Catfish McDaris – My Life Between Van Gogh And 27 Hammerheads Circling Ever Closer


I met Catfish McDaris some days ago. He was inundated with submissions about his Vincent Van Gogh project, so I decided that also mine could fit with his anthology. They fit and suddenly I found an editor and a friend. He is well known in the poetry independent panorama in the U.S.A. and this is what he told to me about his love for Van Gogh art, his last book “27 Hammerheads Circling Ever Closer” and his future projects.

Here we are Cat. Your next book of poems is out and at the same time there is this big, great, tasty anthology ready to come. Tell us more about the backstage of your publishing life.

27 Hammerheads Circling Ever Closer just came out. It’s 316 pages for $13 plus postage. It’s New and Selected Prose and Poems Buying Choices: 27 Hammerheads Circling Ever Closer by Catfish McDaris Link:

The Vincent van Gogh Anthology, Resurrection of a Sunflower is almost finished. It is 545 pages, with a Nobel Prize Nominee plus a Pulitzer Prize Nominee included. We also have 2 poems in Italian by a young Italian writer. This is truly a masterpiece, but it is difficult working with so many writers. Backstage, well I get up and snort a big pile of cocaine, drink some tequila, go for a long run, if I see any pretty ladies along the way, I ask for sex. Just a normal day for me.

Vincent Van Gogh. Tell us more why him and when was born the idea of the anthology.

I’ve always felt this strange vibration from van Gogh. We were both born in ‘53, 100 years apart and he died on my birthday, July 29th. The first time I saw his paintings I felt like I was having an orange sunshine flashback. I was hypnotized, mesmerized, seduced, drunk with love. I wanted to fly. Vincent is the man.


With Mr. Marc from Pski’s Porch is a long term literary relationship. Tell us more about freaky moments or ideas you had in these periods.

I met Dr. Marc through the mail last year. I sent a book query to him, he liked my samples. We did a book called Sleeping with the Fish. It has had some success, we got together again this year. Then we had this idea to do a van Gogh Tribute, around 300 pages. The book soon got up to almost 600 pages. People are still sending submissions. We should have it out soon. Dr. Marc does excellent work, I’m lucky to have met him.

You wrote a book along with Charles “Hank” Bukowski and you were often associated to Ginsberg. What is “Beat” for you and is it live yet?

The book Prying was with Bukowski, Jack Micheline and me. It was an honor to work with both of them. They were both geniuses. I got lucky again. I’d been in many small press mags with Buk, my daughter, Elizabeth got published with Buk when she was 9. I’ve been in print with Ginsberg too. I sent Ginsberg and Burroughs both fan letters and $25 checks for signed books. They were both very generous. In 98 I read at a huge Beatnik reading in New York near Ginsberg’s farm. I guess there are lots of definitions of Beat. Maybe it’s just being cool and living as free as you can. I don’t think it means quit your job, grow your hair, get some love beads, bongos, and a beret. I think you can be Beat inside and just let it out when you want.


Your playground are small presses and the underground panorama. How has it changed since you started and what would you suggest to an emerging poet?

The small press’ biggest change is the Web. No more SASE letters by mail, slow snail mail. Waiting by your mailbox. Instant entire world connections. On line magazines versus print paper magazines. Facebook. Computers storing manuscripts. The mimeo mags have almost died. Print On Demand, self-publishing, scams from all directions. Open microphones, blog shows, you tube, it’s open season. For an emerging writer, just keep writing no matter what. Read, write, submit, take your reject licks, don’t stop, write for yourself. Say fuck the world, if you can’t make yourself happy, then quit. Start flying kites or watching birds or jacking off dogs.

Poetry, as any kind of art, is also politics. Why is this great mess happening for you in the world?

What mess? Oh, you mean “the old you do me and I’ll do you”? There is lots of that shit for sure. Buk said politics was like trying to screw a cat in the ass. He also said Democrats were hot shit and Republicans are cold shit. I agree. Life will continue until it doesn’t. It’s best to enjoy each day like a cat in the sunshine with a virgin asshole.

Now jump in the “van” and don’t make any questions. What is on the program for your future?

Well once van Gogh gets all the wrinkles ironed out, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. I may do a reading in NYC and possibly The Netherlands at The Vincent van Gogh Library in Nuenen on the street where Vincent lived. I may do a handmade book about Frida Kahlo with Red Mare next year. Right now, I’m going to rip some asses wide open with a scorcher. Titled: 13 Poems to Read While Taking A Shit. I’d like to do a book in Italian with you, Mendes or Gabri at White Fly.

To know more about the very last book by Catfish McDaris you can read and click down there

27 Hammerheads.JPG

The latest collection from underground lit swashbuckler Catfish McDaris will pull knock your socks, and pants, and shirt, and assorted undergarments, clear off. You can find them in the yard later, for now, page after page of Catfishy goodness.


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