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Jim Pritchard — “The Neighbors” and “The Man With The Buzzer in His Throat”


There’s lots to say — and as much to keep quiet — about Jim Pritchard.

His story, The Neighbors, ended up being published as the very first synaesthesia press chapbook. As a publisher, I was heavily influenced by the beat chapbooks from the mimeo era, and that was the initial idea for everything the press would put out. Of course, things change, and that policy went out the door when I went to press with the Chris Offutt book. But looking back at The Neighbors, and Pritchard’s other contribution to synaesthesia, The Man With the Buzzer In His Throat, well, I’ll stand by those two books any day.

The Man With The Buzzer in His Throat ended up being published in Vox. The artist Brian Marsland silkscreen the cover in his backyard on a warm spring day in Tempe, Arizona, in two variants: on cover had just the red ink featuring the man with the buzzer in his throat and the title of the story; most, however, had a yellow background.

Now, if we could only find Pritchard. Last time we heard of his whereabouts, he was living in a one-room flophouse in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, driving a cab, and working on a novel. Then, he disappeared.

If you know how to contact him, please let me know — he owes me money.

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Henry Tokarski — To Sherri O’Brien From Morrell Park in Northeast Philadelphia

The synaesthesia press has listings in a few directories soliciting a poem for chapbook consideration. While I’m not big on this sort of thing, who knows if the next Charles Bukowski is sitting in a cheap room pounding out poems and looking for a place to send them? So I keep the listings current, just in case. And, just like everyone who publishes anything, I get more than I could ever print. To top it off, a lot of the work sent in just doesn’t do anything for me.

Enter Henry Tokarski. From the very first poem I read in his submission, I was hooked. I decided to publish the work before I got to the last poem in the batch.

We look to label everything we experience, from music to people, and while I’m not a big fan of this, I do it, too. So when people heard me talking about Henry’s work and asking me, “what’s it like?” my standard reply is Brautiganesque.

When the project started coming together, I asked Gerald Locklin to write an introduction to the book. Here’s part of what he had to say: Henry Tokarski has produced a sequence of youthful, credible love poems in a time not hospitable to such efforts. His method crystallizes lyric moments, probing and preserving them, and, unlike Proust, always in the fewest words possible, as with all minimalist art, spaces and silences are left for the participation of the reader, the merging of his emotional history with that of the writer. All in all, the pieces add up to a serious, tasteful, and psychologically sophisticated chronicling of a romantic passage, singular in tone and auguring a future of well chosen words.

There’s no way I could have described Henry’s work better.

The book is designed; the type is set.

Target publication date for To Sherri O’Brien From Morrell Park in Northeast Philadelphia is Spring, 2009.