Los Angeles writer and sometimes wronger
Rip Rense has released his first book of things that most people consider to
be poetry, “Always Not There,” a collection of 71 utterenses published by
“My father, Art, was a poet,” said
Rense. “And I’m a work of Art, so. . .”
Two of the poems in the book, “Always
Not There,” and “Homecoming,” were published in Psychological
Perspectives, the journal of the C.G. Jung Institute in Los Angeles.
Among the subjects considered:
Ravel’s “Bolero,” a portrait of
actress Sarah Bernhardt by Alfred Stevens (hanging in the UCLA Hammer
Museum), the singer-songwriter Chuck E. Weiss, the fifth symphony of Jean
Sibelius, the late comic Jonathan Winters, the deeply diseased state of
world culture and tyranny of marketing, kitty-cats, ambivalence, and the
late, beloved Los Angeles poet, Scott Wannberg. The book is dedicated to
Wannberg, a lifelong friend of Rense.
The poems also concern:
A man returning home after his son
leaves for college, a terminally ill neighbor, a man's struggle between Jesus
and the saxophone, a house in Isla Vista in 1968, a café named after a
vagina, guitar notes played by Jerry Garcia, and jackhammers.
Always Not There also includes
in print for the first time a series of epic poetic rants that Rense read to
great acclaim annually on Barry Smolin’s “The Music Never Stops” program on
KPFK-FM, in the guise of poet “Raj Bavnani.”
"Rense's style is unshackled by
convention and expectation," said Santa Monica writer Cordelia Wong-Rogers.
"It exists to serve the subject at hand. There are distilled, elegant
ruminations, free-associative flights of fancy, quasi-Elizabethan satire,
even a few wildly out-of-fashion rhymes. The commonality is Rense's
distinctive, abiding word play."
Rense is the author of the novels,
The Last Byline,
The Oaks, The Death Sisters (publication pending) as well as two collections of short
stories, Strange Places of the Heart, and Cigars. A former Los Angeles journalist and veteran of the
L.A. Herald-Examiner under the fabled editor Jim Bellows, Rense has won
four Greater Los Angeles Press Club awards for his on-line Riposte column.
He is at work on a new novel, and poetry collection.
Always Not There and all of
Rense's books may be
ordered at http://riprense.com/store.htm.
Rense has read his work at Beyond
Baroque in Venice. He has been hailed for his readings as "a compelling
presence in an ocean of poseurs and self-involved declaimers."
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