“Thom Gunn, Barbara Guest, Robert Creeley, Philip Lamantia, all ghosts now, are invoked without sentiment and with plenty of wry humor.” –Kevin Killian, Attention Span
A power ballad was a hair metal band’s voyage into the softer side of rock, compromising to the integrity of the genre, but genuine and trailblazing. So too is Caples’s Power Ballads. His poems and prose pieces are bizarre and hilarious, in which Dylan and Bowie sit alongside the French surrealists, with the occasional turn into heartfelt romanticism.
From “Garrett Caples Rides Again”
my concealed carry personality
has deformed my trouser content
to the extent my permit permits
i’m shooting off often in public
i’m a blow dart in a wind tunnel
aimed in the wrong direction
a boycotted russian vodka distiller
an assdial away from arrest
Garrett Caples is the author of the essay collection Retrievals, two books of poetry, The Garrett Caples Reader, Complications, and the pamphlet Quintessence of the Minor. He is the co-editor of The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia, Particulars of Place by Richard O. Moore, and Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected Poems by Frank Lima. He is an editor at City Lights Books and curates the Spotlight Poetry Series there. He was also a contributing writer to the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He has written articles and blogged for the Poetry Foundation and occasionally blogs for blogcitylights.com. He has a PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley and lives in San Francisco.