A.J. Kaufmann: The Bard of Poznan

We last chewed the fat in June 2008 . What have you been up to since then?

Well, first of all I’ve had two more chapbooks published with Kendra Steiner Edtions, “Antiquewhite Rain” inspired by the German rocker Inga Rumpf and “Symbolisme Psychedelique”, dedicated to Sky Sunlight Saxon, who sadly passed away this June… both chapbooks are very musical, but also draw heavily from various cut-up techniques… I’ve tried painting with words the way Jean Michel Basquiat did with his graffiti early on… you know, SAMO and all that stuff… I got obsessed with Basquiat at one point in my life… I’ve been to Paris and Morocco, I lived at Rue Beautreillis for a while, right after moving from Kreuzberg, Berlin and now I live in Poland again, at the very same apartment where my first poems were written. I finally got my music published, my new CD is titled Radio Partisanen and features live radio recordings done on October 9 2008 in Berlin. It’s very chaotic, the performances are rather weak and the only instruments featured are my voice and acoustic guitar, it’s also completely live, unedited and contains no overdubs. It’s a very primitive recording, the “radio studio” was actually a hotel room, but I guess this CD works fine as a document of my Kreuzberg musical presence, as an “official bootleg”, how it’s called, plus these are the only recordings of my songs ever done, not counting a one-song 2007 demo – “In-between” and some really bad recordings with Meth Death Band. I guess it’s worth to buy a copy of Radio Partisanen, it’s only $8 and it’s rather worth the price… In other news, keep an eye on Virgogray Press, there’s my new chapbook, “Broke Nuptial Minds” upcoming real soon… and, of course keep an eye on New Polish Beat and Kendra Steiner Editions… “Blues for Duffy Power”, my second collab with Bill Shute is almost ready to rock the small press world… so is “Campers in Babylon”, my new collection of lyrics for New Polish Beat.

You’ve recently started up New Polish Beat, your very own small press that puts out some of your own writing and writing from other people such as my good self. What made you decide to start up a small press?

I’ve decided to start up New Polish Beat out of pure curiosity – I wanted to see if books by contemporary Western poets could sell well in the East European market… and if my books could sell in Poland… being known mostly in the USA, UK and Germany I figured out I needed more recognition in my homeland… plus I guess I had too much money…I got directly inspired by Bill Shute’s KSE, in fact the New Polish Beat books are very, very similar to KSE format… maximum 10 pages, not much additional info, just the poems, a nice cover art and some basic publisher contact info… no biographies, no blurbs, no photos… I let the poems speak for themselves…there’s also, of course, no other press like this in the entire Poland, nobody really publishes modern English language poetry here in D.I.Y. aesthetic, and certainly not by the authors I’ve got on board… so I guess that makes me and Poznan real proud… I feel like a small press pioneer in my country… a young, twisted bastard with a fuck-it-all attitude…which is good, I really need a new fire, something to start me up…

Tell me some more about both Earth Lyre and Exile Deutschland, what inspired both of these collections?

I wanted to have a free e-book out… seemed a natural thing to do for a poet with D.I.Y., underground attitude… I started selecting the poems, rewriting some older material, cutting up and modifying the text, and I ended up having so much material, that there was not one, but two free e-books made… I’m aware of the fact that KSE and NPB print their books in really, really small editions – under 100 copies each in KSE’s case, and just 25 copies for New Polish Beat… those chapbooks quickly sell out, and if you’re not fast or lucky enough they’re gone before you even noticed they were published… my two other books, “Pilgrims & Indians” and “Insane in Rome” are constantly available, as far as I know they’re both print-on-demand, which is perfect… but of course they’re not free… so, there’s “Earth Lyre” and “Exile Deutschland!” for anyone who doesn’t like to, want to or simply can’t pay cash for my books… I mean, they’re really cheap and all, but I realize some people can’t even afford their bread… anyway, I hope my readers will enjoy both these e-books as much as they enjoy the actual, printed books… and that some people who missed my first chapbooks will get their hands on these e-books… one fine thing about e-books is that they never go out of print… I love it… what more… “Earth Lyre” is more of an experimental collection, coming from the period when I was obsessed with Jean Michel Basquiat, and “Exile Deutschland!” are basically recollections from Kreuzberg… living there leaves a deep burning mark on everyone… I can’t say much about these collections, you’ll simply have to read them… I think talking about poetry is bullshit… living poetry is just so much better…


Taken from ‘Earth Lyre’

