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Monday, January 28, 2013

Henry Denander The Accidental Navigator: New and Selected Poems and a Story. Lummox Press, San Pedro, CA, 2011, 125 pages.

This book consists of 50 new poems, 37 selected poems from Denander’s previous collections and an unusual short story ‘The Poetry of Mr Blue’. These are mostly first person, free verse narrative poems highly influenced by Charles Bukowski and Gerald Locklin. Denander, 60, lives between his native Stockholm, Sweden and Hydra Island in Greece. He has been publishing poetry since 1999 and is the editor of Kamini Press, a small press publisher of fine books.

The poems in this collection are diverse in subject matter and almost all are narrated from Denander’s point of view. You will find poems about childhood reminiscences, dreams, chance encounters, his fascination with Charles Bukowski, his various health issues, amusing conversations with his wife and young son, his take on the writing of poetry and numerous reflections on musicians and their music.

As Denander explains in his poem ‘How to write a poem’: ‘I try to write about almost everything; // the weather or just making observations on/ people passing on the street or what goes on/ in my head while having a cup of coffee down at/ Café Merci on Horngatan.’ Further to this in ‘All my jobs’ he states explicitly that his overall intent is to write poems based on his memory of his ‘interesting’ real life experiences: ‘Three years ago I started to write poetry and now/ I try to remember what I have done all my life to/ see if there was anything interesting to write a poem/ about.’ Some of his poems about writing poetry, such as, ‘Waiting for the line’ and ‘7 AM at the Zeus hotel’ are self reflexive and engage the reader in the writer’s own process of creation. In the latter poem he wakes up early in the small town of Tolo in Greece and observes the delivery vans and the swimmers headed for the beach: ‘I have a notebook and the book on Mycenae, I/ drink coffee, pat the dog and write some stuff in/ my notebook.// Stuff like this.’

The writing is highly accessible and is characteristically delivered in a self –effacing, understated tone. Many of the poems, especially the new material, work towards a terse, often ironic punch line. In ‘Interview’, for example, his friend The Waffle reads in a long interview of Denander in an American poetry magazine that he has given up alcohol. Asked whether this was true, the poet answers: ‘Maybe this is the thing that will make me/ a famous poet?’ In ‘Nursing’ he explains to his wife and son his cytoscopic operation for his kidney stone. A long instrument is inserted through his penis to remove the stone. His son William innocently asks, ‘Did there really have to be two nurses to do that?’ In ‘The last stanza’ Denander receives a rejection letter from an editor who mentions that he ‘really liked’ one of his poems until the last stanza. The narrator concludes: ‘I liked the letter from the editor/ except his last stanza.’ This cheeky, humane humour is delivered deadpan and is refreshing to read in the ocean of pretentious, self-obsessed poets.

As briefly noted above, the poems often derive from fond recollections of personal or professional anecdotes. Denander worked as a financial manager for an independent Swedish record company and later ran his own business as a manager for Swedish artists for over ten years. Several of the poems provide Denander’s reflections on musicians who he has seen in concert or has had financial dealings with, such as Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Dave Liebman,  Jimmy Cobb and others. One of the better poems in this category is ‘Patrons are requested to keep as quiet as possible during the artistes performance’ about Denander’s attendance at a Ronnie Scott concert at the Portobella Hotel in the Notting Hill area in London. After talking drunkingly to his friend Lars through most of the show, he chats with his client Chet Baker and other band members until six in the morning. The flute player complains about the noisy crowd but Denander doesn’t let on that ‘they were/ talking to/ the two loudest/ troublemakers/ in the/ audience.’

The poem ‘headache & a cup of coffee’ is a fine, representative example of Denander’s poetry: 

headache and a cup of coffee

keith jarrett is fingering away
some well known melodies
all by himself 
more controlled than he usually is
hesitating to take off without the bass
and the drums 
perhaps waiting for them
to arrive 
trying to get the guts to go to the office
and do some work this Saturday but
i´ve got a headache and
i ended up in front of the computer 
my wife and young son are visiting the Mother-in-law over the weekend 
i will call them later
tell them i have been working all day
i am surfing on the net and sending emails and
answering letters and writing a long poem
about the time i met chet baker in london
in 1986 
making a cup of coffee from the greek coffee that
we brought home from hydra
it´s nescafé but in the greek way

tastes great
stir it into hot milk and you are
in java paradise
it started to snow again yesterday
bad news
now it´s five in the afternoon and
still light outside
i think the winter
will slowly leave now
thinking of writing a poem about just nothing
or perhaps about the things i have been doing today 
i´ll think about it 
we'll see

