Charles Potts’ Least Bit collection (2015) Pilgrim & Martel may sound like a vaudeville act but its poet Charles Potts’ latest work by Least Bittern Books, and it’s a stunner. brilliant, ironic without bitterness and so earnest it hurts these are two books (in a single volume)…’pilgrim’ poems and a play—or a play that is a poem, or a play with a poem appendix. or all of these really. just get yr hands on. he articulates with good humour and a tireless succinct; its a ball to read, total nuttah.
$15 shipped to yr door 130 pgs TP, fine cover art and art thru-out by Jeremy Gaulke.
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Why is Charles Potts the next poet you read RIGHT now? well, he is perpetually up to something else, alright. even he finds the work in P&M curious and true.
Patrick Ferguson drove all the way from Spokane to Yakima to hear Potts read because he found a used copy of The Opium Must Go Thru in a bookstore and said, “it was the first thing I’d ever read that made me think of the things I was trying to get out of my own head.” i think this is what he does—speak up for what is subtle in us. he projects the inferred or intimated onto a big screen in a dark wooden lodge with the windows covered by American Flags and Chinese Magazines and invites everybody in.
there is a six-degrees-of-Charles Potts thing happening in the small poetry press. the best folk and truest voices are connected somehow to the man. Potts’ various imprints put twenty poets manuscripts in the world. his magazines and endeavors in the late sixties nearly put him in a grave and yet are collectible now, for the poets in his little rags are big names. he edited for five years decades later a tabloid The Temple, famous for including side by side translations of original contemporary poetry in both Chinese and Spanish, the only magazine on earth to ever do that. (Across the North Pacific, an examination of the languages and political behavior of the United States, Japan, and China. Possibly his most famous line of poetry is that, “we will surrender in Spanish to the Chinese.”)
an autodidact geographer and follower of Carl Ortwin Sauer, Potts’ political and economic geographical treatise, How the South Finally Won the Civil War: and Controls the Political Future of the United States, was published in 1995, followed by a ground-plowing treatise in Linguistic Geography,John Oliver Simon, former director of California Poets in the Schools and himself the recipient of an NEA grant for translation, referred to Potts as “…the greatest poet born in Idaho since Ezra Pound…and one of the true faces of North American poetry.”
True to his Idaho and Northwest roots, Potts breeds and raises Foundation Appaloosa horses on Blue Creek in the foothills of the Blue Mountains near Walla Walla.