Everything I’ve written or made in the aftermath of my wife’s sudden passing in 2015 is here, in multiple formats, for free, accessible via the drop-down menus above. Status, fame, and especially money–those fruits of external validation and public recognition–all appeared irrelevant, impertinent really, from the shadow of that loss. So “free” was important to me. And time felt most pressing: I wanted my work out there RIGHT NOW. This website is the way I accomplished all that: free, here, right now. I also self-create paperback versions of all my books using the tools available online, where I sell them at cost (except for my two scholarly books, which are owned and priced by their publisher.) I’m now retired (I was an English professor at the University of Pittsburgh for the last 37 years of my 40+ year career; here is a link to a thumbnail CV of my academic credentials: KameenCVFull adjusted for PDF ), and I live in Olympia, Washington. I describe briefly below each of the major headings in the top banner. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Books of Poems and Essays
Today (August 17) I uploaded my newest book of essays, Living Hidden, which explores an ongoing process of self-change of the sort we all engage in at one time or another in our lives, either needing or wanting to become “someone other that ourselves,” an ambition that seems impossibly self-contradictory. Yet it happens over and over in the human universe, making it possible both for individuals and societies to improve themselves over time, instead of remaining captive to attitudes, values and behaviors that are no longer productive, are even dysfunctional. It is a story that celebrates the hopefulness that such transformations both depend on and inspire. (Under Books: Personal Essays)
slights: my new tiny poems from here not there (2020) is my latest collection of poems, all written since I moved to Olympia, a different style and form than I was writing in Pittsburgh, short lines, crisp images, sound-based. I add new poems as I write them. I recently (4/5/20) added a new unit of “shelter in place” tiny poems, which I’ll keep extending until all of this passes. The most recent update was 6/2/20, some additional “shelter in place poems,” and a couple of poems in a new section called “tiny poems grow the fuck up.” (Under Poetry Books.)
Harvest: Essays on Time from Olympia (2019) explores the mysterious contours of temporality in the human condition. Founded on my daily woods-walks and drawing material from a variety of poets and theoretical physicists I was reading at the time, I offer, among many other things, a new way of thinking about the relationship between future and past as they intersect right now. (Under Books: Personal Essays.)
(all books available here for free in PDF form or at cost via Amazon.com)
Original Music Album
A new album (with songs I wrote in April 2020) called “Self-isolation: songs measured in COVID-19 time,” with a few COVID-19 anthems and several personal songs about being alone. (Songs: first item or http://paulkameen.bandcamp.com)
Neighborhood walks in Olympia slideshows
While the woods were closed here I walked around my neighborhood, equally amazing to me, taking photos, which I’ve assembled into almost-daily sideshows with soundtracks that seemed to fit the mood of the day, some with classic songs I’m covering, some with songs I wrote. Below is a link to the Youtube folder containing all the walks. Each was accompanied by a brief note when I initially sent it out to family and friends, mostly explaining my soundtrack choice. These are included with the slideshows:
5/26: I just created “Page” for these, one of the drop-down menus above, if access is easier for you there. I also just created an album of all the songs that serve as soundtracks for these slideshows. It’s on my “Songs” page, second item. Nice songs, some original, most covers of great songs.
Newest Cover Albums
Most recently, “That Old Black Magic” (spring 2020), super-sweet songs, mostly from the 30s and 40s, my favorite songs to sing; a Buddy Holly tribute album (fall 2019), one of my favorite all-time voices; a “radio music” album of mostly 1920’s classics, “My Blue Heaven” (winter 2020) (All under Songs, first few playlists.)
I’ve written seven books of personal essays over the last 4 years, all based on my daily walks in the woods. The series was originally inspired by my memory of the walks I took with my wife prior to her passing in 2015 and has since taken on a life of its own. All of these books are available for free, here, via the drop-down menu above, and in paperback form, at cost, on Amazon.com via my Amazon author’s page link, above. This Fall, Last Spring and First, Summer are also available as audiobooks here and, in the case of This Fall, on Audible.com.
Living Hidden explores a variety of issues pertinent to identity: community, androgyny, multiplicity, temporality, privilege, deception, listening, and secrecy. The essays are founded, as usual, in my daily walks and include poetry where pertinent.
