Muriel Rukeyser said that the universe is composed not of atoms, but of stories. Alex Gildzen sees this clearly and is, of all the living writers I’ve been privileged to know, one of the most adept at putting his life’s universe(s) into poetry.
One of the first things I noticed about Alex’s work on the page was his often idiosyncratic spelling. For example, where you and I write “started,” he spells it “startd” — eliminating the unnecessary letter. He’s equally economical in his use of words, distilling the essence of champagne stories into high quality poetic cognac. No mixer, no filler….
I then had the opportunity to meet him at Tres Versing the Panda in May, where he read some of his Elyria poems. I was most impressed. A week or few later, when he offered me the opportunity to publish them, I was nearly giddy with excitement.
Alex’s first chapbook (Into the Sea by Abraxas Press of Madison, WI) was published in 1969. Dozens of other books have followed. His most recent, Beth (by Green Panda Press of Cleveland Heights), was released in early 2009. Now Crisis Chronicles Press is pleased to join in this 40th anniversary celebration by announcing our publication of his brand new poetry collection, Elyria: Point A in Ohio Triangle.
This collection of poems is particularly meaningful to me because, like Alex, I was raised in Elyria, Ohio. Albeit in different generations, we grew up in the same neighborhood — even lived on the same street (Lexington Avenue, only three blocks from my current home) at points in our respective childhoods. In Elyria, Alex writes about Cascade Park, where as a young man I slept on picnic tables and wrote poetry on post glacial boulders; about Ely Park, where I waded in the fountain with friends while listening to Prince’s Around the World in a Day and drinking Wild Irish Rose; about Black River, which runs behind my dad’s old house; and about Kenyon Avenue, where my now-wife lived during the first few years I was in prison. Alex’s poems aren’t about my experiences with those places. They’re about his own. But that makes them all the more evocative for me.
Not only does 2009 mark 40 years since his first chapbook. It also marks 60 years since Alex’s first ever published work — when a painting he made of his grade school at age six (now gracing the above cover) appeared in a 1949 Elyria City Schools publication called We Go To School.
I invite you to join in this celebration of Alex’s fine work, our unique city of Elyria, and these two very special anniversaries by getting your hands on a copy of Elyria: Point A in Ohio Triangle. The poems in it are perfect true story microcosms of a universe I’ve always enjoyed exploring. And I believe you’ll enjoy the journey as well.
Buy a copy for $5 (which includes shipping) from Crisis Chronicles Press, 420 Cleveland Street, Elyria OH 44035. Or order securely using PayPal:
To read a poem from Elyria: Point A in Ohio Triangle, click here and scroll down.
Visit Alex Gildzen’s blog at http://arroyochamisa.blogspot.com
View some of his videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/Gildzen
Explore his papers at: http://speccoll.library.kent.edu/faculty/gildzen.html
Ohio Triangle by Alex Gildzen is a work in progress — the other two points being Cleveland and Kent.