The Prodigal Years

applaud the girl
her creature wears
another draperies
vague and awkward
human spaces

drunken own actors
few shelves of fame
black & crimson Nile
sleeps unfortunate
stale luxurious victim

crack noisy highways
enigmatic commons
swear out of money
credit the criminal
wax lights

blood blessings, brother
in gardens thin and hovering
in lost faces of rivers
plenty mind fingers
cool heaven

drunken distributed religion
inaccessible houses
sad, comfortless spheres
surgeon shanty
the labyrinth of beggars

contemplation changed again
a steady alcove
the ruined luck
vital murderer
the prodigal years


the sea, the laughter
a ruined street
waterfall churchyards
music speaks
strangest of tongues
white mournful winds
in moonlight mirrors
French horns
galactic pancakes
mist by waters
airy hearts
saintly wild
bear sorrow
to the wasteland
ghastly windows
well beyond blood
gothic watch-dogs
thick golden harbors
sailing below
Charon sails
crimson flags

Fool the clocks

few touches survive
owning her history
longing the cold
fireworks taste
the recent spirit

jealous handwriting
sailing humble selves
into woollen mansions
of seasons
the story performed
sails forsaken
& drawback poems
elevate the truth

thin suggestions
pierce the natural
imperial subjects
of greed
mild silken
murmured midnights
lamps follow

the departed spoke
in furious instruments
hidden at love
seen w/ winds
painted warnings
humming the heart
pass usual lips
fooling the clocks

Taken from Exile Deutschland

We drove to the turquoise sky

We drove to the turquoise sky
snow-wind Leonardo
surfing land
weeping in snow
circles of time
into century
flashed fragile
a telephone frame
moon candles
in love w/ death
old boundless
entered the restless wild
sick lantern-light
nests angry, confused
living different
standing on clouds
coated in Luna

Crow Recital

crow recital
clothes under laughter
funeral stockings
fire orators
thoughts of cross
death struggle
figures disgraced

crow recital
villains of hands absinthe
young models
artless furniture
thundering clarinet
fixed imperious
in cloudy trees

crow recital, girl
piles of eyes
cold, artificial
last theaters
Olympic, shaken
walking on soft asylums
persuaded views and applause
life’s tight uniforms

Their Sails

golden angels shapes
tear-drops instinct
as agony
fathomed quotes
purged youth, intuition
childhood’s marks
failure mysteries
leak professions
profane and decay
the endless view
plant presence
blindly rejoiced
monks fully in nothingness
tornado solution
labored eyes
past scope instrument slain
bold be repulsion
smooth science
among illumination, magic
school-rooms their sails

To read more from A.J. Kaufmann check out:

5 thoughts on “A.J. Kaufmann: The Bard of Poznan

  1. ” Crow Recital ”

    — ” Just another sparkling example of why AJ KAUFMANN
    is considered by many to be the #1 most dangerous writer crafting in the Polish / English language… ”

    — Danzr Von Thai
    ” Parkerville Revisited “

  2. Dear poets,

    The Aquillrelle 2nd poetry contest is in full swing. This is just a reminder that you are personally invited to join our second contest.

    Cash prizes await the winners, and publication the other finalists.

    So, if you trust your poetry’s beauty, you are heartily welcome to submit.

    Contest rules

    1. Participants must be above 18 years of age, or sponsored by such a person.

    2. Any style accepted ? rhyme, no rhyme, nature, family, erotica, personal, society, humor, etc.

    3. We apply no censorship, however it is fair to tell you up front that poems encouraging hate, violence, pornography, derogation of others, drug abuse, and similar ? have no chance of winning. Of course, if such aspects are relevant and necessary as part of the ?story? ? then there is no problem in using them.

    4. The specific conditions of each individual contest must be adhered to.

    5. Proven plagiarism will result in indefinite banning from the site.

    6. Poems must be between 10 and 50 lines long, empty lines included. This limitation might change occasionally, if specified in the individual contest. Submissions should be in .doc format.

    participation and prizes

    1. Any number of entries per contestant, grouped in groups of 5 poems with each group priced independently (see pricing lower down).

    2. Participation is charged at:

    – first entry $5
    – second entry $4
    – third and fourth entry $3 each
    – fifth entry free

    To be paid uniquely by Paypal.

    Please select the number of poems you wish to submit, and the relevant submission fee.

    Entries expected and accepted until 31 May 2010.

    Contest results will be published on 31 July 2010.

    The Aquillrelle team


    Aquillrelle contest is listed and verified by:


    Please forward this newsletter to your fellow poets, writers and artists. Thank you.

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