Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rob Woodard Commentary

"Port of Long Beach" came out of my day-to-day life. When I find that I've been sitting too long at the computer, or that I just can't stand teaching anthropology and biology for one second longer, I get on my bike and head for the wilds of Long Beach, which usually means a jaunt along the coast. The stupid stinking gray-veined harbor looms like a polluting Goliath over this town. Any Long Beach poet who doesn't incorporate it at least occasionally into his or her work, as the saying goes, is probably a liar or a fool or both.

On "Orange Crush:" Southern California has been founded on lies: invasive plant and animal species, Hollywood films, and the belief that all the water we've stolen from the Owens Valley, Arizona, and Northern California is native to this place and therefore we deserve its bounty. The citrus trees of this region lie at the heart of this scam. This is partially their story, but mostly a fantasy: one lie triumphing over the others, mainly because it's more attractive than its competition. Oh yeah, I sent this poem to Gary Snyder and he said he liked it. This vindicates me as a poet and a man.

Rob Woodard was born in Anaheim, California, back when giants walked the earth and was raised mostly in the nearby Long Beach area, where he still lives today. He is the author of the novel Heaping Stones (2005 Burning Shore Press). His novels What Love Is and Backwaters of Beauty and his poetry book King of Long Beach are trapped in different stages of the endless publication process. His poems and other scribblings can be found all over the web. In a recent interview, Rob said he'd rather be his generation's Brian Wilson than its Charles Bukowski. Though no one really understood what he meant by this, soon after, Bukowski fans burned down his house and raped his girlfriend, just to be on the safe side.

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