2 Poems for Lou Reed by Robert Frede Kenter : Variance (2 parts)

Variance

1.

Thinking of Lou Reed. and New York City

that was and is /now gone…gone….so
still …the fragile shards of some unreasonable flower from half empty pockets torn from old coats ….entwines and blooms so there still this vibrant pulse ….the fleeting skein of some dense architectonic memory….always leaving, yet inside the vein beneath my skin and at twilight you are still there too and leave a card beside the wall on a scattered table….the pulse, the pulse….that I think is….though also ….gone….

2.

For Lou Reed (1978)

fragile unreasonable flower
old full-length black autumn coat with pockets
dogeared post card against a wall
drifts from a scattered table
books letters notebooks
bloom inside the entwined half-full
shards inside this midtown Manhattan
SRO hotel

In the cold
In the cold vibrant twilight
In the cold vibrant
In the twilight
In cold twilight

5 poems inspired by Leonard Cohen by Robert Frede Kenter (Before I Turn Into Gold Day)

Poem for a Russian Grandmother in Exile by Robert Frede Kenter w/ A Painting by Moira J. Saucer

4 poems from Robert Frede Kenter in Avalanches in Poetry

An Interview with Robert Frede Kenter of Icefloe Press

4 poems by Robert Frede Kenter published in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

Wolfpack Contributor: Robert Frede Kenter

Robert Frede Kenter is a 2020 pushcart nominee, poet, visual artist, editor and the publisher of Ice FloePress.  Currently living in Toronto, work is published widely, incl. Floodlight Editions, Cypress, Burning House Press, AnthropoceneNew QuarterlyGrainPrairie FireGoing Down SwingingFascist PantiesCoughFevers OfThe hybrid, Audacity of Form (2019), is available from Ice Floe Press. Check out Robert’s latest book “Eden” with Floodlight Editions.

Eden is a selection of hybrid pareidolia poetry which glides within abstract visions. Robert Frede Kenter’s mirrored shards dangle inside sensory gardens. Smoke encircles words communicating raw politics and myth through jazzy vibrations twinkling in the shadows. Kenter’s poetry contorts paint, collage, drawn figures, photos, and found text. This imaginative collection, along with his other works and collaborations spanning more than three decades, solidify his place in the experimental poetry scene.

— Margaret Viboolsittiseri

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1081912272/eden-robert-frede-kenter

A Book Review of “Eden” by Robert Frede Kenter. A review by Ivor Daniel

A Review of Eden

Cop 26 has been and gone - and how are things looking in the Garden?
What were the choices for Eve & Adam?
What are our choices now?

Eden, Robert Frede Kenter’s new chapbook, presents a vital glimpse into the work of
 an artist, photographer and poet who has been published and exhibited widely
 during the last 3 decades. In my reviewer copy I only see or perceive partially. This is
 ok, because i. we all know that art is best seen up close (or standing back) in a
 gallery anyway, and ii. the selection here, which is engaging and challenging for
 sure, is a glimpse through the hedge, or broken wall, of the garden. As Kenter writes
 in his Acknowledgements, ‘many of these works also have colour versions and other
iterations’. This Eden makes you want to see them all. To wander through this
 artist’s studio and archives.

The list of Contents is poetic. This excerpt gives a tang;

Slow Jam # 2
Notation
Two Barflies at a Bar, Next Day

In the opening piece, Poem for an Imaginary Landscape, Kenter sets the scene. We
 hear of ‘exhibition dream flowers.......scattering landfill sites’ and ‘a ventriloquism of
 dots, jagged leaves’. This is skillful and vivid writing. Like Kenter’s artworks it leaves
 wide spaces for our own imaginings to run riot in cracks and corners.

Next comes Angry Eden. Perhaps God / Satan in profile. Eve & Adam behind, eyes
 amok, the outlines of their faces curled as question marks.

One of my favourite works is Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
2 sidewalk signs announce

                                THE HERE AND THE NOW

ARRIVED

A series of mathematical numbers appear in the perhaps apocalyptic margin.
If we can only work out this equation. Just maybe. We might know what to do.

