Who I Want to Name—A Conversation with Charles Potts

by Greg Bem | Contributing Writer

Charles Potts has been a tour de force of Pacific Northwest and Inland Northwest Poetry for decades, and continues to serve as a major link between multiple generations of writers and artists. I met Charles Potts in November 2010, and was immediately fascinated with his projects, his passion, and his sustained commitments to poetry, history, education, and knowledge. I have been visiting him at his ranch in Walla Walla on and off since 2011. In January 2023, as the world slowly crawled back outward from the pandemic, I decided to drive the roads of Eastern Washington and the Palosue once more, this time for the sake of conducting an interview with Charles about his life and interests, and, of course, poetry. The rambling interview here is a testament to Potts’s extraordinary mind, and how it has continued to find activity and reverence into his later years.

Greg Bem (GB): Good evening, Charles! I’m excited to do this interview with you. Let’s start with an easy one: are you currently working on any books?

Charles Potts (CP): Well, I am not currently trying to compose a book. I have a handful of ideas, one file folder full of poems or things that I’ve written before about Walla Walla, but I think Walla Walla might not be a particularly extensive subject. It could wind up like the Spoon River Anthology or something like that. And there is a lot of heavy stuff with Walla Walla that I’ve never written about. The social aspects of my wife’s death in 2004, or the Blue Creek Fire in 2015. And I don’t know whether to make this all very lighthearted and user friendly or lower the boom on the ignorant malignant bumbling bureaucrats of Walla Walla County. One of the reasons why I’m not working on a book right now, is “What book would I be working on?” I doodle fairly consistently, but it’s usually a line or two. Sometimes I get something that I can live with and usually not, and I have, for my own purposes, standards. I’ve been writing for 60 years now, and I have written some poems that I really like and that have received some approval from other poets or critics. If I write something new, at a minimum it’s got to be somewhere above the median standard for work that I’ve already published. If I haven’t, it seems pointless. I can think of a lot of poets who just go on publishing books all the way into senility and often there’s a falling off. Some poets get better over time, some poets don’t get any better. Some poets get obviously worse and so I don’t want to make that the case, that this is not important just because I wrote it. It’s important because it has importance that’s way beyond me. The poem is just a medium to get some point across.

GB: So, are you writing poetry right now? If the book is not necessary, where is poetry currently for you?

CP: Very often I start writing a poem and then I begin to think that maybe it’s one of these that’s not going to measure up to my standard. Or maybe it is. And then I fiddle with the poem in my head. I usually don’t write it. I used to tell people that I write like a rock tumbler. I just have all these things in my head, and they stay in there sometimes for decades and then all of a sudden, they appear sequentially with the left-hand margin and in sentence form, and then I write one down. But if I don’t write it down, I just let it go and there’s the fisherman metaphor of just catch and release. I would have the poem and I don’t need to write it or publish it. The library shelves of the world are sagging with poetry books that nobody’s reading. And why add to that sag? I would just take my poem and disappear it. I don’t think that’s particularly selfish. No one will ever know how great a poet I am because I destroyed the evidence. It could be a public service. I think it was T.S. Eliot who once said most poets should write as little as possible.

GB: Do you identify as an individualized poet, or do you have certain companions?

CP: I was drop-shipped into the avant-garde community in Pocatello, Idaho, by composing a poem that the professor, the teacher of my class, Edward Dorn, really liked. He caused it to be published in a small magazine called Wild Dog. And so, I was the enfant terrible in Pocatello (at Idaho State) for a couple of years between 1963 and 1965 when I left. There were many poets and painters in that group. And then I found a group in Seattle. I taught in Seattle, at the Free University. Karen Waring (Sykes) and Edward Smith came to our class, as well as a poet named Norm Sibum. He’s published by Carcanet in England now. He’s lived in Montreal more or less since the war in Vietnam. And then in Berkeley I was buddies most closely with John Oliver Simon and Richard Krech. I’ve always had a lot of people around me. I was just one person but I still have some really dear friends. I met Sherm Clow when I moved to Salt Lake. He and I put on the Underwater Poetry Festival, which brought Bukowski to Salt Lake City to read at the University of Utah, along with Ricardo Sanchez and Alta and Andy Clausen. That was really quite a coup, I thought, because I don’t think there’s a poet as crosswise of the culture as Bukowski at this point that anybody could bring to Salt Lake and do anything more outrageous to the prevailing social fabric than that.

