In The Lighthouse Above the Graveyard, John Thomas Allen and Alan Gullette
engage in breaking the levees of the poetic imagination and distilling an ore of ivy
bamboo in this almost perversely intense volume. They read like a spell written in
hieroglyphs of baking sheet letters spinning without a head. To miss this is to
forsake vision, a parasurrealism that sees everything and nothing at once
in a small annihilating point.
This collaborative poem by John Thomas Allen and Alan Gullette takes its place
in the grand tradition of surrealist collaboration initiated by Breton and Soupault in
The Magnetic Fields: two poets become communicating vessels for concocting
a magical word that will transform the world. Driven by the counterpoint of two voices,
language turns incandescent. The Lighthouse Above the Graveyard shines like a revolving eye
across the darkness we inhabit.
-- Andrew Joron, author of Trance Archive, The Cry at Zero,
Neo-Surrealism; Or, The Sun at Night: Transformations of Surrealism in American Poetry, et al.
John Thomas Allen and Alan Gullette... have achieved something novel, innovative, and
unprecedented in this substantial book in which they have combined their considerable talents.
-- from the foreword by Donald Sidney-Fryer, author of Songs and Sonnets Atlantean;
Emperor of Dreams, A Clark Ashton Smith Bibliography; Gaspard de la Nuit by Aloysius Bertrand (translation); et al.
Freud said to the young surrealists to beware of unconscious imagery, and
Meyer Schapiro said even dreams were social. John reminds me of Lamantia, Vigo,
Bolano -- raw and angry but with a clear day under his baseball cap. Like the Berrigan
brothers, he seems to be writing a last protesting book, with the harp of Harpo and
instead of handcuffs from a flic who appears to look like a hamburger...
The soul is conscious in this new voice, and John wears a rosary around his neck.
Real as Albany, his infra-surrealism is growing and growling. Good that he's so
disappointed; he occupies a special place in Poetry Park.
-- David Shapiro, author of New and Collected Poems,
Abstract Expressionism: A Critical Record, et al.
When I first read some of John's work, I thought I was reading some lost bits of Bob Kaufmann!
-- Lee Ballentine, author of Poly: New Speculative Writing, Renounce the Emerald Piety, et al.
The work of John Allen is profoundly moored; it is exploratory, shaded and searching.
Read his work, and follow his quest.
-- Charles Bane, Jr., author of The Chapbook: Poems by Charles Bane, Jr.,
I Meet Geronimo and Other Stories, et al.
John Thomas Allen's surreal images strung together like pearls; seemingly
random events and characters juxtaposed in ways that expose mind-expanding
meanings; the pungent, unblinking eye of the camera obscura; the unexpected voice
of transients, ne'er do wells and those forgotten by fortune; these flavors and many
more await readers of John Thomas Allen's dreamlike Humanist poetry and prose.
There is a certain light to these visions -- a three-in-the-morning beam of truth that
exposes both deep flaws and great beauty in every subject, every character.
John Thomas Allen offers us a mirror -- who among us can resist looking?
What we see in the process is the bones of our collective socio-intellectual hypocrisy.
The result is a simultaneously humbling and edifying reading experience: our flaws
are laid bare but we realize in the blush of our shame that we still have an ineluctable
beauty if only we are willing to cultivate it. John Thomas Allen's world has existed
always, around us, among us and within us; in coming to terms with his humbling and
uplifting indictments, we can only shake our heads and wonder how it is that we have
missed so much for so long. Read, and walk with him.
-- Rich Follet, author of Silence, Inhabited: Poetic Reflections on
Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse, Responsorials, et al.
Alan Gullette's remarkable gift for finding exactly the right word for the right place,
his scintillating use of symbol and metaphor, and the keenness of his insight into the
fundamental weirdness of everyday life should give him high rank among modern poets.
Gullette is worthy to carry the torch of Californian imaginative poetry. It would be impossible
for him to write anything unpoetical.
-- S. T. Joshi, author of Emperors of Dreams: Some Notes on Weird Poetry;
The Thirst of Satan: Poems of Fantasy and Terror by George Sterling; I Am Providence:
The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft, et al.
Alan Gullette's poems manage to capture those carefree moments of transport that occur
all too rarely after childhood (and frequently only with the help of shamanic inebriants) -- the
rapture, beatitude and ecstasy of simply being alive. Reading his poems gives me flashbacks
to the times when I was tripping in fields of wildflowers, or in forests, with a dryad by my side.
-- Keith Allan Daniels, author of Satan Is a Mathematician: Poems of the Weird,
Surreal and Fantastic; What Rough Book: Dark Poems and Light; Loopy is the Inner Ear; et al.
Gullette's poems have entertained, intrigued, challenged and surprised us for decades
as he is one of the few contemporary poets who, through the camera of life, sees through
a metaphysical lens and is not afraid to put pen to paper in order to preserve the experience.
A poetry collection would be incomplete, without at least one volume of Alan Gullette upon the shelves.
-- Benjamin Szumskyj, poet and editor of Studies in Fantasy Literature,
Studies in Australian Weird Fiction, Sword and Sorcery & Weird Fiction Terminus, etc.