Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rockford Pages Captain Thomas L. Vaultonburg Writes Second Children's Book

Rockford Pages poetry slam team captain Thomas L. Vaultonburg has written his second children's book, titled Atrocious Poems A To Z, and it will available on Amazon June 9th. 

Also, Vaultonburg has been invited to write the 26 poems that comprise the book on the wall of the Rockford Art museum to accompany the illustration by Rockford artist Jenny Mathews. 

The exhibition, titled Bittersweet Observations, will have a public opening June 9th at 6:30 P.m., and copies of the book will be available in the gift shop at the Rockford Art Museum afterwards. 

Atrocious Poems A To Z is a book Vaultonburg began writing in the 5th grade at Mary Morgan Grade School in Byron, Illinois, as a class project. He always wanted to finsish the book and see it in publication, and almost forty years later his dream has come true.

Eye Rhyme is an example of the poems in the book. It has an ingrained literary lesson as well as attempting to deal with issues that are anxiet-inducing for children. "I wanted to write something that would be in opposition to all the shut the fuck up and go to bed books being aimed at children," Vaultonburg said in a phone interview. "The stresses of childhood are very real and serious for children, and as adults we form this sort of parental amnesia where we forget how hard it is being a child. I wanted to take those everyday stresses seriously, but not too seriously."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Titles Available By Rockofrd Poetry Publisher Zombie Logic Press

It was twenty-five years ago three years ago when my first book, Concave Buddha, was published by The Press of the Third Mind in Chicago. It is a press that had also published Bradley Lastname and Philip Lamantia, so I was very excited to be in that company.

The cover incorporated a piece by artist Joel Peter Whittier. 

There wasn't much talk about it locally, but they sold a lot of copies in Chicago and New York. I remember that a lot of older small press poets were a little bitter about it because it wasn't usual for a new poet to have a full-length book with a glossy cover right out of the chutes. Nowadays that doesn't mean much because of digital printing, but I didn't hold any grudges about it. The publisher simply liked my work and thought it fit in with his Dadaist style, so he published it. All these years later I now publish books and try to follow his example of being open to new writers. There's no point being a snob in an industry where there's so little at stake in the first place.

I have published three books by Rockford writers recently. The Zen of Beard Trimming by C.J. Campbell, Iced Cream by Jesus Correa, and The Blood Dark Sea by Outlaw Poet Dennis Gulling.

The Blood Dark Sea by Dennis Gulling

I have a few other titles I hope to publish in the next couple of years. As far as I know Zombie Logic Press is the only literary press in Rockford, and has been all the twenty years I have been operating it. I'd really like to let the region and the nation know that we have a literary presence. That's the goal of the Rock River Literary Series. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Rockford Outsider Poetry Publisher Zombie Logic Turns Twenty

Twenty years ago in October I founded Zombie Logic Press. Mainly I did so to publish my second book, Detached Retinas. I was soon to be working in the restaurant business and didn't have many intentions of publishing much more anytime soon.

And I didn't. 

But as far as I know I was the first person to use the term Zombie Logic or apply it to a going concern such as a literary press. 

Now, after twenty years of being continuously in business I edit The Rock River Literary Series, which promotes writers from Rockford, Illinois, and edit two literary journals, Zombie Logic Review and Outsider Poetry. 

Zombie Logic Press

For the last decade now I have been doing so from Downtown Rockford. When I settled in this building on the Holmes Block almost no one else was running a business Downtown anymore. A few restaurants on Block Five, but that was about it. The citizens were terrified to come Downtown. 

Eventually a coffee shop opened up. But still the historic building decayed and rotted. The roof collapsed on the Midway Theater, and the privileged white class stayed away in droves. If they ever did talk about Downtown it was in a negative way. 

I liked it here, though, back then. I remember going for walks late at night through virtually deserted streets. I liked the buildings that local vultures had been squatting on for a couple of decades as they turned to dust. I never once was accosted or even approached by anyone despite the hue and cry by smug East Siders that if you go Downtown you will get mugged. It was safe here.

Until they moved in. The very East Siders who had criticized Downtown for decades. Suddenly it didn't feel as safe anymore. But not for the reasons they said.