GB: What was it like? What was the reading like?

CP: It was a mess. We were in the Social Work auditorium at the University of Utah, where most of the readings were for two days and oddly enough, unbeknownst to us, when we scheduled the reading, we didn’t check with the master calendar because it happened to take place on Homecoming Weekend when the Utah Utes were hosting the UCLA Bruins for homecoming. By the time the reading got started, you couldn’t get within a mile or two of the campus because it was crowded. I screwed up. Everybody really loved Bukowski’s reading. There’s still a CD of it available. A poet named Linda King, Bukowski’s girlfriend, who was from Utah, gave a barn burning reading and brought down the house and that was good. Many of the other readings were also good and the head of the English Department, Milton Voigt, said Bukowski was just marvelously droll. Bukowski in my opinion, gave a really mediocre reading and partly stimulated by me. I realized we were going to be stuck on the campus and so I had laced his thermos of orange juice with vodka. By the time he was ready to read he was soused. He was just ad-libbing. Everybody was there to hear him. He was the main draw and everything he said people applauded and cheered. He would say something really common and or a really ordinary poem and everybody would just hoot and jeer like they’d heard one of the most famous sonnets of all time. It was silly. But we had a good time and got quite a bit accomplished.

Ricardo Sanchez is an extremely great poet and unappreciated and unknown now. He died in 1995 of stomach cancer. He was a buddy of mine from El Paso. But Clow, the person who helped me put that on, he and I just did some recordings of my original music, some of which I wrote a long time ago, like in the 60s, and some of which I wrote in the 70s and 80s, and some of which I just wrote recently. And we had a bass player, Harold Carr, and his son Willis Clow played lead guitar. And when that CD is done, I guess you could say that’s what I’m working on that’s somewhat artistic. One of the songs is a ballad about Jedediah Smith. Another one is a satire on Warren Buffett called “Stack Trains.”

GB: Can you describe your relationship between music and your other literary works? We know that poetry and song are pretty connected, but how has music in general played a role in your artistic journey?

CP: It’s interesting. I had a rock band when I was in high school, but when I was in high school in the 50s, I got out in 61, popular music was very trivial, lightweight, the kind of stuff you could get on the radio, but I didn’t want to do that kind of trivial stuff, and so I stumbled onto poetry. I could possibly have had a career as a musician if I had been in a place a little more metropolitan, or cosmopolitan, where I could have found musicians who were as serious as I was, even as we speak, because the music is really serious. And what is music supposed to do? Is it supposed to be like a poem? Is it supposed to lift your spirits? Is it supposed to guide you? Is it supposed to take you out of your humdrum existence and make you skip down the street with the song on your lips? It’s a question. It’s back to me being heavier than I need to be sometimes, trying to get a point across, driving somebody who just wanted to be entertained out of the room.

GB: What are the points you’re trying to get across in your art?

CP: Having it be about something. It was a common observation when I was young to look at a painting or something and say, “It doesn’t have anything to say.” One of the things that I look for in poetry and people ask me about, what do you want when you’re looking at poetry? I demand this of my own poetry. It has to be intellectually rigorous. It has to be about something. It has to have emotional resonance. It has to have musicality and it’s got to have an artistic edge. And not all in equal proportion at all times, but they have to be present. Somebody has to be relatively serious, even if their object is comedy. Some really great writers like Shel Silverstein, the children’s poet or songwriter, even though he’s comical, his artistic edge is really apparent and his rigor is apparent and he’s trying to get something across. I’ve got a beautiful two album set called Crouching on the Outside, Shel Silverstein songs. It is delightful. For better or worse, my poems always have a point, a reason for them to have to be wherever they are.

GB: Are there books you haven’t read that you want to read?

CP: That’s an interesting question. I’d have to think about it for a moment. I read about an interesting concept, tsundoku, a Japanese concept. Umberto Eco may have said, I can’t remember if it was one book a day for 80 years. It would only be 28,000 books. Relative to the enormous thousands, tens of thousands, millions of materials available. So reading is not going to get you there. But this Japanese concept is really valuable. To have lots of books around that you haven’t read to help keep you humble about this massive amount that you don’t know. Don’t think because you have mastered a few texts that you actually know everything or even enough to get through the next day, which can be a struggle sometimes. John Keats, having suffered through an evening of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was very well informed and astute, but Keats is now headed home being really happy that he doesn’t know all that crap and doesn’t need to know all of it. I believe it is known to us as Negative Capability.

