Steve Richmond / Mr. Viced Honest

On Tuesday, I read some of Steve Richmond's gagaku poetry in the feature section in "Wormwood 132". As some have noted, it is somewhat offputting to see poem after poem simply named "gagaku" -- it's not overly helpful. However, I found myself getting accustomed to simply letting the lines flow, even if where the next line started or where the next words appeared made no sense to me whatsoever. From time to time, I encountered a thought (or a phrase) that jumped out at me ("spoke to me") ...

Here's a short gagaku poem that especially resonated (perhaps due to its length) -- what follows is an attempt to maintain the spacing:

better imagining her
than having her

Just four lines ...

In another one, he acknowledged that "on occasion I re-submit 30 or 70 or 234 grabbed at randon" ... pity the editors ... on the other hand, this speaks to the thought that he was free to be writing what he felt (under whatever influences) ... and perhaps few can claim this ...

However, and this is a big 'however' ... in the same issue of "Wormwood" were poems by David Barker, Gerald Locklin and Bukowski. Their works in that issue spoke much more to me. I even "enjoyed" the page of "Madonna" poems by Lyn Lifshin (they were on the page immediately in front of Steve Richmond's feature section) more than the gagaku stuff ...

I can imagine worse fates that having to read 100s of gagaku poems but I can also imagine better ones ... I would prefer to read David Barker or Gerlad Locklin, not to mention Bukowski ... and others ... but reading Richmond is an experience!

Cheers, DaP

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
I was thinking of giving examples while re-reading his books,
HEY, this is a great poem, or that one is even better!
No, it doesn't make sense. You like his work or you don't.
hey please do i'd like to get a 'fix' of it and see what all the fuss is about...


"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
Ok, for you, d gray.



in my

world there is

a small fly who is still

on top of a rock that rests in

a slow moving stream of water, near

the shore i stand watching the small fly

that does not move, and i begin to hear him

talking to the stream in a language i cannot under-


© Steve Richmond


Besides being pretentious and sounding like English baby talk, the term "gagaku" used over and over is just lazy. It's like Simon Perchik titling his poems "*" over and over again. The poem quoted by Ponder is weak, almost a kind of lame "visual" poem, breaking the word "understand" is predicable, no surprise at all. Pretending he's a zen master. Dull. Not horrible, but dull.


I just finished reading almost three years worth of this forum (well, skimming a lot of it) and I see that Richmond and Jim Carroll have already been discussed, or at least touched upon. I can see how it must be annoying when newcomers start on the same old straw that has already been chewed up. I'm one of them, or probably worse...a lot of comfy-feeders here I thing about Bukowski that a lot of people forget is his playfulness and his ability to enjoy the good times...that great big smile despite all odds...his great luck...Richmond is a throw-away compared to this because Richmond started out rich and you can't pretend your way through it...I do believe that Richmond's eyes were opened because of Buk but there was just not enough there to begin with...poor little rich boy...


"So fuck Doubleday Doran"

It seems you have no idea what you are talking about.
You are not able to tickle me, or you do?

I only can say you this; your posts exist by anger.
Remember that Bukowski story with drawings by Crumb?
There is one drawing there; if you don't know what I'm
talking about, others do.

Whatever your real name is, you are a piece of shit.
Sorry man, that's just the way it goes.

Bad people meet good people.

Don't fool good people.


Ponder, I assume you're talking to me, my name is Mather Schneider, that's my real name. Sometimes I am angry and sometimes I experience other emotions. I am not ashamed of that.

I think Crumb illustrated a few Buk stories, I have no idea what you're talking about here.

Funny that you accuse me of being angry as if anger was evil itself, and in the next breath you call me a "piece of shit".

Why is it you are suddenly talking like Tarzan?


"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
I am not angry. Others would call you a troll, I call you a piece of shit.
The Crumb drawing is the one where the woman punches herself in the face.
You should do that one time to wake up and become a good person.
In the meantime you are a piece of shit or a troll.
End of story.


"Wake up and become a good person"? You mean the kind of "good person" who thinks Richmond is an important poet? You sound like a moralistic blockhead, Ponder.


Usually wrong.
When Richmond uses the title "Gagaku" over and over again, it seems to me that he is indicating a mode of writing. It's not like all those poems are expressly titled "Gagaku", as if that were something new and clever and suggestive, but that they are Gagaku. As in "this is another Gagaku poem." It's never bothered me. The words that follow always fill whatever vacuum there is in that empty title.
Hello David ... that's an interesting thought ... therefore, all Richmond's poems titled "Gagaku" are essentially untitled poems ... this strikes me as somewhat similar to artists who fail to put a title on certain paintings (from time to time) ... while some many want the viewer/reader to approach a work unencumbered by the imposition of a title, having a title on a piece can be a productive part of the act of communication ... titles also help readers/viewers to distinguish among various works in conversation and commentary ... it also may assist in creating a bit of understanding ... Richmond chose to do what he did ... fair enough ... with a twinkle in my eye, I'll express the thought that I'm thankful that Lennon and McCartney, just to name two, didn't continuously entitle their tunes "song" ... cheers, DaP


Your Host
Founding member
...a lot of comfy-feeders here I see...
Ah, the dreaded "comfy-feeders"!

Whatever that means.

Let's just put you back in the cage now...there you go...and put this cover over it...there. That's better.
Interesting! I had no idea there was further "chatter" on this discussion thread. This is Mike Daily. To everyone who took time to comment, THANK YOU for your thoughts.

On August 8, 2009, I got a message from poet and novelist Alan Kaufman, who contributed an excellent paragraph-quote to my article, "Gagaku Meat: The Steve Richmond Story." Kaufman recently placed his papers with University Delaware Special Collections. He wrote to say he included "Gagaku Meat" with his papers, in the Outlaw Bible selection. "You performed [a] nice piece of underground literary scholarship," Kaufman wrote. "Praise to you."

What I felt was rather "cosmic" about this was the fact that I received a letter from Steve Richmond on August 8th, and Richmond mentioned Kaufman (Kaufman's poem, "I Know How It Feels") in his letter. Richmond wrote, in part:

"Yes, Mr. [Justin] Hyde had
best poems in
and Kaufman's
(falling parakeet)
stays with me."

Thanks again,
Mr. Viced Honest (anagram for Steve Richmond)
Recording and performing project I did, based on Richmond and his work

Further Steve Richmond-Related Reading:
"Gagaku Meat and Influence" by Matthew Simmons, posted on HTMLGIANT.COM on July 7, 2009
"Reading Local Q & A: Mike Daily" posted on READINGLOCAL.COM on July 7, 2009
I just received Hitler Painted Roses in the mail today and am 96 pages into it... it works for me. Not everything but most of it anyways. Now aren't you glad I shared that with you! You're most welcome


Founding member
In 1986, I published a little collection by Steve Richmond called After. I had been publishing Bukowski in Clock Radio for a couple of years, and After was released as Ten Million Flies #5, a companion publication given out to subscribers of Clock Radio.