Creosote (poetry)

The Seamark Press
Iowa City, Iowa
Black and white illustrations by Nana Burford

Narrow octavo. vi; 70 pages. In handmade paper boards covered with grass-green Japanese rice paper, with a printed paper label on the upper cover and spine.
This book has been hand-set in Meridien types & printed on Ragston paper in an edition of 500 copies by Kay Amert & Howard Zimmon.

Available through Alibris, AbeBooks

Reviews Comments Where to Buy
Richard Hugo

“Ken McCullough is a poet who makes room for what he receives and does not compromise his writing to do it. He welcomes experience even when it arrives unannounced and unexpected. In McCullough the world has found a friend.”

Richard Eberhart

“Ken McCullough presents a concentrated essence of deep life. His words tumble, sing, and renew the world with profundity and spirit. Honesty is everywhere in those pages, confrontation and appraisal, in short poems and longer meditative ones. He has a dense and packed poetic language, yet the words are lithe and sing with life.”

John Beecher

“McCullough is one of the best poets to emerge from the West in recent years. His imagery is extraordinarily vivid. He writes with a most compelling force.”

William Matthews

“I am lust make me literate," goes a plea in one of these poems so urgent to break energy into words. McCullough characteristically begins where he might be overwhelmed—in the vast landscapes of Montana, on the endless American interstates or camped in the countrysides they ignore, at the beginning of a son’s life and in the midst of his own.

His guides are words, as much as The Word was The Guide for the first whites to confront the same huge spaces here. If his wisdoms come from Ginsberg and Snyder and Black Elk and what can be made American of Oriental religious disciplines, his faith is the same: make it literate. "Writing, always writing," he notes of Ginsberg.

He writes to give witness, to get it down, and because, as he writes, "I will/ breathe this white pollen until it cures me." Prayers, jokes, journalisms, anecdotes, meditations—the modes in Creosote are many.He values every form of attention he can develop. And in one poem, scouring a tin cup with sand, he makes the sort of discovery which could stand for all the explorations of this book: & lo and behold/…a fleck of gold/ in my cup.”

Frank Waters

“Aside from the initial interest each poem compels, Creosote offers a wide range of appeal, through the photographic review of Taos, the emotional descriptions of Montana, the impressionistic and subjective approaches you take. I seem to detect a sense of controlling movement running through all of them. The Movement resulting from the tension between the cosmic dualities of light and darkness, good and evil, which give life to man and the universe, and which is symbolized in the Nahuatl hieroglyph Ollin, Movement: and which is also the meaning of the ancient Chinese Yang-Yin symbol based on the periodic changes of polarity through Movement. I was pleased that your coda, Fu-Return reflected your knowledge of this universal law.

This ordered change through movement is implicit in Creosote, which lends it significance.”

William Meredith

“I found a lot to admire in Creosote, particularly a clean toughness about the language.”

Ed Sanders

“…those sudden surges of emotion which only good poetry can give.”

Edward Abbey

“It’s a beautiful book. I like the poems very much. Carry on.”

Harlan Ellison

“I can only go on the ambiance created by the words as I read them. The subcutaneous vibrations, if you will. Something purely cellular. And on that basis Creosote is just fine. In short, I like reading the poems…all of them touched me, reached me and made me smile or tense my mouth in sanguine agreement.”

Painting by Lisa Nankivil for "Obsidian Point" Book Cover

Photos of painting, books and other works by Kathy Greden

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