GB: I wanted to ask about Natural History and the value you see in the connection between poetry and Natural History, especially for young poets. But what is it that draws you towards the natural world and why should people be so focused on it?

CP: Because they are an integral part of it. Let’s speak here as if I were really cosmic. There is something known as Natural History which operates from where we are all the way back to where James Webb can show us. In the meantime, in this Natural History apparatus on the Planet Earth, life developed. And it is continuing to develop and as it developed, it had various parts and one of the parts was primates, little animals that could use their hands and climb through trees and swing around and make deals with one another and hang around in troops and so forth and they’re still doing that. What we are is, in my opinion, what Jared Diamond described as being chimpanzees with a gene for speech. Even though we can speak, and we have conquered the world many times over, and not only conquered it, we’re also continuously defending the conquering of it, losing it, and so forth. It would be unclear to me exactly what the bonobos or the regular chimpanzees actually, what theological systems they have for keeping their troops together and whether they’re a baboon troop or a troop of chimpanzees. The ones that the human race has developed are inadequate for our survival. They are inimical to it in many respects because basically, they’re not true. That’s the problem.

Natural History is discoverable and verifiable and consistent, and the great American poet William Carlos Williams made it sound theological. He said, “I say this with my teeth chattering and my knees knocking together, make us humble and obedient to his rule.” He was speaking of and using God as the overall catch word for this gigantic episode of Natural History in which we have found ourselves, but it doesn’t have to be God, but it’s still the concept of making us humble and obedient to Natural History, to not foul it and to not destroy it. The human experiment is out of control. I mean, we have succeeded beyond anybody’s wildest dreams. Even though we fail as individuals by the tens of thousands on a daily basis, millions are actually thriving. It is frightening to think what we have done, that we have perhaps made life impossible.

At a bookstore in Logan, UT, I came across a book called The End of Nature by Bill McKibben. I read it and I thought, I no longer have any subject matter here. I have been a fan and an enthusiast of Bill McKibben’s ever since. I try to follow him, read his editorials, and his articles. He seems eminently reasonable and tries to stay very positive and so on.

GB: What was it about that book that drew you into his work?

CP: That there isn’t any nature left. Nature in the sense that, “Let’s go out and spend some time in the natural world.” One of the downsides of the human race being so successful is making life very difficult for everything else. Particularly the large entities, the animals like cheetahs who need thousands of miles to run around in and elephants. I raise horses which are a type of rhinoceros. They are both perissodactyls. Horses are endangered, not quite as much as rhinoceroses but in the same manner. There’s no place for the animals to go, the seals and the polar bears and the fish. We fish the oceans dry so now all we can do is farm fish and this kind of super attentiveness to human supposed superiority is going to get us in real trouble, deeper trouble than we’re already in.

GB: 30 years ago, you encounter this book, and it changes your paradigm, it shifts your perspective is in a new paradigm. What did you do since then?

CP: I finished those poems in which Civil War metaphors kept cropping up, “John Brown’s Sawmill.” I got really interested in languages. I went to Mexico to teach. I was teaching in Mexico and met a Chinese psychiatrist named H. C. Tien. I joined his company as the Northwest Representative and went to China with him in 1990 and answered some questions that these Chinese scientists had. We were at a place called the Huodong Fong Dian restaurant in Changsha, Mao’s favorite restaurant. Huodong means fire palace. Many Chinese scientists kept saying, “We don’t understand the United States. What’s going on with the United States?” And I was the only American in the room. The questions were all directed at me. So, I said, well, the first thing you have to understand about the United States is that the South won the Civil War. You’re not dealing with social democrats.

GB: You wrote a book about it.

