’ve years to go, and miles, more miles,
than can be counted on the branches of its head.
Quiet times, and times that break a smile;
Animal times, and times of flying fowl.
Quickening times, hears and times that part meanwhile.
I never doubt my love’s location;
She is in me, and I am her vocation.

As you can see, the opening analogy leads to an even weirder one, ad it spirals our of control for a while. I have no illusions about this award, either. Given World of Poetry’s modus operandi, I was probably one of about a thousand (or even more) “fourth place” winners.

This article has been delayed for months because I couldn’t track down a copy of “Rusty Love.” Finally, while going through a box of old postcards, photos, and junk, I found an index card with a pencil draft. It’s possible that I revised the piece when I typed it; the middle section, where there is no rhyme for “head” or “fowl” seems like something I might have fixed. Or I may have decided it was “good enough” for the purpose of competing in a World of Poetry poetry contest.

“A Bleeding Screen of Need” and two other poems published in Synchronized Chaos

Synch Chaos-bleedng 2020

Online poetry issue just released its first issue of 2020 on New Year’s Day, including a wide variety of work centered on the theme of “Co-evolution and Adaptation.” Three of my poems appear in this one: “A Bleeding Screen of Need,” “The Pieces Fail to Fit,” and “Salamander Tides.”

The editor wrote a nice introduction to the pieces, noting:  “In Jeff Bagato’s poetry, speakers resist oblivion in various ways: creating digital identities, building objects as a distraction, even lashing together sticks to form a raft in a rushing current.” You can read the poems here.

Four Gonch poems published in X-Peri

x-peri-gonch 12-23

X-Peri is an online blogozine for “high experimentalism,” which seems to mean really deep space language play judging by previous installments. I’m pleased to be part of it with the journal’s last post of the year, published yesterday, Dec 23. There are four poems written in “gonch” language, which means words composed from the letters of the phrase “all gonch”: “Chac Ghanagan Colhaggach Angacalla,” “Ocanongna,” “Anga Hagna Cagacna,” and “Nallanach Choc Hanol.” Plus one image from the Gonchlog made from letters drawn from some old issue of Rhapsody magazine. You can check it all out here.

“Contesting the Homeland” published in The Pedestal

pedestal 85

Online literary magazine The Pedestal just released its Issue 85 today, marking the journal’s 19th anniversary. This one features a selection of poetry and book reviews. My poem “Contesting the Homeland” is included, part of my series dealing with lost civilizations, along with a sound file of my reading of the piece. You can check it out here.

Contesting--pedestal 85

Two text pieces and five visual poems published in Avant Appal(achia)

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An online journal for experimental arts, Avant Appal(achia) just released Is(sue) #8 yesterday. It includes a video, poems, visual poetry, art and stories. I’m pleased to be included with two short text pieces from my series inspired by AI language invention, “Let’s Do This” and “Das Processor,” and five visual poems with asemic elements. You can check it all out on this page–until the next issue when everything will be replaced and a few pieces will be archived: https://www.avantappalachia.com/

Avant appalachia 8.png

“Gravy Pills,” one other text, and five asemic vispo published in Otoliths 55

otoliths 55 cover

Just released, Otoliths #55, the Southern Autumn 2019 issue, is jam packed as usual with fine text, vispo and hybrid experiments from across the international literary avant garde. I’m pleased to be represented with two new texts, “Gravy Pills” and “Phantom Gold,” plus five new visual poems with asemic writing. You can view them here.

asemic vispo-otoliths 55

The texts continue experiments with AI language poems, this time using vocabulary drawn from the magical thinking of the average American. The vispo are a small selection from a kind of diary of a extraplanetary colony world.

gravy pills-otoliths 55