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Dan Raphael


I am not an aesthetician or a critic. I don’t usually write ‘about’ something—words rise from a sparking phrase at the right time (sometimes after movies, or during or after other cultural events like live music or poetry). My core poetic is “language knows more than I do." In this way, I’m an instrument, but i'm not talking automatic writing or such, since I am such a flawed and complex instrument, from how I take in input to how the energy gets language. There must be references, so the world can't not be here—events, inventions, names, mysteries.

My most recent book is Bop Grit Storm Café, originally published in ’85 by Xexoxial, & re-issued by them last December, Books of current poems include Breath Test, When a Flying City Falls, and Showing Light a Good Time. Good odds that Impulse and Warp: selected 20^th century poems, will be out in 2011, and I have a manuscript of new work I don’t know what to do with.

Have had poems in around 300 mags, sites and anthologies, including Caliban, Central Park, Exquisite Corpse, Fireweed, Heaven Bone, Otoliths Pemmican, Portland Review and Pacific Northwestern Spiritual Poetry. Some sites with my work include otoliths, Heavy Bear, The Poets' Encyclopedia, and Pemmican Press.

Have been often told that once people hear me, they can more easily get into the written version. “Dan Raphael is 6 foot 6 and at times seems bedeviled by language,” a seattle critic wrote. Haven’t read much outside the northwest, and in most of the available places within Oregon & Washington, including Bumbershoot, Wordstock, Powells Books, Portland Jazz Festival, Eastern Oregon State, Fishtrap, Burning Word, Reed College and the Walla Walla Poetry Party. May have a CD of perfromance with a lcoal sax and drum combo out next summer.

People can seem surprised to find out I have an MFA (Bowling Green State) and a BA from Cornell. Have never landed a teaching job, but am active in organizing readings, including a monthly series at a downtown bookstore that ran for 13 years, and Poetland—80 poets in 8 venues in an 8 hour span. I edited NRG magazine for 17 years, and published 26 Books—26 26 page chapbooks by 26 Oregon and Washington poets.

I trade my time to the DMV to pay my bills, and live in an old house in a transitional neighborhood with wife Melba, son Orion, cat Katerina, and around 400 plant varieties.

Otherwise I read news, novels and other non-poetry things; hike, work-out and socialize; and brew, drink and review beer.

Click below to view Dan's work

Poems (.pdf)