In Raw: Fetish I see anonymous block buildings and collage dislocation. Maybe I
am trying to drive out of town to escape some contemporary doom? Or, is it just the
Friday afternoon rush? How do I feel when I see these 2 road signs?

RAW

     NORTH ON FETISH

Some of the works use the techniques of erasure poetry. Some words are harder to
 make out. Some are wilfully defaced or obscured. Like a Banksy shredding itself, in a
 way. Kenter’s techniques also remind us that some of these words are found text.
Found, random, powerful, poetic. And, as in gardening and poetry and art, the
 question - what to leave in and what to leave out?

Smudge is one of these erasure works. A written passage entitled Mathematics
 Educators is partly obscured by abstract swirling marks, and collaged part-words,
 part-sentences. It is impossible to read the main written passage. This resonates
 with me as I could never do the math anyway.

I am now looking at The Tree.
I cannot tell what the medium is. I have a black and white image on a computer screen. Nevertheless, after some of the other, harder, images in Eden I can actually feel the almost iconic furred, woody, reassurance of putting my palms on the vast
bark of a redwood tree. This is for well being. This is what we Need to Save. And need is an anagram of eden.

As Joni sang ‘ we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden ’.
And then what do we do?

Who gets to go on the rocket ship up to space? What does our earthly paradise look like from up there? Will they do anything differently, more responsibly, more equitably, when they come back down to earth? And how long will they keep that up for?

If poets and artists had been in Power since Nixon, would the world be in a better state? Hard to think it would be worse, anyway.

Robert Frede Kenter’s work smudges and illuminates the air here on planet Dollarama. It is informed by his openness to collaboration and community, and his experiences of travelling and living abroad. Kenter is a survivor, and this is good. Eden leaves us wanting more.

On a road trip with Kerouac, or with Cormack McCarthy. Even on your daily commute. You might want this chapbook in your backpack.

O brave new Eden that has such work in it.

Paradise Lost. Paradise Regained? Eden Reviewed.

2 Poems for Lou Reed by Robert Frede Kenter : Variance (2 parts)

5 poems inspired by Leonard Cohen by Robert Frede Kenter (Before I Turn Into Gold Day)

Poem for a Russian Grandmother in Exile by Robert Frede Kenter w/ A Painting by Moira J. Saucer

4 poems from Robert Frede Kenter in Avalanches in Poetry

An Interview with Robert Frede Kenter of Icefloe Press

4 poems by Robert Frede Kenter published in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

Wolfpack Contributor: Robert Frede Kenter

A Poetry Showcase for Ivor Daniel

Bio : Ivor Daniel lives in Gloucestershire, UK. His poems have appeared in A Spray of Hope, wildfire words, Steel Jackdaw, Writeresque, iamb~wave seven, Fevers of the Mind, The Trawler, Roi Fainéant, Ice Floe Press and The Dawntreader. He has poems forthcoming in After…, Re-Side, Alien Buddha, The Orchard Lea Anthology (Cancer) and The Crump’s Barn Anthology (Halloween). . @IvorDaniel

A Spotlight on IceFloe Press : Poetry, Art, Photography Creativity Sponge

logo by Cathy Daley

IceFloe Press is one of the most unique, creative endeavors for poetry these days. With challenges, specific themes of poetry, an all inclusive collective of voices that need to be heard.

Founded by Robert Frede Kenter (Eic), Co-editor Moira J. Saucer, other editors and chief contributors to the site are Ankh Spice, Elisabeth Horan, Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau & Jakky Bankong-Obi

Some of their contributions to Fevers of the Mind can be linked below.