CP: I did and it deserves to be back in print, although it isn’t at this point. I’m trying to get it back in print because it’s not helping the situation vis a vis Natural History that this political system is controlled by a minority of racist, misogynist, kleptocratic, white male southerner offspring of slaveholders. Heather Cox Richardson, a Harvard graduate and professor of history at Boston College, published a book two years ago called How the South Won the Civil War with Oxford University press. I scooped Harvard, Oxford, and Richardson by 25 years. Southern control is not in our best interests. It’s one of the reasons why I am so pleased with the West. States in the West are using federalism to slip out from under the federal government, such as here in Washington. I’m proud of being in the state of Washington. Thirty years ago and more, I worked with the Democratic Party here to make this state a democratic state. I gave Patty Murray her first visit with Democrats in Walla Walla County back in ‘92 and was Ron Simms’s chair manager for Walla Walla County for his unsuccessful Senate election in ‘94.

One of the things, speaking of the human race and having a gene for speech, when I wrote How the South Finally Won the Civil War, I had a dream the night I finished it, which indicated to me that the questions that would save English-speaking civilization can’t be asked in English. It’s a language problem and the problem is occluded from us. Einstein said you can’t solve a problem at the same level you create it. We have this language problem. I went to Japan to study Japanese. I came back from Japan. I started a magazine that published original poetry in Chinese and Spanish, as well as new poetry in English. I put out the quarterly The Temple for five years every 90 days without missing a beat, even though I had a heart attack at one point while doing it in 1998.

At this point I’m sort of living on house money, as they say. I take a handful of hard drugs. Doctor Maxood leered in my face and more or less bellowed. “You’re lucky to be alive.” I said, well, aren’t we all? But in any case, I am. I get through day by day on drugs and my horses. My life has four parts. I’m in the real estate business which pays for my horses, and insofar as there’s anything to it, my literary career and literary preoccupations, and then I have to concentrate on my health and my day-to-day living.

GB: Do you still think about or hear about your work, your poetry, in the hands and minds of others?

CP: Yeah, yeah, I do. You know, I am pleased that I kind of came back to the well, I think it was 2019 when I first published McDermott. Then I published you and Dennis Held and another book by Teri Zipf and so forth and I think that’s important. That’s one of the things that Yuan Mei says people ought to do. This is straight out of this book called Harmony Garden. I spent $140 bucks for it. Routledge has been publishing forever. They should know better. The book is a disorganized nightmare, but you can read it. It’s like being dropped into a library. You just have to fish around, but he says: “Tirelessly promote other poets, poetry, write preferences and arrange for publication. Abandon the rules, conventions, and cumbersome metrical techniques. Look and listen for fresh, original outlooks. Every true poet says things no one else can say.” He says, “Someone brought me a certain power broker’s poem and asked if I would put them in my poetry talks. When reading them, I could hardly keep my eyes open, so I told them the poems have clarity of diction and good technique. But if I want to find fault, there’s nothing to find fault with. If I want to make fun of them, there’s nothing to make fun of, if I want to select some there are none that stand out. Any poetry that gets passed down has to possess Xingling.” (A combination of the characters for nature and spirit.)

What he says here is to abandon cumbersome metrical techniques. One of the consequences of trying to follow a prosody like that is you write your prosody and not the poem.

GB: You haven’t written in a poetic form in some time.

CP: I don’t think I ever did. If I did it was an accident. I mean, well, one of the forms that I may or may not use could be a form according to Peter Michelson. I gave a reading at the University of Colorado 20 odd years ago and he talked about how well I handled the ode. You know I don’t sit down to write an ode or odes. I may have something someplace called ode to this or ode to that, but I was being fairly facetious. My belief is that the poets who are formalists, New Formalists, Dana Gioia, the whole nine yards, they sacrifice way too much to the form. Because they don’t have anything really important to say. They disguise the fact that they’re messing with techniques. And they could just say what’s really on their mind.

GB: What is nature of spirituality in the Pacific Northwestern Spiritual Poetry anthology?

CP: I just thought it was the direction that poetry was going, which is why I used that title and the spiritual. I got a lot of flak, even from friends, about the use of the word spiritual. I was thinking of the spirit per Nietzsche. As Geist, as something that has some spirit, a poem that can get up and walk off the page on its own, not as some kind of a prayer confession to the Catholic powers that be, not that kind of spiritual at all, not Negro spirituals or anything else, poetry that had a backbone, an intention, a real need to be. We used to badger each other sometime in the 60s. I heard a guy, actually the guy who helped me publish Bukowski’s book. Somebody read him a poem that was kind of a poem, and he said I don’t ever want to hear another poem that didn’t absolutely have to be written. It has to be written. In some ways I talked about Yuan Mei’s Buddhism. I had made a corollary statement when I was writing these notes about Buddhism that had been in China for 2000 years, impractical to suppress it and foolish to elevate it and my corollary said America is an empire and not a country, which makes it impossible to defend and pointless to attack.

