Archives for category: Anna

Abe’s Penny’s Sarah Penello called Dave Landsberger on July 7th, 2011. He’s in Chicago. She’s in Brooklyn. She said of the interview, “I swear everything out of his mouth is a golden quote.”

Dave Landsberger during "Poetry Ferrari"

So I found out on the internet that you’re a Chicago native, and a self-proclaimed “Miamian” as well.  Where do you currently reside, and which city do you do you identify with most?

I was born and raised in Chicago, and I live there now. I went to Graduate School at FIU, and taught there for a while, so I lived in Miami for about three years, and moved back to Chicago after I finished.

It’s a bit of cop-out to say I relate very strongly to both! I identify very strongly with my Chicago roots, I feel it’s the most “American” of the big cities. And I’m way too into sports, which Chicago is as well.

But Miami has an oddness to it. I love the Miami, the different layers there. They have the power of the Ocean.

But when people talk to me about my work, mostly they relate to whichever part speaks to them most. Miamians tell me I don’t sound like someone who’s not from there.

Did you hear about Abe’s Penny through their exhibit at the O, Miami poetry festival?

I was in New York in March for a reading at at Tea Lounge in Park Slope. It was related to “Ballerz 2k10: Poems about the NBA,” a chapbook I worked on with Erik Bloch, Mike Stutzman, P. Scott Cunningham. It’s about basketball in general, but mostly about the players.

Scott Cunningham had worked on Abe’s Penny before, and contributed, so I did a reading with him. Anna and Tess came up to me afterwards.

They actually had a copy of Scott’s [issue], and they explained to me what Abe’s Penny was all about, and I was like “This is f***ing cool!”

During your time at FIU, you taught some classes, but also worked for the New Times, and alternative free paper which is a franchise of Village Voice Media. What is your favorite job out of: New Times Blogger, FIU Professor, Poet? Do you have any other jobs?

Right now I teach at Harper College, and that’s how I make my living. Being a poet is much better of course, but it doesn’t pay anything! It’s much more rewarding to spend an afternoon sitting down with a High Life and just writing for three hours. The best thing about being a poet is that you can wear all these different hats: comedian, historian, etc. The poet doesn’t have to specialize.

The reason I believe the poet has lost so much stature in pop culture and modern culture is that all of those different hats have been distributed to people who specialize. So yeah, being a poet is the best. But it’s kind of more a hobby at this point, than a job.

What are you reading now, and what is your favorite book of all time?

I just finished reading a book called Spaceman Blues, Brian Francis Slattery. It’s my favorite kind of fiction, which is extremely literary genre fiction. Really well written, whimsical and brilliant. My first love, even before poetry, is comic books. Right now I’m reading Akira, the very famous Manga. I’m still completely flabberghasted at how brilliant an illustrator and story-teller that Katsuhiro Otomo is.

I don’t actually really read too much poetry… What I’m working on right now is a chapbook of love poems, and so I’m reading Pablo Neruda’s 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair and I’ve been reading it for 14 months now.

But my favorite book of poems is called Actual Air, by David Berman, who is much more famous for being the singer of the band, the Silver Jews. He struggled with being a junkie, and is currently studying to become a rabbi. So I can honestly say that’s my favorite book of poems. He’s such a dynamo, he actually got his MFA first, but nobody was paying attention to him, so he was like, “I’m gonna start a rock band!” He came out with a book of cartoons like a year ago called the Portable February. I read it, it’s a little incoherent, but I hope he comes out with more work in the future.

How do you think that poetry fits into the “real” world these days?

Very poorly! And I honestly believe that is the fault of the poets. Yeah… poorly. It’s something that’s entirely necessary to humans, but the level of competition for people’s attention is something that poets never had to deal with before. Most poets are kind of quiet… But I do feel that it’s the responsibility of poets to get poetry out there in ways that people haven’t seen or heard before.

Writers have each others backs, and that’s GREAT, but it’s like… a bunch of kids sitting around in their parents basement playing Dungeons and Dragons. Nobody wants to hear their stories.

A lot of poets are like, University Poets. And now, I think poets need to get out there, and start doing poetry in new ways. I’d love to see poetry on TV. I know it’s on the internet but everything’s on the internet.