(reprinted with the permission of the author)

The poem has a spontaneous feel to it and is driven through a free flow of associations, both past and present. It incorporates the clear first person/ free verse signature style of the poet and many of his central motifs- the centrality of music and family in his life, headaches, his dual Swedish/Greece lifestyle and his reflections on the writing process. Near the end of the poem he writes: ‘it started to snow again yesterday/ bad news/ now it’s five in the afternoon and/ still light outside/ I think the winter/ will slowly leave now// thinking about writing a poem about just nothing/ or perhaps about the things I have been doing today.’ He concludes with the ironic, self reflexive punch line: ‘I’ll think about it// we’ll see.’

In a very recent Rusty Truck interview ( Denander told Scott Young, ‘I don’t write much poetry these days.’ Instead  he appears to enjoy his day to day life without having to resort to the word: ‘a really good day is spent on a September day on Hydra Island in Greece with my family, writing some letters in the  morning, breakfast with figs from the garden, reading Murakami, siesta below the orange tree, painting some water colors or drawing with ink in  the afternoon, a swim from the cliffs when the sun is cooler and then some Kalamari at Dimitri’s tavern at night.’

He also says in the interview that the poetry of Charles Bukowski was the greatest influence on his art and writing, but that he never deliberately imitated him. Bukowski ‘opened up the poetry thing’ for Denander by making him see that there were no limits to what you could write about, ‘I have never tried to write like Bukowski. I have written about family and music and work and travels, it was just so refreshing that you could write about almost anything and find your own poem – as long as it has some rhythm and soul.'

Denander mentions in the Rusty Truck interview that he collects Bukowski memorabilia and has a signed copy of most of his first editions. ‘At the racetrack’, ‘A record and a letter,’ ‘The SASE’ and ‘Wormwood Review’ are all about Denander’s attempts to order Bukowski related stuff. In ‘The SASE’, for example, he discusses his prized framed Bukowski self-addressed envelope he bought on eBay and which now hangs framed on his wall. In ‘A record and a letter’ he narrates how in 1982 he received a Buk record direct from the legend & had later received a brief note from him after he had written Bukowski in a complimentary way about his second novel Factotum. Denander concludes the poem: ‘These things/ made me/ feel honoured in some/ strange way.’

Overall, this is a mature, highly readable collection in the Bukowski tradition. The writing is immediately accessible and focuses on memorable incidents in Henry Denander’s life. He provides inspiration to fledgling writers on how to shape their own experience into poetry. He writes about ordinary stuff in a clean, non bullshit way. Perhaps Denander has finished mining the narrative gold of his life and has written himself out. Time will tell.


For the best price buy the book here (free delivery):

Check out Henry Denander’s website where he features his poetry & artwork. He incredibly includes ninety-four of his poems many which appear in The Accidental Navigator or in his previous collections:

On the Lummox Press website find some blurbs and three poems from the collection: ‘It was like seeing a ghost walking the port at Hydra’, ‘Nursing’ and ‘At the Racetrack.’

For an example of his water colour paintings of jazz & blues musicians see ‘Miles Davis’ and ‘Blues for retirement’on Poetry Dispatch:

Find four poems from the collection ‘Beauty Sleep’, ‘The revenge of the couch potato’ ‘Accept your name’ and The SASE’ on Poet Hound here:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lawrence Gladeview Lowlifes, Fast Times & Occasionally Love. Erbacce-Press Publications, Liverpool, UK (2012), 28 pages.

In Gladeview’s slim second collection of poems Lowlifes, Fast Times & Occasionally Love, he continues to use his sparse, self effacing style to explore ordinary situations: making out in the back seat of a car, talking to people in bars and of the many misunderstandings between people which derive from a confusion over what words mean.

These are clear, uncluttered poems which everyone can read and understand the first time around. The poems are tightly constructed and deceptively simple, but because of their brevity, they lack intensity or depth.  Gladeview’s  poetry is transparently obvious and does not intend to explore darker boundaries.