GB: Let’s talk about The 5th Convulsion.

CP: I had big hopes for The Fifth Convulsion: The Structure of American History when it first came out. I think the 9th of December about a month ago. It is a book comparing the convulsion we are currently going through with the four previous convulsions. In chronological order they would be King Philip’s War, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Depression and World War Two. Due to a structurally dysfunctional legislative system, it takes about 80 years for the system to blow its stack. I was born during World War Two, 80 years ago. It has been around 160 years since the Civil War, and so on.

What makes it convulsive is that things are very different after a convulsion than they were before. Before King Philip’s War, the British didn’t pay much attention to the American colonies. After the colonists defeated the Indians, British attention was attracted and they began to tax the colonists and interfere in their affairs. The Revolutionary War might be said to have started with the Proclamation of 1763 and ended at The Battle of New Orleans, approximately 40 years later. The period of the first republic, between the revolution and the Civil War was a series of intermittent compromises designed to keep slavery in place. The Civil War was the mother of all convulsions, to twist a phrase from Saddam Hussein. In 1933 the United States was quivering with isolationism. In 1953 Eisenhower launched the CIA into being his secret army and the empire started overthrowing governments in Guatemala and Iran.

The United States system hung around in the Roosevelt equilibrium from the 1940s until the election of Reagan and then the lurch to the right got really underway. The right wing has never been this powerful. Maybe this convulsion started in earnest with the Orange Mess and his escalator ride.

Their right wing minority control allowed them to raid the treasury with tax cuts for the rich and pack the Supreme Court with Catholic fanatics. These are the Papal States of America. Right now, it is anybody’s guess which of the two wings of the American political cauldron will prevail. Biden got a lot done. As a matter of fact, being an old man from Biden’s generation, he got as much done in two years as Clinton and Obama did in 16.

Something really different will be happening when we get on the other side of this. These convulsions can take a long time. At some point it’s going to lurch farther to the right. Or farther to the left or and it could muddle into the middle for a long time. We have the best congress money can buy, as Mark Twain once said. The legislature has done practically nothing in 40 years about the criminals in the energy business who knew their practices would destroy the environment. We talked earlier about the onrushing global warming disaster.

Our history isn’t very long. I used to have a house guest named Zhou Min Fang, a young woman from Guizhou province in China who came to Whitman College. She had taught English in China, but she was studying history at Whitman. She couldn’t figure it out, all this attention paid to something barely 400 years long including the colonial period, not as long as almost any of the half dozen big dynasties in China. The Han Dynasty had two parts: 200 and some odd years for each one, so it was 400 years long. The Tang Dynasty was 300 years long. The Song Dynasty was about the length of the Qing Dynasty. I know a little bit about China and a little bit about Japan and a little bit about Mexico. I know quite a bit about the United States. I spent a lot of my life writing political poetry.

You asked about what I read. In the appendix to The Fifth Convulsion, there is a reprint of the “Reading Essentials of Charles Potts.” It was originally published in an anthology called The Poet’s Bookshelf. The editor, Peter Davis, instructed us to single out the ten most important books that were influential to you. It includes writers such as Dostoyevsky, Carl Sauer, Dante, the Ye Ching, and Alexander Lowen the psychiatrist, chief disciple of Wilhelm Reich. I really like Wordsworth and Shakespeare’s King Lear. The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler. I could do worse than direct you, Greg, to Spengler because you’re almost old enough with enough experience that it might make sense. What are the really charming things about Spengler’s book? He is quoting Nietzsche or Goethe on every other page, not to mention Heraclitus, so you get this entire smorgasbord of the best German. The poetic insight from Goethe. The philosophic insight from Nietzsche and the historical perspective from Spengler himself gives you a great look. According to Spengler, the decline of the West started in 1815 at the same time as the aforementioned Battle of New Orleans because that was the year that Wellington beat Napoleon at Waterloo. The title of the book is mistranslated. It’s not really a decline. The literal German is “The Going Under of the Evening Lands.” Things start going sideways. And then it just becomes a holding action until all these new things grow up out of it. There’s all these new things growing up inside the United States. The United States doesn’t have any idea that it’s been going sideways since 1815.

