Zombie Logic Review is the online literary magazine of Zombie Logic Press, one of the Midwest's oldest independent literary presses. It is edited by Thomas L. Vaultonburg and contains poetry, webcomics, artwork, and short videos. Zombie Logic Review publishes dadaist, surrealist, Outsider, and Outlaw poetry.
Monday, May 9, 2016
Todd Moore, The Founding Force of Outlaw Poetry, and Dennis Gulling's The Blood Dark Sea
Most people don't know this, even people sort of well-versed in the history of the small press, but Outlaw Poetry was started right here in the Rockford area. Belvidere to be exact. By an English teacher at Belvidere High School named Todd Moore. I read with Todd Moore several times, including one time in a basement in Stillman Valley with another legendary small press poet, Lyn Lifshin. he is one of the few poets I ever sent a fan letter to, and my geographical proximity had nothing to do with that. He was a revered small press poet, and probably had a better chance being recognized in Los Angeles than here in Rockford. Like virtually every small press poet I wrote to, including Charles Bukowski, he turned out to be friendly, encouraging, and took time to answer my questions about what it meant to be a small press poet.
he made an impression on a great many prospective writers, including one of his students, Dennis Gulling. So much so that Dennis became a sort of protege of Todd Moore, and began writing his own impressive Outlaw Poetry during high school. For nearly thirty years he has been quietly compiling some of the most impactful poetry of anyone writing in the Midwest. Because of his reclusive nature this has gone unnoticed to many. But those who know speak the name of Dennis Gulling with a respect and appreciation for his canon of work.
Now, for the first time, his poetry has been collected into a full-length book of poems, The Blood Dark Sea. The selections were made by Dennis Gulling himself, and compiled and published by Zombie Logic Press, also of Rockford, Illinois. I am, in fact, the editor of that book, Thomas L. Vaultonburg, and I can report the more I read these poems, and I believe I may have read them more than anyone else on Earth, besides Dennis Gulling, the more I am convinced this is a tour de force of not only Outlaw Poetry, but poetry itself.
I start out this sequential set of poems from The Blood Dark Sea with the poet's own ode to his mentor, Todd Moore.