In his micro poems, Gladeview’s style and subject matter are highly reminiscent of John Yamrus's, the American poet. Both poets use dissected lower case prose, frequently incorporate direct speech and both work towards a mildly humorous yet wry comment on life.

Here are two fine representative examples of Gladeview’s work in Lowlifes, Fast Times & Occasionally Love. They exude a cheeky humour and infer that the 'lowlife' can bring luck & perhaps valour. They are reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Pulling Away

my place
in his
65 riviera
told me

i lit
& said
stop off


the radiator
gave up
& the
miles ago

i have
a sixer
of warm
in the
& half
a pack
of winstons
in my
shirt pocket

i’d say
my odds
pretty damn

In the final analysis, in rereading Gladeview’s book this afternoon, I kept thinking about Bukowski’s famous comment to his friend Jory Sherman in 1961 from which we can all learn: ‘I think a man should be forced to write in a roomful of skulls, bits of raw meat hanging, nibbled by fat slothy rats, the sockets musicless staring into the wet ether-sogged, love-sogged, hate-sogged brain, and forevermore the rockets and flares and chains of history winging like bats, bat-flap and smoke and skulls ringing in the beer.’

Bukowski was ranting to his friend about what he found fault with the Masters: ‘I have just read the immortal poems of the ages and come away dull. I don’t know who’s at fault; maybe it’s the weather, but I sense a lot of pretense and poesy footwork: I am writing a poem, they seem to say, look at me! Poetry must be forgotten; we must get down to raw paint, splatter.’

In Gladeview you will find no pretense, no fancy poesy footwork- just some measured streaks of ink down the page to fondly & gently tug at the meat of things.


For further information about Gladeview’s poetry check out his website:

Monday, January 21, 2013

BOOK REVIEW/ INTERVIEW: Zarina Zabrisky IRON. Epic Rites Press, Sherwood Park, Alberta Canada (2012) 79 pages

This is Zarina Zabrisky’s first collection of short stories. She grew up in St Petersburg in the former Soviet Union and now lives in San Francisco. She has been writing prose for many years but only decided to show her work to others & seek publication in 2010. In the interview which follows this book review, Zabrisky provides numerous insights into her personal background, her writing processes and the production and design of IRON. If you wish to follow her work further, you will also find links to some of her best online short stories and public readings on YouTube.

Zabrisky’s collection IRON consists of four short stories which are easily read in an hour. The writing is clear & highly sensuous & which immediately sweep the reader into her quirky, dark world. The stories are raw but with an extraordinary vividness and unusual immediacy. The characters are highly credible and appear drawn from real life. They are typically streetwise, & unknown to them, they are headed towards threshold experiences which will totally unhinge their lives. The beauty of the writing, particularly in the longer stories, The Hungry Duck and IRON, is the vicarious way in which Zabrisky spears the reader into the heart of the characters’ disintegration. It is interesting for us to see how various characters deal with their trauma and grief and whether they can reassemble their pieces to regenerate themselves.

The short stories are diverse and strikingly original in concept. ‘Weeping Poppies’ is a grim story told from the perspective of Legs, a teenage female junky. With her down & out friends, Philosopher & Pilot, she raids poppy plants from suburban backyards in Still Hills, a couple of hours by train north of Leningrad. The language is simple but highly figurative, with an emphasis on colour imagery. The title derives from the saying ‘the one who sees poppies weep will weep forever.’ After the poppies grey stems  are cut to steal them, they weep a milky substance which the addicts collect with surgical gauge and then seal in plastic bags. The weeping poppies become emblematic of the sickness Legs feels within her. While staring at the poppies, Legs comments: ‘The yellow whorls inside the flowers look sick like me.’

‘The Cross of David’ is set in San Francisco and is initially about David, an atheist, who wants to start an online business to cynically sell people hope and protection in these ‘challenging times’. The story is narrated in two parts by an unnamed Russian woman, presumably the author, who has immigrated to America. The first part is essentially a satire on the fakery of American middle class lifestyles as embodied by David & Peggy’s wealthy but unexamined lives. David’s crass entrepreneurial exploitation of the cross is sharply contrasted with tragic associations the narrator draws from the cross as revealed in an extended flashback in the second part of the story through her best friend Alina, to whose memory the book is dedicated. This compelling story was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012.