In Harvest: Essays on Time from Olympia (2019) my woods-walks become scrims for my thinking about temporality, informed by recent books by quantum theorists and a variety of poets I happened to be reading at the time. I include a PDF of the series.
A Mind of Winter: Essays on the Imagination (2019) combines personal essays based on my walks in the majestic woods around Olympia, Washington, with mini-essays on a variety of philosophers and poets theorizing on the imagination. I include a PDF of the series.
I also divided the two components of A Mind of Winter--the personal essays and the critical sketches–into separate books, the former now available as Spring Forward, the latter as The Imagination, both in PDF form here.
First, Summer (2018) is my first Olympia-based book, the essays founded, as usual, on my woods-walks, this time in the majestic forests nearby my house. I wrote the essays a few months after I moved here, fully infatuated with my new home. I include a PDF and audiobook of the series.
Last Spring (2018) is a monograph of essays I wrote during my final semester teaching before retirement, based on my walks in Boyce Park. It serves as the darker “bookend” for the processes of growth and grief I initiated with This Fall. I include a PDF and audiobook of the series.
This Fall (2015) is the collection of essays I wrote over about month’s time, after my daily walks in Boyce Park, a few miles outside of Pittsburgh, during the autumn leaf fall, in the shadow of my wife’s sudden passing the previous winter. I include a PDF and an audiobook of the series.
I published two scholarly books during my career as an English professor, both still under copyright to the original publisher, so I can’t upload them here directly. My first book, Writing/Teaching, which won the CCC Outstanding Book Award the year it came out, is now available in full-text, from the publisher, in the public domain. My second book, Re-reading Poets, documents my life-long love of poetry via the many specific poets who have made my life deeper and more livable. I provide more information about these under the “Scholarly Books” drop-down, above.
My whole “career “as a poet, such as it is, has been a series of discontinuities, starts and stops, sometimes long ones, dramatic changes in style and substance. I have no idea why. It all seems out of my hands for the most part. I quit “submitting” (what a terrible fate for a poem) poems for publication about 25 years ago, a combination of irritation with and loss of interest in that process. I write what comes to me and stop when it stops. It’s all here for free.
I open with my current and ongoing book of the “tiny” poems I’ve been writing since I got to Olympia, a new voice and style for me, under the title “slights: my new tiny poems from here not there.” I just keep adding to it as I write more, most recently updated in June, 2020, a new section started called “tiny poems grow the fuck up.”
For each book there is a PDF and, for all but slights, sound files of my readings of the poems in their respective collections. All the books are available in paperback form, at cost, on Amazon.com. You can access the titles via my Amazon author’s page link, above.In the Dark and Harvest Moon are also available in audiobook form on Audible.com.
“Coming To Terms” pertains to my wife’s sudden passing in February, 2015. It provides some context for the “Songs” page and lays the foundation for This Fall, my first book of personal essays.
I also offer both a sound file and a PDF of the talk I gave at the 2016 University of Pittsburgh Composition Program Awards event in April 2016, titled “All the Time in the World.” It is an extended meditation on temporality, which has been a lifelong fascination of mine.
And I added a page that archives some of the major scholarly articles I published in the 1980s and 1990s, most of which are difficult or impossible to track down in the marketplace.
I started singing about 7 years ago for reasons I explain more fully on the “Songs” page. I’ve now uploaded many, many song-covers that range all over historically (from Stephen Foster to Herman’s Hermits) and generically (Big Band, rock and roll, R&B, show tunes, blues, country.) They’re sorted into “albums” by whatever category happens to catch my whim. You can pick the ones you’d like to sample by title or type. I rotate these in and out as new ones emerge.
About 3 years ago, I started writing songs of my own, kind of out of the blue, and it’s a process I truly enjoy and think I’m getting better at. I’ve made 5 albums of my own original songs, and two hybrids, my collaborations with Emily Dickinson and William Blake, all available here and at BandCamp (paulkameen.bandcamp.com), all free.
I was recently invited to share my music story on the mysoundposter web site. Here is the link: