Categories
GIF

A gazillion new GIFs

A new push on my end has resulted in a flurry of fun-filled GIF images. Still moving. Still defunct as a format. These are great time consumers, capable of creatively getting me into the body of the footage I record. This is the artful way that screams in joy and terror at once.

As per the GIFs page, here are the latest offerings:

Manzanita Fire

Manzanita Sunset

Seaside Storm

Seahurst Park

I was able to churn these out quickly and enjoyably. I have a lot of footage with a new lens that will be posted soon, as well.

Stay liquid.

Categories
Images

South Fork of the Snoqualmie

Categories
My Poetry My Publications

A Book! Of Spray and Mist

Of Spray and Mist Cover

Of Spray and Mist is here.

After nearly two years of work on a single manuscript, Hand to Mouth Books in Walla Walla, Washington has published Of Spray and Mist. At 122 pages, this full-length book features several sequences of poetry, including work first written on San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor Lab’s Whiteley Center last December. You can read more below (or skip over to the Goodreads page).

The bio note.

Greg Bem is a poet, multimedia artist, and academic librarian living on a ridge above a tunnel above a lake in Seattle, Washington. His reviews have been featured in Rain Taxi, North of Oxford, and Poetry Northwest. He is the author of the chapbooks Green Axis (2019), Construction Parts 1-6 (2018), and Mountains and Natural Summer (2017), as well as the co-author with Burmese poet Maung Day of 2019’s bilingual Like salt. Like a spine. Recent writing has been featured in Ravenna Press’s Triples 11 alongside the work of Kat Meads, Samuel Ace, and Maureen Seaton.

To acquire a copy from me:

Interested in ordering a copy? The cost is $12 + $3 for shipping via PayPal. Email me if you have questions.


Of Spray and Mist



Or acquire a copy from Amazon:

Of Spray and Mist is also available on-demand via Amazon. You can get a slightly lower-quality edition, here.

Words from peers:

Sarah Heady, author of Comfort:

Here is a poet’s deep engagement with landscape, a refusal to look away from the ugly histories contained therein. With an anticolonial stance that rejects extractivist economies, Bem notes: “You need sand for concrete. You need stolen land. / You need language that has been hollowed out and hallowed.” Courting negative capability on his “ritual hike[s],” Bem seeks “an active emptiness” that gives rise to “elaborate, explosive knowing”: of place, of deep time. Declaiming “My questions are purely Anthropocene,” puzzling over how to be in right human relationship, Bem pursues “movement everywhere and always, until there’s nothing left to be but absent.”

 

Yet as lover to the forests, Bem experiences a “whiplash of sudden ecstasy, thrown neck toward canopy.” In attempting intimacy and even eroticism (“I want my tongue to enter the crevices of the ferns”) with Earth, others, and self, he weaves his own interiority with local ecology, reckoning with solitude, partnership, and community, filled with “longing to be ready for what you bring me.” And, finding grace in the natural world, he observes “[t]hat which continues to flow continues to forgive.” With Bem as our guide, “[w]e seek to know why it all works the way it does. Why it all works out.” Luckily, as we know of poetry, “It is enough. It is the surrendering.” This book labors—and rests—in hope, curiosity, detachment, and “[s]udden, implosive joy.” It is a burst of bright aliveness, “everything in chromatic everything.”

Paul E Nelson, Founder of SPLAB, the Seattle Poetics LAB, and author of A Time Before Slaughter: Pig War & Other Songs of Cascadia:

When I read Greg Bem’s work, the visionary & the wild are activated in me. There’s a hunger for experience balanced with the kind of presence and intellect you’d find in a librarian. A post-colonialist & anti-racist often found on a mountain in Cascadia, or a rainforest when not in a library, Greg Bem is a 21st Century North American poet, living in the margins left for white men who choose to use their privilege to confront their own fear in an age when so much is breaking down. He knows the answers are in rituals and in the “urges of flora and fauna” and his writing’s a report of the evolution of his own personal mythology getting us, “closer and closer to the decontextualized core” of his self and our species. Reading his work validates the desire to allow “the world to continue sliding by in the fullest spectrum it can” when almost all contemporary poetry settles for so much less.

Thomas Walton, author of All the Useless Things Are Mine:

Greg Bem’s prose poems are shocking – an “auburn stability hypnogogic inciting the spurred.” They whisper or cry “I am chanting. I am chanting for it to continue.” They “wander until it hurts,” and we wander along with them, mesmerized by a collection vast and particular, systemic and lyric, that dives “into the artful spin and whisk of that which does dazzle.”

Chansonette Buck, recipient of the Stronach Poetry Prize:

In “Defining the Map,” the second poem in this masterful collection, Greg Bem writes “Science comes to me in joys.” This joy permeates the book. Bem’s poetic impulse can be accurately located in the tradition of nature poetry one strain of British Romanticism established, expressing the imminence of the Divine in the manifest world. But for Bem, this imminence is far more complex, and human rather than transcendent. It is rooted not just in the beauty and dazzle of the wilderness he encounters and shows us so palpably, but also in the minutae, rigor, and dailiness of scientific study at a moment when it is alarmingly clear how tenuous and precarious our cohabitation on this planet is. Rather than finding in nature the answers for humanity, he finds questions. And these questions span the gamut of the human experience. Nothing is left out. It’s as if Bem were gathering up the precious content of lived experience in all is permutations: joy, love, beauty, yes, but also the disasters of history, broken hearts, lost connections, longing for some kind of wholeness to be called home, longing for a map when all maps have flaws that fail us. He inspects it all with the precision of a scientist, and the heart and eye of a nature poet, and serves it up to us in an astonishing range of poetic vehicles. Do not miss this book. It will make you more human. It will make you more conscious. And it will open for you a cosmology you wouldn’t otherwise encounter.

