September 30, 2009

UNO Press is proud to announce publication of the first volume of Selected Poems by legendary New Orleans poet, Everette Maddox. Maddox moved to New Orleans after completing his study at the University of Alabama in the ’70s and soon became one of the guiding lights of the local poetry community. He inaugurated the Maple Leaf Bar reading series, now the oldest continuously running reading series in the South, and his life and work left an indelible mark on an entire generation of poets.

Edited by Ralph Adamo

ISBN 13: 978-1-60801-000-4

Paper, 5.5 x 8.25, 168 pages
16.95 (Order Now)

October, 2009

“Ralph Adamo’s selection from Maddox’s four books provides an accessible introduction to readers new to the work, but in its novel organization it also suggests new and surprising readings for those who know the work, or thought they did.
Everette Maddox was all poet and died for it— the Christ of New Orleans— but not before he hosted a good army of angel-poets who can be found all over these states.”
—Andrei Codrescu

“In all the thunderous herd of contemporary poetry, I don’t think I know anyone who has so completely captured his own voice, his own being, in his work as Everette Maddox. This book is Everette Maddox. It pleases me to think that the best of these wonderful poems, like “Crunch,” “Breakfast,” “Disaster Poem,” or “The Miracle,” appear to be effortlessly carved on the morning air, floating there like beautiful little spider webs beaded with dew. Seemingly benign and even fragile, they’ve caught you before you know it.”
—Leon Stokesbury

“In New Orleans, Everette Maddox is to poetry what Marie Laveau is to voodoo and Buddy Bolden to jazz. His legend haunts the streets he lived on, the bars where he drank and wrote and read his poems. As Ralph Adamo says in his Introduction, everyone has their own Everette, “and then we have the poems.” This long-overdue selected brings together a substantial body of Maddox’s work— much of it long out of print. It presents Maddox as a poet “exploding within the memory trace of an older idea of form”— at once tragic and humorous, plain spoken and “cagily ensconced in his own words.” I hope it’s not over, and good-by will be treasured by those of us who were already fans of his poems and introduce him to the larger audience he deserves.”
—Grace Bauer

“This book frames an outpost of exigencies in poetics never before realized on the American terrain. Everette Maddox lived poetry in the saddle, fast and loose, slaking his muse with a reckless grace, all the while knowing it was the ultimate high stakes gamble – not just to win, but to break the house. Taken together, these poems exact some of the most deadly quotients of realness ever to appear in 20th century writs. If today’s mission for the poet is to present a staggering neo-ancient command of alphabets hell-bent on liberating the polyphonic sensibilities of the human vernacular, mission accomplished! Truth be told, for any modern day troubadour who intends to carry forth the torch in poesy, this is where to find it.”
—Dave Brinks

“[This work] captures so palpably the nuances of Maddox’s speaking voice that to read it is to almost touch the man: the savage world-cartooning wit, the sense of beauty and civilization, the carnal-cry, the fascination with history, the resigned and stoically self-caricaturing romantic. It is, as Bob Woolf pointed out… jazz… New Orleans jazz…”
—Rodney Jones

Everette Maddox Songbook

December 5, 2008

Well, is down again. Damn.

Some small compensation: I found that the Everette Maddox Songbook is posted on Google Books.

Not all of it, mind you, but it’s something. Ah well, so here’s a poem from that book:


life death eternal significance
from now on i’m just
going to make whimsical little gifts
this one is for you
it starts off with bullshit
which is mostly just to get your attention
then trudges along
through some fairly dull
explanatory stuff
and finally comes out (if i’m lucky)
at this point which
is where a little silver cowboy
blows the head off a stuffed tiger
with a pop gun
nobody is really hurt
just me because i know
you won’t accept it

In honor of the return of, the poem this little outpost was named for.


I awake, three in the morning, sweating
from a dream of possums.
I put my head under the fuzzy swamp of cover.
At the foot of darkness two small eyes glitter.

Rain falls all day: I remain indoors.
For comfort I take down a favorite volume.
Inside, something slimy, like a tail, wraps around
my finger.

Hear the bells clang at the fire station:
not hoses, but the damp noses of possums issue

Passing the graveyard at night
I wish the dead would remain dead,
but there is something queer and shaggy about these

From the grey pouch of a cloud
the moon hangs by its tail.

At the cafeteria they tell me they are out of
I am furious. Who is that grey delegation
munching yellow fruit at the long table?

I reach deep into my warm pocket
to scratch my balls; but I find, instead,
another pocket there; and inside, a small possum.

My friend’s false teeth clatter in the darkness
on a glass shelf;
around them a ghostly possum forms.

At an art gallery the portraits seem to threaten me;
tails droop down out of the frames.

I screech to a stop at the red light.
Three o’clock, school’s out:
eight or ten juvenile possums fill the crosswalk.

Midnight at Pasquale’s. I lift my fork,
and the hard tails looped there
look curiously unlike spaghetti.

When I go to the closet to hang my shirt on the rack,
I have to persuade several possums to move over.

Drunk, crawling across a country road tonight,
I hear a shriek, look up, and am paralyzed
by fierce headlights and a grinning grill.
I am as good as gone!


Just Normal

December 26, 2007

for Bob Woolf

Now I don’t care about hum-drum
order any more than
you do. I sympathize
with Huck Finn’s taste for
the mixed up. This is no
tight ship. I wouldn’t
want my moments run off on an
assembly line like toy ducks. That’s
not the point: it’s been
raining possums for a month. And now,
when I’m absolutely up to my neck in
a whole bathtub of concerns, you
walk in unannounced, wearing
an ETERNITY sweat-shirt and leading some
kind of out-of-date dog on a leash, and
shake my slippery hand and tell me
“Just normal, thanks.” Well, no
thanks. I’ve had enough. I’m going to
pull myself up over the side, and get
all the way out of my mind.

Everette Maddox

October 9, 1943