GB: You still haven’t talked about Little Napa Nowhere.

CP: Well, a Little Napa Nowhere is, I’ve really written a lot of facetious poems about Walla Walla. Many years ago, I wrote “I’ve been in Walla Walla for 15 years doing field studies of white republicans.” That’s generally the tone. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. How the South Finally Won the Civil War: And Controls the Political Future of the United States, could be read as a collage. When I first wrote that, the first couple of times, first and second versions, I couldn’t get anybody to take it seriously. I began to look for people who agreed with more or less what I was saying at a point. Building a stack of agreement. It could be large collage. Other people have talked about the poetic possibilities in The Fifth Convulsion, including Eugene Lesser who wrote, “In a way the book is half history and half epic poem, somewhat comparable to The Bridge. It often reads like a declamatory poem about politics.” I didn’t want to make it a poem because that would consign it to the dustbin of history, if people would not read it. It remains to be seen whether or not I would take Walla Walla as a subject matter seriously enough to fiddle with. Right now, I would say no. I’ll never finish it. It’ll be a bunch of notes and poems on that subject without a coherent presentation.

GB: So what could we expect from that project?

CP: Well, they’re not so much notes as they’re like finished pieces, but they’re not organized. One of the interesting problems with writers such as myself focused on actuality or actualism.

One of the things that a poet that I used to really like, and now I’d be, and I’ve become really skeptical about him and that’s Dante and his Christian revenge poetry. Dante named names. He was on the losing side of the war against the Pope. He was in exile. When he was writing, giving people a bad time who he wanted to take revenge on, he named names. “This is Giuseppe Garibaldi.” I used to do that a lot myself in my anti-war poems and social protest poems back in the 60s I was naming names, like the people who were on my draft board, for instance. They’re in the poem. Their names are there. The very guys. It wasn’t just some baseless people, it real people who you would think would have known better. Finishing Little Napa Nowhere will be coming to terms with the question of who I want to name.

GB: Is it problematic to name names?

CP: I get confused about what I want it to be if I’m going to name names. I wanted to be really accurate. Technically, I probably know more about Walla Walla than anyone, or as much as anybody who lives here rather than the people who run the place, but I can’t seem to convince myself that it matters that I know this or that if I can make it matter to other people. It’s not something I worry about a lot. Every once in a while, I look into the filing cabinet. I look at my notes on the computer, and then I go and do something else.

Charles Potts was born in Idaho Falls in 1943. Idaho State University College of Arts and Sciences gave him a Distinguished Professional Achievement Award in 1994.The Washington Poets Association honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He donated his literary archive in 2010 to the special collections of Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. In addition to 35 of the adjacent 50 states, Potts has presented his work in Japan, China, The Republic of South Korea, Canada, and Croatia. New books forthcoming include Quintessential, a selected poems from Last Word Press in Olympia, WA, and Meadowland, from Hand to Mouth books in Walla Walla. Potts has been a resident of Walla Walla, Washington for 45 years.

Greg Bem (he/him) currently resides in Spokane where he is a librarian at Spokane Community College. Recently arrived after 13 years in Seattle, he has since started Carbonation Press and is an active volunteer at Spark Central. Raised in Southern Maine, Greg has spent time in Rhode Island, Philadelphia, and Cambodia. Since 2010, Greg has co-designed, co-organized, and co-hosted countless arts and literary events, including The Breadline (Seattle), Five Alarms Lit Crawls (Seattle), Our City (Phnom Penh), Ghost Tokens (Seattle), View.Point (Seattle), and Reflexive Assembly (Seattle). He currently co-runs the multidisciplinary Foray series in Spokane with poet and performer Sarah Rooney. He has collaboratively supported work by the New Philadelphia Poets, the Cascadia Poetics Lab (formerly the Seattle Poetics Lab) and Cascadia Poetry Festival, and the Poetic Arts Performance Project (PAPP). His own work concerns ecologies and natural environments, and bridges literary forms with sound poetry, field recordings, ambient and noise music, and performance art. He is the author of several books, including Of Spray and Mist (Hand to Mouth, 2019), Green Axis (Alien Buddha, 2019), Like salt. Like a spine. (with Maung Day), and Pushing Through Glass (Carbonation Press, 2023). You can learn more at