Photos from Dan Raphael and Christopher Luna in conversation at Powell’s Books October 27, 2019

On October 27, Powell’s Books presented dan raphael in conversation with Christopher Luna. The event commemorated the publication of Manything, dan’s 21st book of poetry.

dan raphael’s new book got it’s title from the wide variety of visions, voices and vocabularies among the 65 poems For 4 decades dan’s been active in the northwest as poet, performer, editor and reading host. Most Wednesdays dan writes and records a political poem for the KBOO Evening News.

Larry Smith, editor of Caliban, wrote: “It is appropriate that Dan Raphael’s Manything has come out in the year of Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday. Raphael is one of the few poets since Whitman to have such a complete delight in the multiplicity of the world. His integration of the objects of man’s making with the wildness of nature is liberating. The poet’s body parts can function independently and often co-mingle freely with dirty streets, rain, bottles, squirrels, and the sun. Manything is a vision, one that moves us beyond our complacency, making us less sure that the world we navigate daily is what we think it is. Like Louis Aragon in Paysan de Paris, Raphael awakens us to the ecstatic possibility that we might fall right through the sidewalk.”

Christopher Luna served as the first Poet Laureate of Clark County, WA from 2013-2017. Luna has an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and is the co-founder, with Toni Lumbrazo Luna, of Printed Matter Vancouver, a small press which also provides writing coaching, editing, and manuscript review for Northwest writers. He and Toni co-host the LGBTQ+ friendly, all ages and uncensored Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic, founded by Christopher in 2004. Luna’s books include Brutal Glints of Moonlight and The Flame Is Ours: The Letters of Stan Brakhage and Michael McClure 1961-1978. His first full-length collection of poetry, Message from the Vessel in a Dream, was published by Flowstone Press in 2018. A revised and expanded version of Ghost Town, USA, which features poems and observations of Vancouver, WA from a New Yorker’s perspective, is forthcoming from Uttered Chaos Press.

At the event, Christopher read the following tribute to dan, inspired by their friendship and by dan’s latest book:

For Dan Raphael

walking around the neighborhood
like Frank O’Hara on shrooms
“cosmologies between [his] fingers”
full breakfast in his belly
dan becomes the street

impervious to rain
or despair over
encroaching fascism

only a guy who spent
three decades at the DMV
can truly grok the spiritual fortitude
it takes to resist
the soul-killing serpents
of end days-capitalism

& the paranoia of
the dispirited proletariat
to soar past all prohibition
levitate beyond pessimism

he who sees
what we do not
“rooted like a tree”
limbs swaying like
antenna jostled by the wind

picking up
electromagnetic waves
as he swings to & fro
barefooted
hypersensitive
connected

possessed
by vision
potent enough
to crack a heart open
blow yr mind

or part the fog
we muddle through
to avoid the pain
of living

 


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