Steve Dalachinsky

Steven Donald Dalachinsky, September 29, 1946 – September 16, 2019, was an American poet and activist in the music, art and free jazz scene. For most of his adult life, he wrote poetry and was a frequent reader at Michael Dorf’s Knitting Factory, Poetry Project, and Vision Festival. This Avant-jazz festival is held every year on the Lower East Side. Dalachinsky has also given readings of his work in Japan, France, and Germany. Many musicians collaborated with him, including Susie Ibarra and Matthew Shipp. He also wrote liner notes for many artists, including Mat Maneri Dalachinsky, Mat Maneri Dalachinsky, Mat Maneri Dalachinsky, Roy Campbell, Susie Ibarra and Mat Maneri Dalachinsky. He co-authored the book Logos and Language. A Post-Jazz Metaphorical Dialog. He also collaborated with French photographer Jacques Bisceglia for Reaching Into The Unknown. Incomplete Directions is his spoken word album. Shipp collaborated on the album Phenomena Of Interference. Dalachinsky’s work has also been published in numerous journals and anthologies. He was a 2014 Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres recipient, and also received the Franz Kafka Prize. Yuko Otomo, a poet and painter, lived with him in Manhattan. Dalachinsky was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946. He is often described as having “just after the last major war and has survived lots of little wars”. His family was working-class and he grew up in the Midwood area of Brooklyn. Dalachinsky stated that he was “always writing” from an early age, and also was involved in art. The earliest notes of his writings, which survived, date back to 13 or 15. One time, he was kicked out from a Hebrew school for “wearing a Cross”. He also hung out with Italian children in the area which “framed his perceptions of being Jewish”, according him. Dalachinsky began taking art classes at the Pratt Institute, where he attempted to paint for 18 months before eventually switching to poetry writing full-time. He discovered beat poetry during this time and was able to discover the New York poetry scene. He received Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind, and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl as gifts. This changed his writing style. Dalachinsky also found inspiration in the writings of Albert Camus and Ezra Pound. He also cites obsession, socio-political anxiety, human disappointment, jazz music, and abstract visual arts as his influences. Dalachinsky described his writing process as “spontaneity combined with a conscious push” and a “descriptive transform”. His work has been described as a shift towards “transforming the image instead of merely describing it”. He wrote his poetry for 19 years starting in the 1980s while listening to jazz music and creating poems from scraps of paper. Dalachinsky published a collection of poems in 2006 that was entirely dedicated to Gayle. The poems were arranged chronologically according to the order Gayle performed at. In 2007, the collection received a PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award. It is unique because it documents not only the music but also Dalachinsky’s mental state at the exact moment when he captured a musical phrase. Dalachinsky would respond to Gayle’s performances with poems that reflected his mood. “I am angry with him because of gross behavioral disorders, but when i trap mine oppressors behind me it is the white their greed i see,” Dalachinsky wrote. He also published a collection entitled A Superintendent’s eyes ISBN 978-1-572-7272-2. This book focused on his time as a Soho apartment building superintendent on Spring Street. The Unbearables published it. He and his wife are close friends and have described themselves as “loose collectives of noir humorists beer mystics anarchists, anarchists and passionate debunkers”. Alan Kaufman, in his 2013 review of this book, wrote that “it is the single greatest volume of poetry to have appeared in the past ten years…he’s the poet America has been waiting to free its national verse from its lofty sense of self-importance, and return it to a poetry of flesh, heart, song, and cement, just like Whitman’s Leaves of Grass did during the nineteenth century.” Kaufman described the poems as “ash can sonatas, lovemaking with wife and eating out at restaurants, illness and money worries, cash scores and landlord humiliations, tenant complaints, landlord harassments and ruminations about drug addiction.” They were written over twenty years. One poem he wrote while his wife was in Japan was “snowflowers breathe into me” and he is relocating his writing area. He had previously read his works abroad in Japan, Germany, and England. There he also read his Insomnia Poems with Pete Wyer, an international collaboration for BBC Radio 3. In France, Dalachinsky has performed extensively, earning the award Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has also read at the L’Olympic Cafe, Bordeaux, Sete, and at Les Instants Chavires in Paris. He has also read at the Centre international de poesie, Maison de la Poesie de Nantes, and at Pannonica. He was also part of the Sons d’Hiver Festival, as well as the Val-de Marne International Poetry Festival. He collaborated with French duo-rockers The Snobs, Massive Liquidity in 2011. He collaborated with Alex Lozupone and Eighty Pound Pug, a French duet art-rock band, on a jazz-metal record in 2015; and with Sig Bang Schmidt, a German visual artist, on Flying Home in 2017. In 2017, he also worked with his wife, Frozen Heatwave, and Black Magic. Dalachinsky has provided liner notes to several musicians, including Roscoe Mitchell and Charles Gayle, Anthony Braxton and James Blood Ulmer. He also worked with James Shipp, Roy Campbell as well as Assif Tsahar, Derek Bailey, Rashied Ali, and Matthew Shipp. He has also collaborated with musicians such as William Parker, Susie Ibarra and Matthew Shipp, Roy Campbell. He also wrote chapbooks and books such as Quicksand, The Invisible Ray, Lautreamont’s Laments, Dream Book and In Glorious Black and White.

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