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Punk Rock Is Cool for the End of the World: Poems and Notebooks of Ed Smith

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In Punk Rock Is Cool for the End of the World, David Trinidad brings together a comprehensive selection of Ed Smith’s work: his published books; unpublished poems; excerpts from his extensive notebooks; photos and ephemera; and his timely “cry for civilization,” “Return to Lesbos”: put down that gun / stop electing Presidents. Ed Smith blazed onto the Los Angeles poetry sce In Punk Rock Is Cool for the End of the World, David Trinidad brings together a comprehensive selection of Ed Smith’s work: his published books; unpublished poems; excerpts from his extensive notebooks; photos and ephemera; and his timely “cry for civilization,” “Return to Lesbos”: put down that gun / stop electing Presidents. Ed Smith blazed onto the Los Angeles poetry scene in the early 1980s from out of the hardcore punk scene. The charismatic, nerdy young man hit home with his funny/scary off- the- cuff- sounding poems, like “Fishing”: This is a good line. / This is a bad line. This is a fishing line. Ed’s vibrant “gang” of writer and artist friends― among them Amy Gerstler, Dennis Cooper, Bob Flanagan, Mike Kelley, and David Trinidad― congregated at Beyond Baroque in Venice, on LA’s west side. They read and partied and per-formed together, and shared and published each others’ work. Ed was more than bright and versatile: he worked as a math tutor, an animator, and a typesetter. In the mid- 1990s, he fell in love with Japanese artist Mio Shirai; they married and moved to New York City. Despite productive years and joyful times, Ed was plagued by mood disorders and drug problems, and at the age of forty- eight, he took his own life. Ed Smith’s poems speak to living in an increasingly dehumanizing consumer society and corrupt political system. This “punk Dorothy Parker” is more relevant than ever for our ADD, technology- distracted times.


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In Punk Rock Is Cool for the End of the World, David Trinidad brings together a comprehensive selection of Ed Smith’s work: his published books; unpublished poems; excerpts from his extensive notebooks; photos and ephemera; and his timely “cry for civilization,” “Return to Lesbos”: put down that gun / stop electing Presidents. Ed Smith blazed onto the Los Angeles poetry sce In Punk Rock Is Cool for the End of the World, David Trinidad brings together a comprehensive selection of Ed Smith’s work: his published books; unpublished poems; excerpts from his extensive notebooks; photos and ephemera; and his timely “cry for civilization,” “Return to Lesbos”: put down that gun / stop electing Presidents. Ed Smith blazed onto the Los Angeles poetry scene in the early 1980s from out of the hardcore punk scene. The charismatic, nerdy young man hit home with his funny/scary off- the- cuff- sounding poems, like “Fishing”: This is a good line. / This is a bad line. This is a fishing line. Ed’s vibrant “gang” of writer and artist friends― among them Amy Gerstler, Dennis Cooper, Bob Flanagan, Mike Kelley, and David Trinidad― congregated at Beyond Baroque in Venice, on LA’s west side. They read and partied and per-formed together, and shared and published each others’ work. Ed was more than bright and versatile: he worked as a math tutor, an animator, and a typesetter. In the mid- 1990s, he fell in love with Japanese artist Mio Shirai; they married and moved to New York City. Despite productive years and joyful times, Ed was plagued by mood disorders and drug problems, and at the age of forty- eight, he took his own life. Ed Smith’s poems speak to living in an increasingly dehumanizing consumer society and corrupt political system. This “punk Dorothy Parker” is more relevant than ever for our ADD, technology- distracted times.

41 review for Punk Rock Is Cool for the End of the World: Poems and Notebooks of Ed Smith

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tosh

    I knew Ed Smith, and my memory of him is long phone conversations when he lived in New York City. Beyond that, this is a great book of poems and diary-like writings. David Trinidad did a remarkable job in collecting all of his writings for this one-volume. It serves as a tribute to Ed, but more important exposes his excellent poems/writings to a larger reading audience. What seems simple is actually deeply complexed poetry. As a young poet at that time, and especially around Beyond Baroque, I we I knew Ed Smith, and my memory of him is long phone conversations when he lived in New York City. Beyond that, this is a great book of poems and diary-like writings. David Trinidad did a remarkable job in collecting all of his writings for this one-volume. It serves as a tribute to Ed, but more important exposes his excellent poems/writings to a larger reading audience. What seems simple is actually deeply complexed poetry. As a young poet at that time, and especially around Beyond Baroque, I went to his readings to enjoy, but also learn the craft of giving an excellent reading. Ed was a very profound reader of his works, and his writings are superb. Excellent collection.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Jackson

    Today, I aspire to drunkenness And to a long swim Straight out from the shore And tonight I’ll sleep In the same fetal position That I’m standing in now. - Ed Smith Wonderfully edited and designed book of Ed Smith's succinct poems -- his two rare chapbooks plus many uncollected works that are often even better than the previously published material. It ends with his notebooks which detail the exciting ferment of the L.A. poetry scene in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Today, I aspire to drunkenness And to a long swim Straight out from the shore And tonight I’ll sleep In the same fetal position That I’m standing in now. - Ed Smith Wonderfully edited and designed book of Ed Smith's succinct poems -- his two rare chapbooks plus many uncollected works that are often even better than the previously published material. It ends with his notebooks which detail the exciting ferment of the L.A. poetry scene in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Schwarm

    Amazing. Absolutely amazing. The story of every Beyond Baroque Poet I meet 10 years after Ed. So good: Henry Rollins is a commercial version of me the poems are great, the journal is better--acid at Disneyland, bleeding, confusion, bus rides in LA, so much good stuff. The Blue Clues Wikipedia high light. The sadness and lost and utter insanity of the late period journal entries (and trip to China? WTF?!). But also goals a glory and loving ink flowing on paper and anxiety about readings and meeting r Amazing. Absolutely amazing. The story of every Beyond Baroque Poet I meet 10 years after Ed. So good: Henry Rollins is a commercial version of me the poems are great, the journal is better--acid at Disneyland, bleeding, confusion, bus rides in LA, so much good stuff. The Blue Clues Wikipedia high light. The sadness and lost and utter insanity of the late period journal entries (and trip to China? WTF?!). But also goals a glory and loving ink flowing on paper and anxiety about readings and meeting respected author and coming to love your circle and just oh so much goodness. ES is amazing and this book captures a very important voice in American poetics. Highly recommended mostly to West Coast Poets. Gold.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Trigilio

    This book is utterly breathtaking. Ed Smith’s writing is transcendent, bonkers, heartbreaking, and so fucking funny. I feel indebted to David Trinidad for bringing Smith’s work back into print and leaving such a mark on my psyche.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ereck

    Smith skirts poetry and life in late capitalist society. Not much going on here, it seems. Or, as another reviewer notes, it’s breathtaking. Or, from Trinidad’s intro, “more relevant than ever.” This handsome book wrecks me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rusty

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  10. 5 out of 5

    Leiris

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  13. 4 out of 5

    Babis Tzanakis

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tony

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sammi

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  18. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lily Moseni

  20. 4 out of 5

    Katya Kazbek

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Otchen Makai

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Felicetti

  25. 5 out of 5

    Skela

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Poetry Daily

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bjarke

  30. 5 out of 5

    Indre Bielskus

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jeffsroses

  32. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  33. 5 out of 5

    J.A. Carter-Winward

  34. 4 out of 5

    justin louie

  35. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  36. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  37. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Kay

  38. 4 out of 5

    Julie Farrington

  39. 4 out of 5

    Andreina

  40. 5 out of 5

    KatherineMayWilliams

  41. 4 out of 5

    Rebeca

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