Satori, Poems by Jack Remick

satoriJack Remick Portrait 4Satori ($11.95, 146 pages, 978-1-60381-196-5) is a collection of poems by Jack Remick, who also writes novels, essays, and short stories. Until now, Coffeetown readers have known him mostly for his novels: Gabriela and The Widow (finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s 2013 Book of the Year Award and the Montaigne Medal) and his California Quartet Series: The Deification, Valley Boy, The Book of Changes, and the Trio of Lost Souls (coming in 2015).

“Stand in the wind of Remick’s poetry, and it will blow your mind…. Satori is the work of a poet’s life. Under the quilt, the work stings and singes and suckles. Remick bends our minds and plies us with stories told in vivid detail. Remick plucks us out of simple-minded verse and drops us into complexity, intensity, our emotions left clinging to the sure spine of his storytelling.”

—Paula C. Lowe, author of Moo

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“Here is a book for your reference shelf, sketching the bridge between the poetry you might hear at the Seattle Slam, and what you read as an undergraduate (or possibly as a student in some American MFA program for writers). For writing poetry or writing about poetry, or appreciating either, you will visit and revisit Satori.”

—Thomas Hubbard, The Raven Chronicles

“Evocative of the Bay Area in the sixties and the Beats, Jack Remick’s poems are consistently on target from the personal onto a sundry of subjects. Beautifully written, simple and direct, eloquent and expansive. A fine complement to all his many novels, particularly The California Quartet.”

—Larry Crist, author of Undertow Overtures

“Jack Remick’s poems are exotic, erotic, visionary, hot, erudite, primal, and intense. Read Satori slowly. Sip the book as you would sip a fine wine. Read the poems again. They move from Okie peach orchard to bohemian San Francisco, from elegy to eros to satori (enlightenment). I commend to you this transcendent volume of poems.”

—Priscilla Long, author of The Writer’s Portable Mentor and the poetry collection, Crossing Over

Satori is a perfect one-word haiku that both defines and, in its simplicity, belies what lies within. These poems, which show a young man awakening, coming of age in the beat era and maturing, are told through highly-crafted language and relentless energy, rhythm and imagery that leave one ‘breathless’ from the first beat. Helen Remick’s quilt, on the cover, is a subtle and stunning visual complement.”

—M. Anne Sweet, author of the poetry collection, Nailed to the Sky

Jack Remick is a writer and teacher. As a young man, he worked as a tunnel rat, a bus driver, a house painter, a social worker, a retail clerk, and waited tables at the UC Berkeley Men’s Faculty Club where he rubbed shoulders with Nobel Laureates, scoundrels of all stripes, and international students from a dozen countries who taught him about cultural relativism. Remick learned to write poetry from J.S. Moodey in Centerville, California, and from Thom Gunn at UC Berkeley. When he was young and idealistic, he dropped out of Cal-Berkeley and spent time chasing rainbows in South America. When that didn’t work out, he repatriated, got degrees from Berkeley, San Francisco State University and UC Davis where he specialized in romance linguistics and French literature. At Davis, while studying with Jarvis Bastian, a psychologist, Remick discovered Claude Lévi-Strauss, psycholinguistics, and C.S. Peirce—discoveries that changed his life, his writing, and his mind. Remick reads and writes French and Spanish. For a short time, he was the only Spanish speaking social worker in Fresno County. Now that he is older and wiser, he has given up travel in favor of the sedentary life of a writing guru to hordes of writers in Seattle. He enjoys that very much and is very proud of the writers who practice the discipline. Remick taught fiction and screenwriting in University of Washington Certificate programs. He served for several years on the editorial board of Pig Iron magazine as fantasy editor, contributing editor and assistant editor.

Click here to find Jack online.

From “In Memory of Mauritz Cornelius Escher—1972”

Twenty-three years into his death-stream

this man still aches his bones

down to the asphalt city

curled like a lizard writhing in rain

he still feeds me his mind heat

his voice says—

build a world of black and white,

of mind-rage and metal

go into that night for the stones

to your fallen dreams

go dig jewels of pain from the word-mine

bone rack boy

you find the other side of black

in the yellow slit at the edge of time.

At my back I hear the click of insects,

the clatter of jaws in the hard white shell.

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