A.J. Kaufmann’s Chapbooks in Jason Behrends’ review, 2008-2010.

A.J. Kaufmann New Architecture (New Polish Beat, May 2009)

„The future looks bleak”

True, staring at the expanse of all that surrounds and engulfs what once was fields and forests it can look bleak. However, I just can’t bring myself to embrace that mentality. The latest collection from AJ Kaufmann is littered with words like upheaval, facade, colonnades, and so on. On the surface it appears that it is the structures that are affecting his outlook and ultimately his future, but the reality is that it is something deeper and more profound. „Where your tangible feet falter/To stand”, it isn’t that the architecture effects the outcome of our lives, but it is the fact that we are tangible and meaningful structures in our own right. It is in that distinction that the friction lays.

Kaufmann presents eight powerful pieces in an attempt to break down this physical walls and doorways of architecture standing in his path. This is New Polish Beat #1 (of 10 so far). There were 25 printed so reach out and support AJ and the new press.

Symbolisme Psychedelique (Sound Library Series, Vol 47) – A.J. Kaufmann (Kendra Steiner Editions, #143)

In the original work, Iacoucci’s composition by the same title, a dark and disturbing scene is painted. There is a mounting tension that is perfectly performed by an array instruments. Yet, this traditional instrument merge into the terror and form a singular line of thought. This work of classical percussion is focused, and one of the haunting pieces of music I’ve heard in a while. Perfect soundtrack for the month of October.
What A.J. Kaufmann has created with Iacoucci’s work in mind, and possibly in ear, is something just as haunting and dark. This mirco-collection reads almost like stage directions to a horror film.

„fog blaze stairs
coconut church-bells
port of slunk days”

Kaufmann sets the tone from page one and slowly creeps through every images. Although based or inspired by Iacoucci’s work this collection is distinctly Kaufmann’s as he transport the reader to shadowy European streets. In just eight poems, Kaufmann is able to horrify and delight and give a literary insight into a piece of music that should be more legendary than it is.

Symbolisme Psychedelique is the 143 book printed by Kendra Steiner Editions and it was printed in a run of 41. Get your copy today.

Amazon, The Fame of God by AJ Kaufmann (Kendra Steiner Editions, July 2010)

The latest collection from Aj Kaufmann is set in the Amazon and tells the cryptic
story of Aguirre. He a character that feels both disconnected from his family and
haunting by demons both literal and perhaps figurative. He is on a journey to escape
what haunts him and to reconnect to his family at the same time. In that sense this
may seem like a traditional tale, but it is told with some really compelling imagery.
This collection is filled with blue monkeys, angels, jungles, rivers, and even God himself. There is struggle, doubt, fear, and confusion that ultimately turns into a meage-twist ending. The collection is inspired by the film „Aguirre, The Wrath of God” (1973) which was directed by Werner Herzog and starred Klaus Kinski. This is the #166th release from Kendra Steiner Editions and is a fine collection of poems. It was published on July 20th in an edition of 49.

A.J. Kaufmann East-West Train: Sound Library Series, Vol. 35 (Kendra Steiner Editions #106, 7/08)

„… departing as scheduled luggage racks empty unfilled w/ your rain & your rain… how it adds to the morning…”

I believe I have said this before, but I really enjoy KSE’s Sound Library series. I know many of you out there can not listen to music while you read, but I suggest you listen to the song or album first and then read the poems. The subject for this chap, AJ Kaufmann’s second KSE release, is the wonderful album Trans-Europe Express by Kraftwerk. I don’t want to delve to far into the album itself, but if you can recall Trans-Europe is such an airy and epic journey that seems to glide along the hillsides and meadows, towns and villas, with songs like „Franz Schubert” and „Endless Endless” and of course the title track. Yet for all their beauty there was that disconnect, the electronic coldness that loomed in the distance. Kaufmann’s poems have that same feel as he rides through Paris, Vienna, Dusseldorf, Warsaw, and Prypiat, looking at the world through glass. In a world of synthetic coffee, showroom dummies (or mannequins) dance and the train moves on to new discoveries. AJ does not only relive the album, but adds an even stranger view as he translates the music into words. It really is magical.

There were only 54 copies of East-West Train by A.J. Kaufmann printed and I hold copy #20 in my hand. To order you copy send a check for $4 (or well-concealed cash) made payable to Bill Shute, 8141-B Pat Booker Rd. #399, San Antonio, Texas, 78233.

A.J. Kaufmann & Bill Shute Beyond The Blue Rocks (Kendra Steiner Editions #113)

„we pass unnoticed through people of paper/their paper streets/environment changes/they never do question/the western lands twinkle…”

For some faith is all there is. Every action, every word, every breathe is filled with faith. It is this complete understanding that can result in a high level of clarity, and an overwhelming sense of peace. In some Faith’s you can expand your understanding and peace through meditation which can take on several different forms. It is more then just sitting a certain way and making a silly noise, it about a focused freedom. It is about expanding your mantra, and releasing everything else.

„Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1)

Beyond the Blue Rocks is a set of meditations on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Yet it is more obtainable and accessible than it may sound. Written by both A.J. Kaufmann and Bill Shute, the collection shifts focus and style rapidly. At its center this collection is about the journey, through life and to faith and freedom. So if you are looking to move beyond or simply find a stronger center, check out the release from KSE.

There were only 55 copies of Beyond The Blue Rocks made and I am holding #26, so order yours today.