Because of them. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rockford Poetry 2016

Recently it was announced that Rockford has been named the FBI's #1 most violent city in America under 200,000 in population, supplanting Little Rock, Arkansas. I sat in the Amtrak stop in my train car for a half hour once in Little Rock looking at what must have been the Capitol building because it was a grand, beautifully lit structure, and if all I ever knew of Little Rock was that half hour I'd guess that Little Rock was a paradise.

Chamber of Commerce types attempt the same sort of obfuscation here in Rockford. I suppose it's their job to try to convince outsiders the good is better than it is and the bad doesn't really exist except in the mind's of cynics. But here in the real world we're constantly reminded by the inconvenient facts. Number one most violent city in America, third fattest, dumbest and most miserable respectively. These rah rah types try to be clever and play it off with Tshirts and civic campaigns like Misery Loves Company, but it all comes off in the end like a bunch of vultures who got their meal ticket punched watching the city burn from a safe distance while they simultaneously profit off dumbass Tshirts. 

The calendar has flipped over into October, and as all the other months have done for some time now October breaks from the gate at a breakneck pace. Fall Art Scene is this weekend, but after that Jenny promises we will slow down, and I'm grateful. September and October are my favorite months, but I spent most of September worrying about my health. I hope to enjoy October this year, really let it sink in.

Collected all my recent poetry in a file on this very computer while I was at Zombie Logic Press headquarters a couple of weeks ago, and a few times recently I have felt caught up as a human being. I know that just means I'm about to fall woefully behind, but for now I am moving slow and enjoying things. 

The Cubs are in the playoffs. My fantasy football teams are doing well. It has not gotten bitterly cold outside yet, and I don't have to worry about camping again until next year. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Up, Up An Away In Jenny's Beautiful Balloon

Would you like to take a ride in my beautiful balloon?

Balloons by artist Jenny Mathews 

Yes, I would like to be in one of these beautiful balloons instead of watching this dumb football game hoping some ding dongs I don't care about will score a point. I don't know if I'd like to be up this high in a balloon as it looks a little dangerous. 

I think Jimmy Webb wrote the 5th Dimension song "Up Up and Away," and I believe he also wrote the song for which Sir Richard Harris was knighted for, "McCarthur Park." Someone left their cake out in the rain. Jenny bought me that album long ago, so long ago it was years before we even had a turntable to play it on, which we still haven't. 

Rockford poetry is going strong they say. 

Football game is over. One of my regular contributors at Zombie Logic Review was writing me from Dublin today. And at Outsider Poetry we have regular contributors from Scotland, England, and Wales. 

Everyone except me went to Geek'd Con this weekend. They got me a Don't Panic towel, but now I'm panicked about whether I should use it or not.

Maybe a photo is in order. 

Mine doesn't look like this, but I was too lazy to take a picture because I'm watching The House That Bled To Death.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

And Rockford Poetry Will Never Be the Same

I finally organized all the poems I have written since the last book, Submerged Structure, into a file on my computer. I had to round them up from the cosmic reaches of the galaxy, or at least from ten different blogs and two old computers. I think I found most of them, and few of them still impress me. Nonetheless it feels good to have them cataloged.

Rockford was named the most dangerous city in America under 200,000 people by one source today. Earlier in the week someone carjacked a taxi and led police on a high speed chase through Downtown after firing shots at the police. I heard it after midnight Tuesday but it's not at all unusual to hear sirens all night.

The next afternoon someone had to be talked off the State Street bridge.

Pretty much a normal week in Rockford.

Let me see if I can find one of those poems I haven't published anywhere else because I am tired of writing today.

Using Your Medical Card

Please keep your card in a safe
Place and never allow anyone
Else to receive the benefit of
Disinterested medical care

Fear not the apathy of
Underpayed practitioners
Concerned more about their 
Student loans than 
Your pancreas

Ye shall surely not die

But there's no harm in taking
These dress rehearsals more seriously.
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

Not very good. Probably won't make it into the next book, but it's alright for tonight. I never seem to get to the end of my own medical appointments, but hopefully I'll be done with dental work soon. What a mess I had made for myself not going to the dentist in twenty years. 

Rockford Pages poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg rides a bicycle

The Cubs played to their first tie in over ten years tonight. I sat there waiting for the game to start again, but it never did, so they went into the radio broadcast of the Thursday Night Football game. 

That's all. Going to eat my organic black eyed peas and quinoa meal now.