In Appreciation of Lewis Warsh
(On the basis of a work sample Lewis admitted me to the edit The World workshop in the early 1990s. A poet who writes plays, I lived in Philadelphia. An unknown. He offered me publication. Lewis did this all his professional life. Seeking out new artists. His support and encouragement invaluable to many.)
Good friend to many. Mentor, publisher, originator, anchor, artist. Abstract words, place holders. I am thinking of the pencil dot that begins a stroke or the first click of a Hermès when a poem starts. (Lewis told me he wanted one of those Baby Hermès portables, nearly flat when packed. Proto laptop. A mechanism to go anywhere. Light touch. Easy finger hits on a lever to a letter. Direct unfiltered click. Not a digital electron switch. I have one that went where I went. Strapped to the tank of a motorcycle.) Lewis is that to me, a starting point for a major arc. The infinitesimal small dot that starts a line, lifeline. A line that outlines, a companion, everywhere. Start in the mid-1990s for me. Many of us like this
can we make ourselves vacant open for impression
let the self go hurting all the time shoulder knee is
it my back again there’s a state there’s release skin
soft thinking like that eyes glassy focused something
will happen beauty sits on a leaf or floats in the canal
words syncopate or do not when written they string
child’s piano tin tinkle pluck kerplunk can it be a flute
what instrument we say voice quiver Coltrane or
Miles the ballads yes but there’s the wait to hear the
space opened who are you i will try to see you all of
you i am inside far as i can go here’s looking at you kid
what Lewis did
Lewis Warsh was a good friend. I would visit and consult with him,
feel close, remember. A good friend who was (is) mentor, model,
teacher through example and attention. Lewis made Art, poems,
and prose, the quality of these works acknowledged, valued,
deserving attention, will continue gaining attention.
It’s the modeling which I think of at the moment. The making.
There’s a workshop Lewis led in the mid 1990s at St. Mark’s.
Phyllis Wat, KB Nemcosky, Lydia Cortés, Peter Bushyeager,
Be LeRoe, Donna Cartelli, Bill Kushner, Tom Savage, Ed Roberson, Ruth Altmann, Lilla Lyon, others. Our workshop relocated to people’s apartments when St Marks moved on. It still happens in the present. Karin Randolph, Hillary Keel now included. All that work, all those publications, two presses, Ten Pell, and Straw Gate Books. Thank you, Lewis.
DENNIS MORITZ writes a lot of plays that get produced and published. Mainstage and improvised spaces. Venues include: Public, Freedom Theater, Here, St. Mark’s, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Painted Bride, Bowery Poetry Club. His works have been anthologized, appeared in poetry and theater magazines. United Artists published two books of his theater works. Only playwright ever in their catalogue.