‘The Hungry Duck’ is a third person narrative which is the most daring and experimental in the collection. Carl is an arrogant American businessman, who at the beginning of the story, is pressuring his fling Nadya to kick her ‘loser’ cousin Sergey out of Carl’s apartment or she will also go. While Carl is away making another suspect deal, Nadya arranges to meet her friend Victoria at the Duck. The Hungry Duck is the actual name of a nightclub in Moscow ‘just around the corner from the central KGB building’. It was rumoured in the 1980s ‘that the management slipped date rape drugs into drinks.’ After the women down their wine they seem to float and ‘soon men were everywhere.’ The reader is taken on a sensuous, ‘living, breathing’ hallucination in which anything is possible & which ends in a nightmarish vision.

The title story IRON is a clever, complex tale told from the point of view of Vera, a grieving young Russian woman who travels for a holiday with her 16 year-old sister Marina to the Black Sea after her fiancé Igor is killed during the Chechnya conflict. Like the other stories, there is an emphasis on dialogue to propel the narratives and it is usually sharp, relevant and credible. The opening to the short story is bold & immediately sucks in the reader: ‘We got kidnapped on a steamy hot day in Tbilisi’. What follows is a road story which is unpredictable and shocking as events gradually spin out of control for the girls. The meaning behind the central symbol of iron becomes blurred and takes many forms, both threatening and life affirming.

The cover illustration by SAMMY! provides the reader a sniff of what to expect from within IRON’s pages. The predominant colour is blood red, a significant motif throughout the stories. In fact, as revealed in the interview which follows, Zabrisky says that the red background was created by SAMMY! using magnified blood cells. In the top left-handed corner of the cover there is a parody of the Soviet flag. The iconic hammer & sickle is replaced by a hammer & a woman’s high heeled-shoe. SAMMY! says of this eye-catching design: ‘My design was based on the theme of "Iron:" power.  Zabrisky's post-Soviet women reinvent themselves. The high heel stiletto shoe represents the desire to regain power that traditionally belongs to man and the totalitarian state without losing the femininity.’ 

Each of the four stories is bookmarked by a striking black & white photo by Julie Sparenberg. The photos feature close-ups of paper-mache mannequins, dolls heads stuffed in jars & a female mask & bust defiantly peering into the distance behind a cast- iron balustrade. In the interview which follows, Zabrisky lauds Sparenberg’s work & how it skillfully captures the tone she wishes to express in her own writing: ‘I find something heart-breakingly tragic, yet heroic in Sparenberg's mannequins. They are so fragile, so artificially beautiful; their eyes are like Modigliani's models eyes, empty, yet full, dark, yet naive and hopeful. Haunting, stunning images. I knew they belonged to "Iron" when I saw them.’
Zarina Zabrisky’s first collection IRON is an exciting but limited achievement. The main problem is that the collection is very short, and after four short stories, readers are only just beginning to sink their fangs into Zabrisky’s world. The primary success of Zabrisky’s writing derives from her ability, particularly in her longer stories, to take ordinary situations & then to drag her characters through the debris, the inexplicable, the terrors- where women are called upon to make important decisions to change their lives or to save their skins. What makes these stories unique, are their Russian, feminist, post-communist perspectives, told by a street-wise immigrant to America, in English.

Interview with Zarina Zabrisky 18 January 2013:

BOLD MONKEY: In ‘The Hungry Duck’ you include a nightmarish image of the Lubyanka, the KGB headquarters in Moscow and Nadya’s hateful scream of the Soviet National Anthem. Can you explain to the reader what it was like to grow up under the Soviet regime?

My friends and I created imaginary countries under kitchen tables and built sand castles on the beach.  We sensed that the grown ups around us lived a double life.  What you could safely say at home, in your own kitchen, you would never repeat at school.  We learned to adjust.  I always look under the dust cover of the book to make sure the title is the same... that was not the case on my parents' bookshelf.  My father taught me to think on my own, to never take for granted anything I heard or read.  For example, we owned copies of books published in the West, like Master and Margarita, and he'd show me how pages and pages were missing in the censored version published in the Soviet Union. 

BM: I know you like to keep a certain mysteriousness about your past, but can you briefly describe the circumstances in which you were able to migrant to America and eventually to San Francisco?

I came to America with a cat, an old suitcase filled with books, and a dream.  I keep seeing this dream: sailing to New York onboard a Titanic-like liner. In reality it was an Aeroflot plane landing in San Francisco.

