Tag Archives: Kelly Alsup

Omar Pérez’s Did You Hear About the Fighting Cat?

J’Lyn here. As editor-in-chief, I work with Bombay Gin book reviewers closely, usually over the course of three or four drafts. Below, you will find a little teaser from Kelly Alsup’s delightful review of Omar Pérez’s Did You Hear About the Fighting Cat?, which you can find in Bombay Gin 38.1. Kelly is a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School and a dear friend, who I am so happy has stuck around after graduating to be an important part of the Boulder community.

You can buy Pérez’s book through Small Press Distribution, and the publisher, Shearsman Books, also offers a downloadable sample.

So, to exist with both desire and its limitation is not to fight to the death so much as to keep the suppleness—that, in the daylight, sleeks its contours constant and fleetingly—alive through its dimmer, or darker, hours, striking the match newly each time. The alertness to the flashing or shuddering moment that the fighting cat carries in the world is the wakefulness to “transience” and “variance in voltage” that stirs in these poems. It is the presence and everydayness of Zen that accepts conflict as much as it dissolves it. This wisdom, then, answers Pérez’s own question, posed earlier in the collection:

With the wood from this tree, coffin

with the wood from the coffin, pyre

on the pyre man grows toward zero

so what do we do now?

“Sustain / Sustain them / you sustain them.” What “grows toward zero” is

embryo moving always toward victory

down the alley with no exit to eternity

At the end a boy!

And you do not abandon the boy. The tomcat, Love, lichen. To learn to blink—a way of maintaining alertness or even relax into sleep—is to learn to stop abandoning the moment to fear, fantasy, distraction. A primary founder of American Zen, Shunryu Suzuki, reminds: “Moment after moment to watch your breathing, to watch your posture, is true nature.”

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Buy Books on Cyber Monday

As Editor-in-Chief, I have the pleasure of also editing Bombay Gin’s book review section. I have to admit that this is one of my favorite duties as editor. I get to work closely with reviewers, most of whom are JKS students writing their first reviews. The process tends to be long, but the payoff is quite satisfying: not only do JKS students get some publishing credit and the gratification of finishing a project, poets and writers also benefit by having their books reviewed.

In our next issue, you will find the following reviews, and, since you are very likely to cyber shop during work today, go ahead and buy these books. We can guarantee your money will be well spent:

Jenny Boully, Not Merely Because of the Unknown that was Stalking Toward Them, Reviewed by Brenna Lee

Gérard Gavarry, Making a Novel, Reviewed by Denise Kinsley

Kirsten Kaschock, Sleight: A Novel, Reviewed by Kristen Park

Omar Pérez, Did You Hear About the Fighting Cat?, Reviewed by Kelly Alsup

Margaret Randall, Ruins and First Laugh: Essays 2000-2009, Reviewed by Diana K. McLean

Kate Zambreno, Green Girl, Reviewed by Heather Goodrich

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