All posts by pkameen

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. The traditional press, I know from experience, doesn’t work at that speed. This website is the way I accomplished all that: free, here, right now.  Then, I self-created paperback versions of all these books, very nice editions I think, using the tools available online, where I sell them at the cost of their production (except for my two scholarly books, which are owned and priced by their publisher.) I  understood that my audience would be very small this way. For some reason I believed that those  few who had “ears to hear” would find something of value here, and they have. Some of them, via our online conversations, are now among my best friends, even if I’ve never met them. I hope you’ll find something of value to you here, too.

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: Kameen CV 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 paulkameen07@gmail.com.

What’s New

New Books of Poems and 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.)

Poem and slideshow in response to George Floyd’s murder

I made this poem/slideshow in the immediate, grief-riven aftermath of the horrifying murder of George Floyd, another in a seemingly endless series of horrifying murders of exactly this kind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JZN62qJ0HI

Harvest: Essays on Time from Olympia (2019) my latest collection of essays, 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.)

Spring Forward: More Essays from Olympia (2019) and The Imagination: A Tour of Western Poetics in a Series of Brief Sketches (2019) separate out the two “halves” of A Mind of Winter (2019), the personal walk-based essays now in Spring Forward, the theoretical essays on famous poets and philosophers now in The Imagination. (Under Books: Personal Essays.)

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 playlist 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:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7FmiISKG6RQgRUZjQkyvjtXjpAJgcL78

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.)

Other news:

I’ve revamped and updated all of my older (pre-Harvest) paperback books on Amazon: new font, spacing, titles for all the essays, etc. They look better. You can check them out via the Amazon Author’s Page dropdown menu above.

Finally, I was recently invited to share my “music story” on the mysoundposter web site. Here is the link: https://mysoundposter.blog/singing-to-survive-paul-kameen/

Books of Prose

Personal Essays

I’ve written five 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.

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 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.

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 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.”

I then include a recent poem I wrote in the dark shadow of the George Floyd murder, one that locates this event in the 50 year history of my own witness to abuses of power of all sorts that end in tragic deaths and needless destruction.

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 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:

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