KSE #143, A. J. KAUFMANN, SYMBOLISME PSYCHEDELIQUE
(sound library series, volume 47)
One of two paired chapbooks for August 2009, both dedicated to the late SKY SUNLIGHT SAXON, this eight-poem, eight-page suite of poems is Volume 47 in KSE’s “Sound Library Series,” inspired by the incredible “symbolisme psychedelique” sound library album from early 70s France by Gerardo Iacoucci, a combination psychedelic-lounge-electronic series of film-score cues that is legendary among library music collectors/beatheads. I sent AJ a copy of this album in the spring of 2009, during a period when we were both also listening a lot to the further-out 70s/80s music of Sky Sunlight Saxon and Ya Ho Wha, so with Sky’s visions of “Universal Stars” in his mind, and fueled by the SYMBOLISME album, A. J. produced a work that, like an abstract painting made up of recognizable pieces, is both familiar and disquieting, and which can be re-constructed by the reader in a number of different ways. Using a shorter line than in his previous KSE chapbooks, and using lines that can be connected with their neighboring lines in multiple ways, all of which make “sense,” A. J. is taking his poetry to a new and more profound level…the only comparisons I can make are to the poetry of Piero Heliczer, some of Jack Spicer, or the visionary private writings of John Wieners that have come out after JW’s death, but of course AJK has created his own poetic aesthetic independent of any outside influences. Each poem contains a series of whirlpools and spirals of poetic lines/phrases that reminds me of taking the back off a pocket watch and studying the different wheels and springs and balances spinning and connecting and stopping and starting. Imagine being inside that watch, lurching forward and pulling back, through a series of funhouse mirrors containing alternating blurry and overly-sharp images of hairy hands, muddy sheets, echoes of rust, London stones, intimate sails, and side-table whispers. Shoot a monkey, grab a place to stand at the Taint Funeral, and score a copy of SYMBOLISME PSYCHEDELIQUE as soon as you can.
Bill Shute, August 16, 2009