BM: You have previously described yourself as a street artist, translator, and kickboxing instructor. Can you describe the impact your various occupations and travels have had on your writing?

I always had to work, since the age of sixteen, since I needed to provide for my family.  My father had a terminal disease and my mother was taking care of him.  I also had a child very early in life, and I was the bread-winner.  I jumped on any job I could get.  It worked for writing: "Write what you know" is good advice.

I miss my translating and interpreting gigs. They have always been a part of my life-long love affair with languages.  Merging languages is not just an intricate and titillating word play--like the game of glass beads.  It is a chance to slip inside someone's head.  You feel how people think: via their syntax , the words they choose, and the way they drawl.  Extra-body experience. For writing dialogues--invaluable.  

Being a translator also took me around the world.  I got lost in the Siberian taiga in the midst of winter, survived a car crash a few miles from the Arctic Circle, saw flamingoes sleeping in the salt lakes of Kazakhstan, stayed in a castle in Ireland, and flew a helicopter over the Russian-Chinese border. 

My kickboxing teacher was a martial arts guru and a musician.  He taught me to execute every move--and every word--with precision and to the beat.  Rhythm is critical for writing. 

I wrote about my, well, career path--or lack of thereof--in "Undies and Dough."  I was honored to find out that this story got nominated for the Pushcart prize.  It resonates with high school and college students because there is so much pressure on youth: "What are you going to do with your life? Are you going to be successful?"  For me, the question is, "Are we defined by the way we are seen? Or, are we defined by our inner truth?"  

BOLD MONKEY: In your Radio Valencia interview with David Eugene you mention that you had been writing privately for a long time. What prompted you to show your writing to others and what are some of responses thus far? 

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I get cranky if I don't get to write!  I'm not sure why I had the need to share my writing with people.  It might have been a fear of death.  I started to show my stories to friends after my mother died.  I didn't have much luck with my family and old friends.  Most of them told me to write in Russian or go back to building a corporate career.   I am glad I was stubborn, though.  I did find writer-friends to exchange stories with, and, gradually, step-by-step, overcame my fear of sharing.  The San Francisco Writers Workshop helped a lot. 

It was a pleasant surprise to find a publisher and see many stories published and even nominated for awards. I was honored to receive a warm acceptance from readers over the last year.  Three of my stories (including "The Cross of David" from my IRON collection) got nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

BM: What goes on in your mind before you write? Do you think in English? Where do the stories come from? Is your writing carefully planned and crafted? Do you do much editing?

I feel that my mind is a swirling ocean of images, dreams, and words.  Then, there are triggers.  A strange shadow in the cracked asphalt.  A question mark of a hair in the sink. Kundera said to stay away from metaphors because they give birth to love. I say, and to stories.  Stories are like love and dreams.  Inexplicable.  

I'm not sure I "think" when I write.  The stories arrive in English, yes.  Once in a while there is a vagabond Russian or even French or Latin word, but those are caught and translated on the spot. 

Editing is the last touch.  It is like doing hair or make-up.  Every detail matters.  Every eye-lash should belong.  Every beauty mark should be there for a reason.  It is tedious but can be perversely pleasurable, say, like tweezing.  
BM: Who are some of your literary influences? Can you recommend any young Russian writers who are available in translation?

 This question opens a door to the whole other discussion on literature. Allow me to quote from my novel "We, Monsters": My grandmother Rosa did not go to church, but she surely was religious.  Her religion was Literature. ... The only way Grandma Rosa could survive in the world of rotten potato peels and urine-smelling toilets was by escaping into her fantasy world.  The fantasies and miracles were canned and stored on her bookshelves, the same way watermelons were pickled and stored by our neighbor Aunt Ludmila in glass jars. I grew up believing that material possessions came and went, people died, and daily preoccupations were futile and transient.  The only meaningful things were literature and art.  Despite everything the Communists told us, there was life after death.  It was in books.  This was my grandmother’s religion, and she passed it on to me." 

I was formed by a variety of the books from my family bookshelves: from mythology and folk fairy tales to William Blake to Jim Morrison--I quote him in "The Hungry Duck" story in IRON--to Milan Kundera to Zen monks’ death poetry.  

