Wantling is Wanting

Douglas Blazek flirted with COSMEP, but I am not going to hold it against him.  The Blaz is Mimeo Revolution through and through.  And at first glance so is William Wantling’s Down, Off & Out, published by Blazek’s Mimeo Press in 1965.  This is a chapbook version of OLE for the most part, same look and feel.  Cover illustration by da levy.  It is like Wantling blew this out himself on the San Quentin mimeography.  This is outlaw literature to be sure, but on a close reading Wantling never lets you forget that he really wanted to be an academic poet.  After serving time, he took the required courses and set off for the campus.  It is just another institution really.  In terms of walking the walk in their personal lives, I think Bukowski and Wantling are equals, but I think Buk talks the talk better in his poems.  The Buk of the 60s doesn’t give a fuck; he is banging the typer because his life and sanity depend on it.  Buk’s voice in his poems sounds like him singing in the shower, while trying to sober up.  Wantling is playing a role a bit, he is aware of an audience.  He assumes the pose of poet, as viewed by academics.  That is why Wantling dabbled with the sonnet and Bukowski never did as far as I know.  This is all a way of saying that Wantling’s Down, Off & Out looks tougher than it reads.  The poor printing, the weird size, and the handmade errata all tell you this is a mimeo publication, tell you it is a Blazek production.  But Wantling’s use of interjections gives him away.  That is pure posturing.  He wants to be institutionalized.  Not in San Quentin but in the academy.  Buk does not rely on exclamations or abstractions.  Buk devilish nature is in the details.



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