Fri Feb 11 11, Fillmore Café
A.D. Winans, 75, is a serendipitous poet. He found himself in North Beach in 1958 and fell in with Bob Kaufman and Jack Micheline, who remained lifelong friends and inspirations; he found himself writing, and never looked back. He has now published 52 books, the latest of which—Drowning Like LiPo in a River of Red Wine (Bottle of Smoke Press), is a beautiful limited collection of his life works—all the way through 2010. He is still putting out several small volumes a year; having just traveled 4 decades via this collection, I can attest that his writing is only becoming more lucid with the passage of time.
Winans also founded Second Coming Press and published many accomplished poets—including Bukowski—well before they were widely known. We spent a leisurely hour together over a cup of coffee, and to retain the flow of our conversation I have not doctored the syntax or altered our statements in any way. Part 2 of a 2-part conversation, this is published in conjunction with a profile @ SF Weekly, which you can read here. Read the first part here.
Evan Karp: I wanted to ask you a question about the demons in your head. I’m interested in where you think politics fit in poetry, especially in light of this idea.
A.D. Winans: Well I’ve written a lot of political poems. Because I felt deeply what I was writing about. But most political poetry I’ve read—a lot of it is just ranting. You know rants—it’s not really what I would call a cohesive poem. … I would say the most difficult poems to write are political and love poems. The Love – Zero book I did I’m quite proud of that book because it took a long time to write it after I broke up with a woman and, without even seeing the book—which you knew how evil she really was—she felt I was going to really slam her, and write this terrible book about her, and was writing friends of mine, publishers, threatening lawsuits about a book she hasn’t even seen, for Christ’s sake. So I waited five years and said “Now nobody’s going to identify you.” So five years. But it’s really like one epic poem, sort of different segments of the relationship, you know. And other than that I’d say I’m only pleased with about 3 love poems I’ve written, and people really like those poems. So I’m going to start reading them at readings.
EK: What are the names of those? Read the rest of this entry »