Wolfpack Contributor: Robert Frede Kenter

4 poems from Robert Frede Kenter in Avalanches in Poetry An Interview with Robert Frede Kenter of Icefloe Press

4 poems from Fevers of the Mind Poets of 2020 by Moira J Saucer

Some poems from Elisabeth Horan in Fevers of the Mind Issue 1 (2019)

6 poems from Elisabeth Horan

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jakky Bankong-Obi

5 Poems by Ankh Spice : That which can be made visible, Hold the river, Feeding the koi, Act like you were never for sale, & Hathor’s gift

Holiday Interlude by Ankh Spice from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

IceFloe is known for great art contributions, poetry contributions & photography. Some links below to a few you just have to read or see.

https://icefloepress.net/peach-delphine/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/01/28/five-poems-by-peach-delphine/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/05/12/two-poems-by-david-hanlon/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/12/09/three-poems-by-jenny-mitchell/

Poem for a Russian Grandmother in Exile by Robert Frede Kenter w/ A Painting by Moira J. Saucer

https://icefloepress.net/2020/12/04/glass-kelp-a-poem-by-anindita-sengupta-w-an-image-by-vera-schmittberger/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/12/24/a-reunion-or-a-resurrection-a-poem-and-three-images-by-kushal-poddar/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/11/30/happy-birthday-twice-a-pandemitime-poem-and-three-images-by-lynne-sachs/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/12/01/i-am-care-a-poem-by-linnet-macintyre-w-a-painting-by-m-s-evans/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/03/03/five-poems-by-david-o-nan/

https://icefloepress.net/excerpts-from-pandemic-party-moira-j-saucer/

https://icefloepress.net/dwelling-a-poem-by-marcelle-newbold/

https://icefloepress.net/two-poems-by-chelsea-dingman/

https://icefloepress.net/a-love-letter-to-me-a-vispo-by-maggs-vibo/

https://icefloepress.net/two-poems-by-bola-opaleke/

https://icefloepress.net/three-poems-by-catherine-graham/

https://icefloepress.net/two-poems-by-kari-flickinger-w-four-art-works-by-m-s-evans/

https://icefloepress.net/six-poems-from-new-disease-streets-by-david-l-onan-w-a-digital-collage-by-robert-frede-kenter/

https://icefloepress.net/two-poems-loop-year-postmarked-plague-and-an-image-by-kushal-poddar/

https://icefloepress.net/elliot-north/

https://icefloepress.net/pandemic-politics-3-poems/

https://icefloepress.net/three-poems/

https://icefloepress.net/when-aurelia-noa-learned-to-sing-two-poems-by-kushal-poddar/

https://icefloepress.net/loss-a-poem-and-drawings-by-moira-j-saucer/

https://icefloepress.net/in-a-starless-sky-i-find-memories-out-of-a-cancerous-moon-a-prose-poem-by-sodiq-oyekanmi/

https://icefloepress.net/three-poems-rose-knapp/

https://icefloepress.net/survival-from-the-ruins-of-ashes-a-prose-poem-by-ariyo-ahmad/

https://icefloepress.net/for-the-foreign-friend-who-asked-me-why-africans-write-sad-poems-a-poem-by-idowu-odeyemi/

https://icefloepress.net/a-poem-after-lana-del-reys-cinnamon-girl-a-poem-by-adeola-juwon/

https://icefloepress.net/so-long-marianne-and-good-riddance-bitter-biased-thoughts-on-art-romance-and-portrait-of-a-lady-on-fire-an-essay-by-kaye-nash/

https://icefloepress.net/today-i-will-write-a-poem-and-name-it-after-your-beads-an-essay-poem-by-henneh-kweku/

https://icefloepress.net/knowing/

https://icefloepress.net/a-mother-of-poetry-an-elegy-by-suzi-x/

https://icefloepress.net/postmarked-quarantine-a-book-of-poems-by-kushal-poddar/

https://icefloepress.net/kyla-houbolts-dawns-fool-a-microchap/

https://icefloepress.net/boy-bestiary/

https://icefloepress.net/0rder-audacity-of-form/

https://icefloepress.net/order-skeleton-of-a-ruined-song/

4 poems from Robert Frede Kenter in Avalanches in Poetry

(c) Geoffrey Wren

this is how you disappear (for Leonard Cohen)

