General Information

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: KameenshortCVPDF ), and I live in Olympia, Washington.  I describe briefly below each of the major headings in the top banner. You can contact me at paulkameen07@gmail.com.

What’s Newest

New Youtube Feature

Today (2/14/21) I launched a new feature on my YouTube channel, “fireside mini-readings,” which is basically just me sitting in front of my fireplace reading poetry for a few minutes. I’m starting with poems I’m writing right now, all from my ongoing book slights: my new tiny poems from here not there. I’ll do one of these a week for a while, until it feels like it has “run its course.”

I added a drop-down menu above,  under Poetry Books, to house all of this going forward. Here is a quick-link to that playlist, most recent video first. You can open the full current playlist with the icon on the top right of the image:

New Books of Essays and Poems

Living Hidden (Fall 2020), my most recent book of essays exploring my 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, most recent update is February 1, 2021.) And here is a direct link:

Living Hidden final 2-11-21

slights: my new tiny poems from here not there (2019-21) 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.   (Under Poetry Books.) And here is a direct link:

slights final for PDF 06-03-21

(all books available here for free in PDF form or at cost via Amazon.com)

            Original Music Album

My most recent original album (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. (on my Songs page or http://paulkameen.bandcamp.com)

 

Newest Cover Albums

“If Not for You,” (spring 2021) a remake of one of my favorite Pittsburgh playlists (“Peaceful Easy Feelings”), which I just happened on and wanted to redo. Mostly sweet love songs from the 60s-80s (Dylan, Tom Petty, The Eagles, etc.) (first item now on my Songs page)

“Little Bits of Love” (Fall 2020) is a playlist I created, day by day, during the week before the election last November, to promote calm in my own mind and for my family and friends. (under Songs, above.) I also made a series of YouTube slideshows with these songs as soundtracks for pictures I took in my neighborhood:

Neighborhood walks in Olympia slideshows

This is an ongoing YouTube series of slideshows-with-songs that I make with photos I take in my Olympia neighborhood. I use both covers and original songs as soundtracks, and I add to the series as the spirit moves me. Here is the link to the YouTubes:

Books of Prose

Personal Essays

I’ve written seven books of personal essays over the last 5 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. PDF, as usual.

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 timeI include a PDF of the series.

A Mind of Winter: Essays on the Imagination (2019) combines personal essays based on my walks in the beautiful 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.

Scholarly Books

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.

Poetry

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 the ongoingly current 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.”  The poems start out very tiny and then gradually evolve toward longer pieces over time. I just keep adding to it as I write more, the most recent update in April 2021.

      Then, the three collections of poems (Li Po-ems, Harvest Moon, and In the Dark) I wrote in a grief-fueled frenzy during September, 2016, after a 20 year hiatus, strangely beautiful poems, I think.

  There are also two compilations of some of the many poems I wrote between 1975-95, Mornings After and Beginning Was, as well as a  few miscellaneous poems I wrote in 2017-18.

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.

Essays and Talks

“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.

Songs

I started singing about 8 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 4 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 6 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:

Singing to Survive: From “Skin and Bones” to “A Fully Educated Man”