Steve Kowit’s Lurid Confessions, his first full-length poetry collection, had two printings with Carpenter Press in 1983 but has been out of print for years. It’s been our loss not to have access to the wit and insights of so many excellent poems. Serving House Books is proud to be the publisher of a new edition.
From the Introduction
Lurid Confessions, published in 1983 by Carpenter Press, went into a second printing the following year. A few years later the book was out of print. I have no recollection of what the press run was for either of those two printings but I imagine each couldn’t have been more than a few hundred copies. The press was a one-man operation in Pomeroy, Ohio, run by the writer and musician Bob Fox. Though Bob and I had been at Brooklyn College at the same time, we hadn’t known each other back then and though we occasionally corresponded in the years both before and after the book was published, we didn’t hook up in person till decades later when I went to Cincinnati to do a reading and a workshop. Bob had been playing blues guitar and singing professionally or semi-professionally all his life and was also for many years writer-in-residence and director of the Ohio Arts Council. From what I’ve been told, in the early days in New York he had sat in with Bob Dylan and Dave van Ronk at Gertie’s Folk City and had studied informally with Blind Gary Davis in Harlem. You can buy or download Bob’s CD, Primarily Blues, at Amazon and you can find his story “A Fable” in Sudden Fiction: American Short Short Stories. Another short story of his, “The Wedding” —I think it was published in his collection Destiny News— remains one of the most magical and satisfying brief fictions that I’ve ever read. The couple of days we spent together in Cincinnati occurred only five or six years before his untimely death and I’m not sure to this day that I’d ever thanked him warmly enough for publishing Lurid Confessions. If not, I do so now….
(June 30, 1938–April 2, 2015)
From the Editors of Serving House Journal
We are heartbroken by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, the acclaimed poet, editor, and teacher Steve Kowit, who passed away at his home in Potrero, California on the second of April. He was seventy-six.
Steve joined Serving House Journal (SHJ) as esteemed Poetry Editor in 2010. He published hundreds of wonderful poetic works in our journal—to be specific, 371 poems by 152 poets in Issues Two thru Twelve.
He described himself as “a poet, essayist, teacher, workshop facilitator, and all-around no good troublemaker.” A founding member of the San Diego chapter of the Jewish Voice for Peace, he lived with his wife Mary and several companion animals.
Steve taught poetry workshops in San Diego, and his handbook for writing poetry, In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop, is widely used. His most recent collections include The Gods of Rapture (City Works Press, 2006), The First Noble Truth (University of Tampa Press, 2007), and Lurid Confessions (Serving House Books, 2010). His final collection, Cherish: New and Selected Poems, is forthcoming soon from the University of Tampa Press.
“A strong and vibrant force for poetry,” and a true mensch, Steve will be profoundly missed.