Going on about the hinge in the door
The monkey and the bow
A suit of plywood etc.
I'll never forget how you sewed
the undone memories of world war
into the inlay of buttons
Fingers in movement towards the cobblestones

Confessions in a window of suitcases
An army-navy store in Halifax
A textile factory on the Plateau

All dressed in black
My lurid nightmare is in red
Cluster the notes in a heart beat

The children will all
wood-shed the tears
of Mount Royal
by record's end

Coughing Up Blood

Your beauty is a sharp razor
A Gershwin ballroom rhapsody
rising to the occasion in revolt
A need to taste defeat in each embrace.
There are smiles on everyone's lips
while neon signage paints the rain
in unmitigated post war hues.
Night is being rearranged
in red and white and blue
a thoroughbred coward
from a window shouting
the cue is turned to snow.
A chorus of iris is a choral choker of orchid clouds
Drop kick the silent cinema's Cossack mezzanine.

Rimbaud at the Paris Commune

I could only hope for the issuing of treason from binding
ground. collecting insurance from the house of whitest 
america is the fortress of gloom. beyond the grace of
transcendence, a white gloved hand carries a banner
a pale bird receding on hallowed ground.   from hallways
from meeting places by train-tracks they are leaving
a careless, a gentle careless caress.  gorged in the
brightest armour, with a wardrobe of wounds, carrying this
banner of wonderment.  i claimed the territory upon which
i stood.
i could only  hope for the hope treason brings,
like a message/ a message of desire

The Healer

I am a healer
I have healed many wounds in my time
with a magic wand
and a black Stetson hat
I healed
the wounds of poets and statesmen
with dark amber potions and herbs
I healed the painters of houses
with canvas bags of secret wines
I healed the scars of hatred
on the back of Montgomery Street
with a needle and thread and scissors
I starved the healer
whose cane was crooked
and dropped him into a pit
I filled the abyss with dirt
and stitched it up with rain
I walked along the avenue
and was prayed to 

 An Interview with Robert Frede Kenter of Icefloe Press 

 4 poems by Robert Frede Kenter published in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

Wolfpack Contributor: Robert Frede Kenter

Available Now: Before I Turn Into Gold Inspired by Leonard Cohen Anthology by David L O’Nan & Contributors w/art by Geoffrey Wren

An Interview with Robert Frede Kenter of Icefloe Press

Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, what is the theme, mood?


Robert: My last book was Audacity of Form (2019). It was published by Ice Floe Press. It emerged out of late-night conversations with New-Orleans based photographer Julia Skop, who was the main caregiver for her sister, a well-known New Orleans dancer, Sara, then dying of cancer. The poem(s) and prose pieces, with a pastiche of Julia’s photos, and drawings by Toronto-based artist (and Ice Floe Press logo designer, Cathy Daley), evolved through 32 transformations. It was published in the summer of 2019 and is composed of two intersecting suites that deal with illness, love, friendship, family history, travel, grief, New Orleans, performance and music, working class economics, the Katrina Flood, and other elements. The book is designed as a series of set pieces and is an amalgam of poetic fragments/narratives.
Currently, I’m continuing work on a multi-sectional, (likely) multi-volume exploration of family histories which will deal with various sides of my family (whether it be Bobby, the carnival-circus performer, junkie, and cousin from Detroit, or reflective landscapes examining my European-Jewish ancestors, the relations between my parents & what I call “Mayhem” poems, dealing with my father etc.). The work is a multitude of voices and image-dense narratives, what a colleague of mine has described as, “a chorus of radical Jewish consciousness and layered imaginings, alternative versions of a Diaspora culture.”

What frame of mind & ideas lead to you writing your current book?