I think it’d be really great to create some kind of poetry performance art, something that’s not just Museum and Gallery members sitting around sipping wine. Why shouldn’t poetry just be out there? Why is it always just in books and journals that you have to pay for?

If you’re just writing poetry for people with literature degrees, that’s fine, but it becomes a class issue at that point.

I want to keep reinforcing that in poetry, there is room for everybody. Not to discourage the MFA poets and the literature degree poets from continuing to do that, but I think that the poets who have the capacity to do other things need to get out there and do that. and bring their poetry to others in new ways.

She looks young. She’s loud on the phone:

“Then they asked us, “What do you aspire to be?” Everyone’s answering, “Doctor, lawyer.” Here comes me: “I wanna be a Sex Therapist and a Fashion Stylist.” I worked at Victoria’s Secret before. These other people never even had jobs.”

In an article in the Wall Street Journal by David Shiflett, “While My Son Serves“:

“. . . camel spiders . . . can grow to the size of your hand, hiss loudly, and sometimes charge in packs.

Still on the hunt for that special something for your favorite patriot? Look no further than Abe’s Penny magazine! Longtime subscriber, Uncle Sam, was just tweeting today:

“Celebrate independence w/ a subscription 2 Abe’s Penny 4 ur friends. Even named after Honest Abe, for gosh sakes!”

Fall Line Press, a photobook publishing and reading library at the Brickworks: 1000 Marietta St., Suite 112, in Atlanta.

Book launch and signing for Free Fall – 01.Noel.01 featuring Atlanta-based photographer Laura Noel on Thursday, June 30th, from 6-9pm, at Fall Line.

A collaboration between photographers and artists William Boling and Michael David Murphy, Fall Line is committed to publishing the best of photography and writing in book form. Each generation of artists, photographers, writers and their audiences have turned to the book to communicate and explore their world and ideas in extended forms and complex statements. Fall Line is devoted to working closely with contemporary artists, photographers and writers to produce works in books and editions that connect with these times and our community to move ahead the conversations that shape how we think and feel.

William Boling, Publisher
Michael David Murphy, Editor

Fall Line Launch & Signing
Thursday, June 30th
Brickworks, 1000 Marietta St., Suite 112
Atlanta, GA 30318

Last week we asked subscribers to Abe’s Penny’s newsletter to tell us their favorite J&L book. Congratulations to Laura Glazer, our winner! She receives a copy of Abe’s Penny’s next issue, featuring Jason Fulford and Adam Gilders, and a copy of Corin Hewitt’s Weavings. 

“Success is only a matter of statistics . . . failure only means you haven’t thrown yourself, face-first, against the brick wall of probability enough times.” Alina, repeating her father’s wise words in a recent WSJ article

6/14/2011, Alexander Book Company, 50 2nd St, San Francisco, 12:30 pm

6/15/2011, The Record Room, Portland, Oregon

6/16/2011, Los Angeles Public Library ALOUD series, In conversation with Eric J.     Lawrence, KCRW DJ and Music Librarian, 7 pm

6/20/2011, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

6/21/2011, Space Gallery, Portland, ME

7/14/2011, Brooklyn Winery, Girls Who Write benefit, Brooklyn, NY w/Deb Olin  Unferth, Jami Attenberg, Maud Newton, and Kio Stark

8/18/2011, McCarren Park, 3 Minute Story: Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll, Brooklyn, NY

9/17/2011, The Book Mill, Montague, MA with Jedediah Berry. 8 pm.

Alina’s Abe’s Penny issue with Spencer Tunick

View Alina Simone and Spencer Tunick's Abe's Penny issue #3.3.

*Limited edition vinyls of Alina Simone's new album, "Make Your Own Danger", 
with cover art by Vladimir Zimakov, and limited edition poster prints of Spencer 
Tunick's Abe's Penny series are on sale at:

End of Century, 175 Rivington St, NYC. (646) 602-9556

June 4, 2011:

We celebrated Abe’s Penny’s May issue (#3.3) with Spencer Tunick and Alina Simone at End of Century. Alina performed three songs including her song from Abe’s Penny, “Lost”, inspired by Spencer’s photographs. Guests enjoyed chamomile infused Satisfaction Vodka cocktails and Bear Flag wine and took home poster prints of Spencer’s Abe’s Penny series.

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Photos by Spencer Dennis


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