Basinski, Michael 1950-

views updated

BASINSKI, Michael 1950-

PERSONAL: Born November 19, 1950, in Buffalo, NY; son of Michael Joseph (a steel worker) and Alice (a factory worker) Basinski; married Eileen Kocieniewski, 1983; children: Natalie. Ethnicity: "Polish." Education: Attended University of Buffalo.

ADDRESSES: Home—30 Colonial Ave., Lancaster, NY 14086-2509. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Poet, 1975—. Special Collections, University Libraries, State University of New York at Buffalo, staff member, beginning 1984, curator of poetry collection, 2004—.

WRITINGS:

poetry

B (text broadside), Soft Dog Press, 1982.

The Wicked Old Woman (broadside), Textile Bridge Press, 1983.

The Women Are Called Girls, Textile Bridge Press, 1983.

A-Part (broadside), Score Sheet, 1991.

Moon Bok, Leave Books, 1992.

Red Rain Too, Run Away Spoon Press (Charlotte, FL), 1992.

Her Roses (broadside), Uprising Press, 1992.

Cnyttan, Meow Press (Berkely, CA), 1993.

Flight to the Moon, Run Away Spoon Press (Charlotte, FL), 1993.

Vessels, Texture Press, 1993.

Worms, Veighsmere, Series, 1993.

So Up, Buffalo Vortex, 1994.

SleVep, Tailspin Press, 1995.

Duende, Fubbles Press, 1995.

Catachresis Mum, Buffalo Vortex, 1995.

Odalesque, Word Outa Buffalo Press, 1995.

The Sink, Buffalo Vortex, 1995.

Barstokai, Meow Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996.

Wen, Buffalo Vortex, 1996.

Empty Mirror, Non Compos Mentis Press, 1996.

Heebee-Jeebees, Meow Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996.

Idyll, Juxta Press, 1996.

Nome, Buffalo Vortex, 1997.

[Un Nome], Run Away Spoon Press, 1997.

From Wooden Unguent-Spoon in the Shape of a Girl Swimming and Reaching Out to Touch a Duck, Oasis Press (Amman, Jordan), 1998.

Book of Two Cartouche, Tel-Let Press (Charleston, IL), 1999.

Fine White Out Lines, Earthdance (Cape Paterson, Australia), 1999.

By, House Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 1999.

The Doors, House Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2000.

Nieghttime Poems, Potes and Poets Press (Elmwood, CT), 2000.

Beseechers, Light and Dust Books (Kenosha, WI), 2000.

Shards ov Shampoo, Writers Forum (London, England), 2000.

Mool3Ghosts, Writers Forum (London, England), 2001.

Strange Things Begin to Happen when a Meteor Crashes in the Arizona Desert, Burning Press (Cleveland, OH), 2001.

The Lay of Fraya Wray, Xtant Books (Charlottesville, WV), 2001.

Mool, Writers Forum (London, England), 2001.

Heka, Factory School (San Diego, CA), 2001.

The Sound Pome Today Must Come to Bum Impoemvisitational, House Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2001.

A Poet Dreams about Poetry, House Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2002.

Two Toons, House Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2002.

Poemeserss, Structurn Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

The Idyllic Book, Michel Letko (Houston, TX), 2003.

Abzu, Run Away Spoon Press (Charlotte, FL), 2003.

Entrails, Xoroxial Editions (LaFarge, WI), 2004.

It's Alieve, Unarmed Press (St. Paul, MN), 2004.

Poems Popeye Papyrus, Slack Buddha Press (Somerville, MA), 2004.

recordings

Enjambment, EBMA, 1984.

SEA, EMBA, 1987.

SIDELIGHTS: Poet Michael Basinski's works are informed by his Slavic heritage, his Catholic background, and the poetry-reading counterculture in dark, smokey bars. He had a strange upbringing, he reports in Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series (CAAS). "My mother sent me to parochial school. I was delivered into the clutches of the Felician nuns at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary School. These were among the most hideous and heinous years I was forced to endure. The Felicians were a barbarous community. Daily, we would be threatened with eternal life in Hell, stripped of grace, slapped and hit in class, beaten, insulted, and threatened with Sister Superior's office." The situation at home was no better. "Life was small, ignorant, backwards, violent, repressive, insensitive, and cold. I learned that everything I did was wrong. I learned that I was to blame for everything. It was an emotionally sick and dysfunctional household."

Basinski responded to these pressures in his adult life first by turning inward and secondly by turning to poetry. "Writing and reading were the things that created moonlight in the cell," he explains. "I found that making little tiny words on paper made no noise. I could hide them. If they were found and exhibited, they would be meaningless." He also turned to alcohol and sought the company of like-minded people in bars. Finally, Basinski realized that "every bar I had ever been in was a poem. And each demon was a poem. And each strange event, daily, was a poem. This made my entire strange life very much poetry. I didn't have to be rich. I didn't have to go to Harvard or Europe or Kentucky. I could just be a poet because there was poetry."

Basinski told CA: "Since the mid-1990s my poetry has evolved into an exploration of writing patterns that focus upon and include misspellings, Fluxusrelated performance poetry and poetry performance scores, neologism, sound poetry, fused and broken words, cartoon poetry, expressionistic visual and collage poetry and narrative, and musical and spoken concrete and visual poetry. I perceive this work as an anarchism that breaks rules and words to release the magic, or actual mythical entities or forces that reside in the locked word."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

books

Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Volume 27, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.