Robert: The work emerges out of narrative and out of fragments. It’s a searching landscape of violence, beauty, and expansiveness of dislocation and alienation, the amplified noise of displacement and its distortions. The historical journey of exile and Diaspora, intimate and intricate in interiority, was persistent growing up in a family where a swirling intensity of mental and physical abuse and illness and marginalization and isolation melded to rich vagaries of attenuated storytelling. Breathless is the search for naming. In geographic wandering, displacements contextualize and make sense of the mournful & the ineffable.

How old were you when you first became serious about your writing Do you feel your work is always adapting?


Robert: Seriously, I have a little flipbook I wrote when I was age 6. It was a story, Horses on Venus, that turned into a wild classroom recess improvisational game with my other outlier pals 😊. When I was about 12 to13-years-old, I was blown away by Allen Ginsberg. I went to see him perform at a local university, and around the same time, I saw an early Leonard Cohen concert, half music, half poetry reading. I used to read at local cafes & hung out with theatre-workers, Vietnam draft-dodgers in the little industrial city where I grew up. In early poems, I wrote odes to the polluted red sky of a town whose economic heart was immersed in the manufacture of steel. I wrote eco-poems about a love affair with a backyard tree, then mourned its death. I’ve always listened and gathered up what’s around me, and my work always changes. Some of the earliest pieces I’ve written, I’m just sending out now.
David, you published a couple of them in the beautiful Avalanches tribute to Leonard Cohen. One of them is “Song of a Healer.” I try different things, and right now feels like a very invigorating time in the world(s) of poetry. I’m very happy and feel grounded, blessed to be part of new emerging communities exploring poetics with an emphasis on discourses of radical change, rooted in vision and emotion. It is another reason I re-animated Ice Floe Press which had an iteration in the early 1990s when I got together a crew to put out Women Writing: An Anthology, a chapbook of NYC-based women poets involved in a curated reading series that included Kimiko Hahn, Cheryl Clarke, Pamela Sneed, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, and many others. We had a great packed launch in NYC at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café. In those early days I also published a book of stories by working-class NYC-based writer Ernie Brill, and a prose poem by then-emerging Canadian poet, Margaret Christakos.
Now, Ice Floe Press Managing Editor Moira J. Saucer and I are publishing amazing poets with world-wide platforms – from Nigeria, Ghana, USA, Canada, UK, Syria, Europe, on and on. I’ve found that the poetry communities on Twitter are rich, vibrant, and totally engaged, and many are carving out expressive spaces, joyful, celebratory, confrontational and aesthetically expansive. These new scenes are doing a great job of breaking down some of the old hierarchies, inducing a carnivalesque energy of DIY that is very exciting, despite the many dire things going on in the world from proto/fascism to the Anthropocene. All of it, of course, being interrelated.

What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?


Robert: Oh, there are so many. Music encompasses a universe of possibility, joyful to write to. Whether its Texas-swing, ‘free-jazz’, atonal, orchestral, garage, field recordings, Northern Soul, Tex-Mex, African High-Life, No-Wave, etc. I like textured, complicated, beautifully realized, immersive music. Through listening – and at some points, involvement in music-based projects — I access the wonders of lyric, voice, breath, and sound, both recorded and live, soundscapes spark new ways of feeling and understanding; the embodied, kinesthetic, the numinous. In the musical pantheon, my go-tos include John Cale, Velvet Underground, Monk, Ornette Coleman, Count Basie, Louis Jordan, Nina Simone, the Ellington Orchestra, Biber, O.V. Wright, Sun Ra, Louis Jordan, Chopin, Coltrane, Dylan, Willie Nelson, Johhny Cash, the Carter Family, Nono, Billie Holiday, The Roots, The Animals, William Parker, John Cage, Brotzmann, Lighting Hopkins, Mark Lanegan, etc. (I could go on and on and on.)
With regards to writers, again, I don’t know where to begin: whether poets, novelists, essayists, hybrid creators, I like being immersed in highly textured writing. In our lifetime of the modern, post-modern, the apocalyptic, I contemplate the works of Celan, Brecht, Anne Waldman, Ngugi, Bulgakov, Virginia Woolf, Erin Moure, Adonis, Kamu Braithwaite, Don Mee Choi, Phil Hall, Amos Tutuola, Whitman, Olson, Burroughs, Genet, Nicole Brossard and Fred Wah, for starters. Again, I could go on and on.

