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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
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.

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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.

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My Poetry My Publications Others Poetry Others Publications

Pandemic Poems

Three issues of pandemic poetry are now online via North of Oxford.

I have three poems in the first issue.

One

Two

Three

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Book Reviews My Publications Others Poetry

Two New Reviews in Rain Taxi

Two of my latest reviews are now in the print edition of Rain Taxi, now available for purchase.

  • Earth by Hannah Brooks-Motl
  • Codex by Joshua Lew McDermott

Both are excellent books. Please consider reading them and reading what I wrote about them!

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My Poetry My Publications

New Poetry Collection: Green Axis

My latest collection of poetry is “Green Axis,” and the book as a whole sits at 98 pages. This poetry features Cascadia and beyond. It was written over the course of the last 6 months. It is openly-licensed and can be rehosted/republished with the same license.

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My Poetry My Publications Others Poetry Others Publications

New Release and eBook: Like salt. Like a spine.

Book cover of Like salt. Like a spine. by Maung Day and Greg Bem.

Update: this title is now available as an eBook through Amazon.com.

Newly released. Limited run of chapbook Like salt. Like a spine. Handmade in Seattle. Created for release in Yangon, Myanmar in March 2019. Featuring poetry by Maung Day and myself. Translated between Burmese and English. Email me if you’d like to request a copy or have comments. Digital edition may be forthcoming (still undetermined).

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My Chapbooks My Poetry My Publications

New Book: Construction pt 5

Now released: Construction pt 5. Just in time for your poetry needs.

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My Chapbooks My Poetry My Publications

New Book: CONSTRUCTION 4

Download: CONSTRUCTION 4 by Greg Bem

PDF

86 pages

1.5 MB

CC-BY-NC 4.0

Previous in series:

1

2

3

Categories
My Chapbooks My Poetry My Publications

Double Poetry Book Release: Construction Parts 2 and 3

The next two iterations of my ongoing poetry book series, Construction, are here. Parts 2 and 3, available for free, in PDF form.

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My Publications

Olio in 2018

A challenging read and a challenging writ.

Categories
Domestic Travel My Chapbooks My Poetry My Publications

Released: An Autumn for Kora Mao, Small Book

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My Chapbooks My Poetry My Publications

Construction, Part 1

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My Chapbooks My Poetry My Publications

Two upcoming titles

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My Chapbooks My Poetry My Publications

A new book: Mountains and Natural Summer

Mountains and Natural Summer, a new book of poems that were written over the summer of 2017, is now available in digital and physical formats. Physical formats are on demand through 2017.