In September 2013, the Red Wheelbarrow Poets published its sixth annual journal, edited by Jim Klein, with John J. Trause as the featured poet.
Reviewed in the South Bergenite, #6 includes 31 poets, 128 poems, and 5 essays. On page 13, Don Zirilli introduces John (below, followed by John’s “About the Poem”).
John is director of the Oradell Public Library and author most recently of Eye Candy for Andy, portraits of the group of people associated with painter Andy Warhol.
John, along with Jane Fisher, founded and participated in the Williams Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative of Southern Bergen County. From January 2006 until this year, he ran the monthly readings at the Williams Center, featuring poets from the tri-state area as well as from further afield. This First Wednesday series now is run by the “Gang of Four” (Claudia Serea, John Barrale, Don Zirilli and Zorida Mohammed).
Also featured in the volume is Claudia Serea’s poem, “The other woman”, where she writes, “Desperate times call for great lingerie.”
The Introduction of John J. Trause
Friends, poets, Rutherford, lend me your ears.
I come to introduce John J. Trause, not to praise him.
Actually, he can be quite annoying. Fastidious. Contrary. Perverse.
He has been rejected by many editors of many publications. And who am I to contradict someone as honorable as an editor?
They say he is difficult. They say he is impersonal. And I dare not contradict them because they are honorable. They edit publications, and John is a librarian. Publications are his existence.
In fact, I can only commend John J. Trause on one point: he is a better poet than you are. Once John was explaining to me all the reasons he had for writing a particular line of poetry, an amazing array of literary, historical and formal justifications. Finally, I asked him, “How can you stand to read anyone else’s poetry?” He had no answer. There is no answer.
They say he is difficult. Yes, it is difficult to wrestle a mermaid from the grip of T. S. Eliot, and to make pustules look like flowers. It is difficult to use the rhetorical terms chiasmus and aposiopesis in a single three-line stanza that not only makes use of both devices, but invokes an image that embodies both devices. It is difficult to attack your own poem with a Superstorm that cleaves off the final section.
They say he is impersonal. Yes, it is impersonal to lose sight of a woman and see a painting instead, to turn painting into thought, to care about typeface more than her face, impersonal to let the mermaid drown, to drown with her.
I would not dare to contradict those honorable editors by saying that you will love the poems herein. Who am I to promise such a thing? The only thing I humbly suggest to you is to buy two copies of this anthology. Wrap one in cellophane and store it in a dry, cool place. Keep the second one near at hand and read it and re-read it… because you have in this book a precious handful of John’s poetry and John, in his difficult and impersonal and unsuccessful way, is a poet of canonical significance who has not yet been discovered by that canon. But I assure you, they are destined to meet, as inevitably as Eliot and Pound, as Oedipus and the Sphinx, as Saint Mark and the Gospel, as Sandy and the Shore.
It is therefore my privilege to introduce to you a man who is difficult, impersonal, contrary, perverse and every other requirement of brilliance, John J. Trause.
About the Poem
About the Type
The text of this poem was not set in Legacy, a typeface family designed by Ronald Arnholm and issued in digital form by rrc in 1992. Both its serified and unserified versions are based on an original type created by the French punchcutter Nicholas Jenson in the late fifteenth century. While Legacy tends to differ from Jenson’s original in its proportions, it maintains much of the latter’s characteristic modulations in stroke.
About the Transfer
This poem is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1:33:1. On portrait orientation of the page, white edges will appear to the left and right of the image to maintain the proper page format. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using the poet’s ingenuity, which was used also for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction.
The monaural soundtrack was remastered by the poet. Thousands of instances of clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using the poet’s ingenuity. Crackle was attenuated using the poet’s workstation.