What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally, outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside activities merge into your mind and become parts of a poem?


Robert: There are a range of activities that all seem to be part of a circular returning. Art making, reading, exploring visual art, taking photos. I’m all about gathering, listening, and weaving, the haunted, joyful, the juxtapositions and hybrids. And, when I can, I like to run. It depends on my energy at any given time in the cycle of living with ME/FM.

Tell us a little about your process with writing. Is it more a controlled or a spontaneous/freewriting style?


Robert: I often write in the middle of the night, i.e. two hours uninterrupted by hand on notebook paper. The images develop in narrative and associational patterns. From this process, I’ll engage in a long revision period until the piece(s) acquire voice and story and approximate a kind of musical-notational score. I return to older work, revisit, rewrite, incorporate, scatter, and coalesce. The work is performative – it comes out of body-physicality-and-memory.

Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that have influenced your writing?


Robert: Wow –I have always been ‘a traveler’. My goal though is not endless ‘movement’ from place to place, but focused and extended time in a locale of choice or circumstance, whether NYC, London U.K., Berlin, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Missoula, Montana, etc. The idea is also to ‘do’ something else there (work on a project, take some sort of ‘undetectable ‘job’ (ha that sounds like a radioactive half-life) that enables me to survive. There have been actual ‘travel’ writings as well, long cross-continental bus odysseys that are also generative.
People I’ve known and know, participate in the realization of my inner world and the parallels between the creative, the actual and the transformational. I engaged in the kind of ‘transformational’ world idea in my studies in theatre, esp., in the experiences I had studying with the Talking Band and the Wooster Group in NYC, many lifetimes ago. My sense of urgency, that poetry emerges out of witness and coalesces around community, prepares me for the silent and engaged relationship I have with performance. The shape and dynamics of the page and my inspired connection to my ancestors are all intersecting aspects that propel me, always grounded in a physicality, whether of possibility or pain, of rest and meditation. My visual art also feeds into my working process: whether it is drawing, photo-based digital work, VISPO, or painting, at some point, they all ricochet and are centrifugal to each another.
And somehow, I hope, we bring that informed sensibility to our work at Ice Floe Press.

What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?


Robert: I have had a few periods in my ‘writing’ life where I simply was unable to write, or I didn’t know what I was writing, where it was going, or why. I guess those are periods of dormancy and transition. That’s not true these days so much. Ever since I was hit by a streetcar in Toronto, in 2014, I’ve been on a more steady roll of focused ongoing production, whether my own personal work, or working to re-centre Ice Floe Press and help create a space for a new generative community, an international family of artists who I hope find an engaging, interactive, non-alienating locale that is inspiring, a proximal zone for sharing and promoting work. You know, speaking of this accident-catalyst, my ‘ancestors’ pulled me ‘back’ from the brink of another world, and the TTC Red-Rocket streetcar formed a new metallic opacity of tautness in my thinking. I was KO’D, but got back up, this on top of a long era of social dormancy due to acquiring ME in the 1990s. After the onset of ME, I spent long stretches in isolation. Illness chiseled away at the foundation of my identity for many years fractured by more than a decade living in a kind of vicarious relationship to the world. Submerged, the external became largely about basic survival. When you are ‘down’, the system kicks you hard. I developed a deeper internal compass.
Even more than before I became ill, marginal, expressive, celebratory voices are the fountain I draw strength and inspiration from. Voices, elegant in expression of pain, rebellion, trauma and struggle most move me. I’m drawn to art positioned outside of the ‘ableist hetero mainstream,’ work where the creator(s) had to travel somewhere very deep, and remerge as witness and documentor. Both in a realist sense, or through expanded imagining and iteration, in the possibilities of fable.

How has this past year impacted you emotionally, how has it impacted you creatively if it all?