Russian literature holds a special place in my heart.  I was so pleased and rejoiced to read the IRON review by James Warner, author of All Her Father's Guns: "Zabrisky follows in the tradition of Nikolai Gogol, using witty nightmarish realism to illuminate Russian dysfunctionality."

So, Gogol, of course. Dostoevsky's characters feel like my family members.  I re-read War and Peace every two years--at least. Russian poetry does not translate too well, but Pushkin and Lermontov are essential part of forming most Russian-speaking writers and readers. I feel a special connection to Nabokov; I was thrilled to find out that, like me, he was synesthetic.
Victor Pelevin is an interesting modern Russian author.  I really enjoyed "Yellow Arrow." 

BOLD MONKEY: Many writers see readings as a last resort. Why have you embraced public readings so eagerly to date? 

Readings turned out to be an amazing discovery.  Not only did I meet many incredible writers but I also found out that I have a voice.  I've never been on stage and reading my work to a live audience turned out to be liberating and empowering.  I am very grateful for this opportunity.  

BM: Can you briefly explain your dealings with Epic Rites Press. How did they first approach you to publish your work and what were they like to work with?

Praise and admiration.  I'm in awe of Epic Rites Press.  Julie Michelle Sparenberg, acclaimed SF photographer, and a friend of mine, introduced my stories to Wolf Carstens.  We clicked right away.  ERP published my first book, IRON, and it was a smooth, elegant, and exciting ride.  Wolf Carstens is a multi-talented publisher with a passion for all things literature.  He takes no prisoners and means business.  I could not dream of a better publisher.

BM: SAMMY’S inclusion of Julie Sparenberg’s black & white photos in IRON are marvelous in capturing the tone of your writing in a symbol way. Can you explain the background to the photos and their use as short story headers?

I am so lucky to have these marvelous artists as my dream-team.  SAMMY gets my stories on a gut level and responds with imagery that feels like my own.  He incorporated Sparenberg's photography, rich in nuances and visual metaphors, into the very core of the book.  So, I feel that reading became an all sensory experience.  I love holding the book, feeling its texture, and looking at the illustrations. 

I can see the essence of my story "Iron" in the curve of the mannequin's neck, in the balcony's cast-iron roses.  The image captured its longing, pain, sadness and--strangely--joy.  I find something heart-breakingly tragic, yet heroic in Sparenberg's mannequins. They are so fragile, so artificially beautiful; their eyes are like Modigliani's models eyes, empty, yet full, dark, yet naive and hopeful. Haunting, stunning images. I knew they belonged to "Iron" when I saw them.  

The cover is characteristic of SAMMY's art. Striking, laconic and edgy, it sums up four stories in a splash of color and a clever icon.  I was thrilled when SAMMY showed me the photo of the magnified blood cell he used to create the texture of the dripping-red background.  In his own words, "My design was based on the theme of "Iron:" power.  Zabrisky's post-Soviet women reinvent themselves. The high heel stiletto shoe represents the desire to regain power that traditionally belongs to man and the totalitarian state without losing the femininity."

BOLD MONKEY: Where do you go from here? What projects do you have in the pipeline?

 I am so excited and grateful for all the opportunities that 2013/2014 are presenting.  I have two books forthcoming, my second short story collection from ERP and my debut novel from Numina Press.  The short story collection, "Odd Foods and Funerals," explores the mysteries of love and death in exile.  My novel "We, Monsters" tells the story of a Californian soccer mom moonlighting as a dominatrix.  Its main theme is fantasies--literary and sexual.  It took me over seven years to write and I am both thrilled and frightened to see it published.

I am also working on new writing: a novel and two short story collections, one set at an oilfield in Kazakstan where I once worked. All I can wish for is more time. 

Thanks Zarina, for your extraordinarily detailed responses!

I really appreciate your time and interest.

Further Links 

You can purchase Iron on Zabrisky’s website found here:

Here are two excellent examples of Zabrisky short stories linked to her site:

‘Fortuna Destina’ from Blue Stem Magazine:

‘Speed’ from Fiction 365:

Suggested Readings on You Tube:

Zabrisky reads in full ‘Weeping Poppies’ the first short story of the collection:

Interview: Radio Valencia- Drinks With Tony:
Zabrisky fields some general questions, reads from the third story in the collection ‘The Hungry Duck’ and plays contemporary Russian songs.

Critical Review:
SF Gate: