tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > Bombay Gin 1994

Bombay Gin 1994 by M. Regan
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bookshelves: art, poetry

Bombay Gin is the literary magazine of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics founded by Allen Ginsberg & Anne Waldman in 1974. If there was an issue published every yr starting in 1974 this wd be the 21st issue. Instead it's marked "Volume II Number 4". I have no idea what that means. This is the earliest issue I have & the 2nd one I've read. the 1st issue I read, Vol, 36, No. 1, was much more exciting to me. Nonetheless, I'm very interested in reading all 16 of the Bombay Gins that I have & am very thankful to the current Managing Editor, Amy Catanzano, for giving them to me.

SO, given that Ginsberg & Waldman are both "poethical" poets, poets w/ a strong sense of the pursuit of justice thru their work, it's no surprise that Bombay Gin has a more self-expressive bent to it than a formal one. As such, even though I don't think these things are mutually exclusive, there's no visual poetry, sound poetry, concrete poetry, or language writing in this issue. This makes, for me, for a bit of blandness at times. Understand, though, that this is just my personal bias.

All in all, my reaction to this particular issue on a personal level is somewhat conflicted. In 1994 I moved away from my city of birth, Baltimore, to live in Berlin, then Canada, then to Buffalo in 1995, &, more substantially, to Pittsburgh in 1996. As such, I think of 1994 as a yr of tumultuous change. Contrarily, this issue of Bombay Gin seems almost 'old-fashioned' despite the presence of an astounding multitude of radical thinkers.

There's Peter Lamborn Wilson, bell hooks, Waldman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jerome Rothenberg, Diane di Prima, Ginsberg, etc.. Perhaps Le Guin's poem typifies it for me. I have the greatest respect for Le Guin as a SF writer but when it comes to poetry she seems to've just rested & produced something of little or no inspiration:

Bale's Mill in the Napa Valley

Everything was always
grist to my mill.

the high redwood wheel
groaning and turning in the splash and spray
of water shooting from the sluice,
the slow gears
unlocked, the two stones

[etc..:]

In other words a simple descriptive poem of little or no inspiration. Actually, on 2nd thought, Le Guin's poem DOESN'T typify this issue - it represents some of the 'worst' of it. Alas, though, the overall feel of this, for me, is of aging 'hippies' complacent & stuck in the mud. Even Ginsberg's angry "C'mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat More Grease" seems a bit futile & self-delusional considering that I don't think he was a particularly skinny fellow either by this point.

HOWEVER, what the fuck, Bombay Gin at its 'worst' is way 'better' than most things in this society IMO. Take, eg, Lee Christopher's "Lust After Fifty" in wch the pursuit of sex post-marriage is outlined 'confessional'-style. Or the references to Australian Aboriginals, or to Sappho, or to Kuwait, or whatever. There's plenty in this issue to keep any alert person interested - even if they're novelty sluts like myself forever in search of new forms.

All in all, I agree w/ the socio-political viewpoints presented here. What I don't agree w/ is the what seems to me somewhat 'conservative' notion that such politics are best presented in simple-minded formulas. I'd still recommend this to people interested in the history & development of poetry thru small magazines.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 28, 2010 – Finished Reading
July 29, 2010 – Shelved
July 29, 2010 – Shelved as: art
July 29, 2010 – Shelved as: poetry

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