Clash By Night: A Visit From Poet/Punk Gerry LaFemina

One of the highlights of spring 2015 was a visit by my old friend and collaborator Gerry LaFemina.  Gerry read from his poetry and fiction for a rapt crowd of students at Saint Joseph's University and he answered our many questions about his life as a writer, an advocate for poetry, and a punk rocker.

Gerry also treated us to a preview of his latest project--one that's especially thrilling to a poet-slash-music enthusiast like myself.

Yes, that's Gerry on the cover!
The first in a projected series of anthologies inspired by classic albums, Clash By Night gathers poems responding to specific songs on The Clash's seminal album London Calling

For instance, this classic--

--which inspired this poem by George Yatchisin:


It wasn't the socialism--I had
the Gang of Four for that.
Plus who doesn't want 
to chuck work, especially when
there's rock 'n' roll, a chance
to chant with our chosen
likeminded young believers.
No, it was the pull across the pond
when the song dropped Harrisburg,
and TMI's threatening cooling
towers, close, so close to home.
Atoms split with the power
of a guitar chord and the shock wave
ripples still, accents, angers, all
the things we share in the terror
we hope never bores us to death.

And this blast from the not-too-distant past:

--which kick-started this poem by Chryss Yost:

Guns of Brixton

This whole place has been blasting open

since before it was a place, before there
was a surface to the earth.  Violence
what we're made of.  We are stardust,
tarnished and repelled by the rest
our own dusty breath.  God is a bullet.
The rest of us, we're nothing but targets.


The hits keep coming in Clash By Night.  I look forward to future album-inspired anthologies in Gerry's inventive Lo-fi Poetry series. And I told him that when he's ready to take on Born to Run he should be sure to give me a call.


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