Robert: In the beginning of the 90s, my life was completely transformed by ‘a virus’ that was subsequently diagnosed as ME. I spent about a year (solid) in bed with high fevers which left me with a huge deficit of energy and a need to re-investigate what it means to be alive, from learning how to walk again to figuring out ways to make money in the Saturnine Depths of poverty’s marginalization. This year, 2020, with all its pain and variegated ruptures, I think I’ve managed vaguely well. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been in some advanced guard of the despairing and the ache for change that being sick exposes us to: the sedimentary process of sinking into the hopeless grind of capital and its insidious priorities etches into our deepest sensibilities and instinct.
We have been overwhelmed and sucker-punched by the terrifying last four years of dictator-mania, and what it means. Also, the swirling pain, world-wide, of the Pandemic has added new layers of trauma that oddly creates a whole new kind of shared experience (though the inequalities of economic division have been made even more evident as a main complexity/complicity of COVID).
I’m proud of what Moira and I, along with our team of co-editors, Adedayo Agarau, Jakky Bankong-Obi, Ankh Spice, Elisabeth Horan, and newest addition, Khashayar Mohammadi (Kramer) have been able to achieve inside the framed confines of 2020.
Moira and I went full steam ahead with our international year-long Geographies project, followed by the ongoing Dispatches from a Pandemic series, and finally, our triumphant collaborative Mother/Service/Voice project. We invited Jenny Mitchell, a phenomenal UK poet, who in her incisive body of work explores the Middle-Passage, British-Imperialism, the impact of slavery, indenture and institutionalized racism on contemporary UK life (with beautiful and brutal lyricism) to create a prompt for the series. It was our first open-call project with over 75 participating writers and artists.
When I think about it, I’m really pinching myself to realize that we have done so many rich and nuanced projects and attracted worlds of talent whose visionary works tie so sensitively and boldly into what is actually going on in the world(s) we share. I say all this with deep humility and awe, like we have somehow been a conduit for energies that pass through spaces of intention.
So, everyone reading, here’s a plug! Check out http://www.icefloepress.net for some kickass, overwhelmingly fierce, subtle, delicate, experiential, experimental and ruminative works of sensitivity and courage. We have published over 140+ writers and artists from around the globe. We have gathered a convergence of voices who have responded, magnanimously and polyphonically, to our various prompts, and we, at Ice Floe Press, under their formidable wings, have enabled the song, the roll out of daily and weekly anthology projects for the past year and a half or more. I think we are and have been building a reader-writer & art community. I live in wonder and gratitude.

