Openned Press is a non-profit press set up by the Openned series organisers, founded by Alex Davies and Steve Willey, in collaboration with Amy De'Ath.

from the Mountain of California... - Richard Parker

£5.44 - ORDER

Read a sample


  • A5
  • Paperback



Richard Parker:

from The Mountain of California ... is a machine for holding various possibilities in suspension: a flux capacitor. Hence the general structural elements of the piece; it is basically a long poem and it’s also short poems. Both of those possibilities. The line also works in this way; the caesura marking a move against the syntax, but both systems persist (when you read it you should both take account of the marks and ignore them). And then all those marginally fraudulent organisational systems (the maps, index, date-lines, geographical tags, contents page, title, advance praise, fussy typography and perhaps even its very appearance in book form) offer ways in which the thing might exist. But they complicate one another of course (not as antipodes, but nonetheless as things that wouldn’t normally co-exist) and while they can't all coexist, they do, and should be considered to.

Within this machinery there are thematic concerns that should match up quite closely and complicatedly with the above; the long poem's a travel book, on the model of and partly based on John Muir's The Mountains of California (1894), and is concerned with nature and the very particular urban situation in Northern California and the San Francisco Bay area. And there's a bit of Vulgar Marxism and some existentialism too as well as a whole bunch of dialectical Zen negation. This has to suggest the political, right? And this negation's the key to beauty, and though it's politics too, it's also a love poem and a diary and other very personal first-person things, as well as, hopefully, being flexible enough to incorporate a fair amount of contingent elements and process-derived material.


Praise for from the Mountain of California... 

Jonty Tiplady 'It’s like a gently spastic travel colouring-in logbook. I like how gentle it really is, and sparing and generous with other (poets).'

Tim Atkins 'Really bright, clear, & clean.'

Cherry Smyth 'It reads beautifully and is splitting in all the good ways.'

Jessica Pujol Duran 'All very precise.'


About the author

Richard (R.T.A.) Parker was born in 1978. He received his D.Phil. from the University of Sussex in 2010, after completing his thesis on Ezra Pound and Louis Zukofsky. 

His poetry has appeared in Onedit, Signals, The Rialto, Great Works, Freaklung, Naked Punch, Glitch, Brand and The Wolf, and he has read at various reading series, including Crossing the Line, Chlorine, and Desperate for Love. He is the editor and printer of Crater; a hand-bound and letter-pressed poetry pamphlet series based in London and Brighton. 

from The Mountain of California ...  was occasioned when Richard received a copy of John Muir's The Mountains of California, which is the source of many of the poems. It is his first collection.