John Taylor, author of Remembrance of Water & Twenty-Five Trees:

“Seeking”—this is the movement of these intricate poems and poetic prose pieces. The very process of writing enables Greg Bem to set out on a goal, often that of elucidation. The natural world often seems at an increasingly greater remove from him—and from us. “Remember when we looked around the world?” he asks. Can the separation be bridged? Despite the increasing cognitive and technological distance between man and the cosmos in its most rudimentary manifestations, the poet does look. “The sensory” can be “flashed with wonder” and he feels “an undying love for being alive.” Yet there are also traces of darker narratives in this book, on levels involving others and one’s existence in the whole of things. Bem not only actively, but also “agonizingly” stands in wonder at and attraction to such richly tense moments of memory and perception. They unveil our human condition. In Of Spray and Mist, the reader will discover a poet intensely aware of the “uncertainty” involved in any composition of words: “I have covered myself in fog. And cliff. / “My vision dims. My hearing rings.”

Categories
Book Reviews

My First Review in Poetry Northwest! Shin Yu Pai’s Ensō

After long wait, I’m pleased to announce a review of the stellar Ensō by Seattle-based Shin Yu Pai. This writ arrived out of a flash of creative exchanges between Shin Yu and me quite some time ago. It feels like quite a while ago at this point (all Pre-Covid), making this publication feel even more celebratory. Read the review of the unique book here.

Categories
Book Reviews

A New Review in North of Oxford: Riven by Catherine Owen

My review of Catherine Owen’s extraordinary Riven is now up in North of Oxford.

Categories
Book Reviews

A New Review in Rain Taxi: Alisoun Sings by Caroline Bergvall

My latest review revisits the works of Caroline Bergvall by way of her latest book, Alisoun Sings. It’s available in the online edition of Rain Taxi.

Categories
Book Reviews Others Poetry Others Publications

A New Review of the the Latest by Thomas Walton and Douglas Miller

All the Useless Things Are Mine, featuring poetry by Thomas Walton and etchings/drawings by Douglas Miller, is an exquisite book, and I’m pleased that my review of it is now up at North of Oxford.

Categories
Domestic Travel My Poetry

Enchant

July 17, 2020

Lake Vivienne’s smile is marked by ancient voyeurs, whose minds don’t reflect such chromaticism.

Let us put our eyes to rest amidst wind scream and the hush of bush as it is clarified with memories of recent goat.

Categories
Music My Poetry My Publications

Bandcamp, an Album, three Sequences, and a Single

I never thought I’d post audio on Bandcamp, but it seems like a great way to share (for free) the audio projects I’ve been working on, and also get proceeds to donate to an organization of my choosing (in this case, the ACLU). For the last four months, under the banner of COVID-19, I’ve been working on an audio project that has finally come to fruition. While it is rough, while it is far from uniform, and while it demonstrates only a naive scope of knowledge of editing audio, shelter/isolation is here. It is a strange artifact, which includes spoken word and noisy, abstract renditions of field recordings from within my apartment. Bandcamp allows free streaming, which is fantastic. If folks are really interested in “owning” the album, that’s an option as well.

All in all, it’s the first step in what I hope will be an ongoing commitment to exploring the depths of audio production, particularly where field recordings and strange aural atsmopheres are concerned.

I invite you to listen to shelter/isolation, and the other “releases,” and let me know if you have any feedback. While I don’t plan on re-releasing this experimental project, I do look forward on refining my skills going forward.

Check out the Bandcamp page here.

The following are the covers for each of the releases, linked to the releases.

Categories
Book Reviews

A review of Black Case Volume I & II: Return From Exile by Joseph Jarman

I’ve recently reviewed Black Case Volume I & II: Return From Exile by the legendary Joseph Jarman. The review’s in Rain Taxi. Support them by buying a copy of their print edition.

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Uncategorized

A Review of The Elvis Machine by Kim Vodicka

My second review of Kim Vodicka’s poetry, after Psychic Privates, concerns her latest book: The Elvis Machine. Read the review at North of Oxford.

Categories
Domestic Travel Images

Little Black Rocks (Photos)

The Playa at the Black Rock Desert, Nevada.

Categories
My Poetry My Publications

Published Poetry at Ravenna Press

Thanks to Paul Nelson, I participated in the August Poetry Postcard Festival (PoPo) last year, and ended up with a full sequence of poetry, “Bountiful Sound.” A selection of the poems was accepted by Ravenna Press. I’m indebted to Kathryn Rantala for thinking highly of my work, and including it in their Triples Series. #11 features this work by me, as well as Maureen Seaton & Samuel Ace, and Kat Meads.

Support the press by ordering a copy here.

And, of course, consider participating in PoPo this year. Register here.

Categories
Domestic Travel

Light and Shadow at the Bloedel Reserve

June 2020, where hearts sink and footsteps spring.

Categories
Book Reviews

A Double Review of Jennifer Firestone’s Latest Works

I have reviewed Ten and Story by Jennifer Firestone via North of Oxford. This review, and the others, can be found as links on my Reviews page. You can learn more about Jennifer Firestone at her website.