  1. Please give us any promotional info for your work, social media, blogs, publishing company info, etc that you’d like to shout out.
    Robert: Well, as I say, we are thrilled and in awe at the gathering of voices that we have conducted, like electricity, to a ground swell of intersecting, joyful convergence. Ice Floe Press feels like a total blessing, a confluence of generosity of writers and chance elements. Again, to anyone reading thru this, please do come check us out our website.
    In addition to our on-line projects, we have recently published books by Nigerian-Canadian poet, Bola Opaleke (Skeleton of a Ruined Song); a full-length vol. of poetry, Boy, Bestiary, a ferocious extraordinary text by U.K. author, artist, musician and publisher of Burning House Press, Miggy Angel. Boy is a complex book about growing up in the estates of South London and ensuing gentrification. My own hybrid volume, Audacity of Form includes my writings and photo-works by Julia Skop, with digital paintings by Canadian artist, Cathy Daley. Upcoming volumes planned for 2021-2022 include: a full-length book of brilliant, edgy, poetic lyricism by Moira J. Saucer; a new chapbook of love and break-up poems from Welsh queer poet, David Hanlon; a hybrid of poems and drawings by Toronto poet and Floodlight publisher, Sam Strathman. A full-length book of VISPO and accompanying texts by Boston-based writer-artist Whiskey Radish is in the queue. Hand Book (Manual) will be a compendium of interviews, film script, misc. texts, art, letters, poems, theory and other surprises by the wondrous writing/directing duo of Lynne Sachs & Lizzie Olesker, exploring the making of and book project re-iteration of a film, Washing Society, about laundry-workers, that toured worldwide in 2019; also, Kushal Poddar’s ‘complete’ Lockdown Diaries in the form of an E-book (our first) is forthcoming. Jaclyn Piudik, NYC-Toronto experimental poet’s new chapbook, poems of mirrors and embodiment and many other projects are currently in development.
    Also, check out Adedayo Agarau’s New International Voices series of new works (essays, CNF), and Kramer’s anything goes column on experimental poetics reviews and Islamic poetics, called Subterranean Chatter. We have a bunch of other projects in development from a new web-series to a new e-book series, an Ice Floe Press reading series, TBA, and sundry. We think it’s gonna be awesome.
  2. How you come up with the themes, and all the artwork that goes into it?
    Robert: Themes for our projects emerge from us as individuals and collaborators. Moira and I talk a lot to generate the writing prompts and decide on future book projects. Then we meet as a team to talk over possibilities. This whole working process we have developed began with an invitation to be Guest Editors for the month of July, 2019 at Burning House Press (UK). Eli, Moira and I were deeply honored to be asked to put together a theme, which became Secrets and Lies. BHP is a creative, inspirational ‘monster’ of a site, now in a semi-hiatus, which has archived all of the work by writers, artists and curated projects. A publisher of edgy, innovative, queer and anti-oppressive experimental/political writing and art, BHP has been a catalyst for many creatives for at least a couple of years, if not aeons. It’s worth visiting the site, and I expect it will likely emerge in a new iteration any time soon, under the mentorship of its founder, Miggy Angel.
    Thinking more about Ice Floe, when it comes to the art component, the creation of banners, Moira and I talk over visual possibilities and both contribute work. I have an enormous library of generative images that I have made over the years and continue to create. They are the ‘working’ material for manipulation and are largely thematic, atmospheric, non-programmatic. We intuitively select relational art to accompany the curated texts, whether a digitally altered photo, a painting or a VISPO. I believe, between myself and Moira, we have embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime partnership, a form of cross-pollinating of collaboration and energy magic that is so rare, and that I know is a blessing. It is a dream from which I hope to never awaken. 😊
    At times, we also ask contributors to provide us with their own images, and there will definitely be further iterations as we move forward into 2021. I also like to ask visual artists whose work I admire such as Cathy Daley or UK photo-artist, Robynne Limoges, and most recently, German photographer Vera Schmittberger to contribute and participate with their own energies and visual templates.
    Toronto-based poet Jaclyn Piudik is currently putting together a project on “Bodies” for the online blog for Spring, 2021. Montana based triple-threat MS Evans is also working on a project for the blog. We finalize prompts and choose whom to invite and when to open for submissions in a gentle, collaborative way that I hope provides a sanctuary, a welcoming engagement of energies in a competitive literary/art field. We are interested in moving beyond hierarchies and aim not just for ‘publishing’ for its own sake, but in choosing projects and interrogating them with breadth and interactivity and encouraging writing-as-a-gathering space rather than a zone of stress, competition, and alienation. I think this is why we attract such intense, hard-hitting and personal work, and it is what makes Ice Floe Press, hopefully, a project of merit that shall continue into the future.
    The magic that is indeterminate, underground, and symphonic in its scope, concerns, and international contexts feels like a gift to continue to nourish and nurture. To conclude, though I now live in Toronto and Moira is living in Alabama, the focus for Ice Floe Press is international, and collaborative. That’s the mandate.

Logo follow at http://www.icefloepress.net (print)
https://icefloepress.net (e version) Twitter: @icefloeP @frede_kenter

4 poems by Robert Frede Kenter published in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

5 poems inspired by Leonard Cohen by Robert Frede Kenter

Wolfpack Contributor: Robert Frede Kenter

A Book Review of “Eden” by Robert Frede Kenter. A review by Ivor Daniel