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Writing a blurb for a friend or associate’s book is a difficult task. One has to be compelling, has to have some credibility regarding knowledge of the book’s content and has to have a call to act, or at least be memorable. So many blurbs today are, as one might imagine, much like the flat writing of our era, with abstractions, generalizations and clichés. When I delivered a blurb to Larry Lawrence, longtime friend and old Red Sky Poetry Theater associate, I was delighted he was pleased and then doubly delighted when he put it at the top of the blurbs on the back of his book Thought Despairments:

Blurb for Larry

Where do an Unfestooned Enigmatic Unipod and a Unyoked Xenophobic Newscaster find love, escape into life outside the car and join the effort TO DISMANTLE THE PRISON-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX? Before today, only in the mind of Larry Lawrence, but the good news is what once required a complicated Being John Malkovich-ish entry now can be had if you BUY THIS BOOK, festooned with whiffs of Paul Celan, nudity, Lyn Hejinian & wild duck lands. What are you waiting for?

— Paul E Nelson
A Time Before Slaughter
American Sentences
Haibun de la Serna

It’s one thing to blurb a book, but hearing the work in the author’s voice either makes or breaks the deal for the potential book buyer. So, having a chance to hear Larry read his work at a recent Jack Straw Writers Reunion was a joyous occasion for me. It was as if it was a piece of Red Sky Poetry Theater 19 years after it ended, so being like a way to get caught up on what one Red Sky poet was doing. You can watch the whole Jack Straw reading below, but I’ve cued it to Larry’s reading for you. There are few poets writing today with this intelligence, wit, range of references and humility. Enjoy:

Larry Lawrence Thought Despairments