Aphorisms by Richard Kostelanetz

I am once again indebted to Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the ursprache blog and author of the aphoristically amazing Tramp Freighter, for alerting me to new aphorists, this time the experimental poet and multi-genre artist Richard Kostelanetz:

“Because aphorisms are short, each word counts. And perhaps it takes a poet to create aphorisms in which the number of words is evenly counted. In this case, Richard Kostelanetz has used just 4 words per for his ‘mini maxims’. In a way, the words of this book have an extra measure of weight, because Kostelanetz’s Mini Maxims have been published by the fine letter-press poetry publisher, Adastra Press. Literally the weight of each piece of type can be felt when the printer Gary Metras, a skilled poet himself, handsets the type for each page of the book. The book Mini Maxims may be ordered from Adastra Press, 16 Reservation Road, Easthampton MA  01027, for $18.00 US postage paid. (Also available from spdbooks.com and amazon.com.)

Also, serendipitous aphorism discoverer Dave Lull came across Kosti’s Ambrose in the New English Review, Richard Kostelanetz’s appropriations of aphorisms from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce (Geary’s Guide, pp. 356-358), which Kostelanetz describes as “rewriting some of [Bierce’s] entries to make them mine and adding a few of my own reflecting his influence, not just what I wish I wrote but what I rewrote.” Here, for example, is a little quatrain from the original Devil’s Dictionary about this blog’s preoccupation:

The flabby wine-skin of his brain
Yields to some pathologic strain,
And voids from its unstored abysm
The driblet of an aphorism.

And here’s a taste of Richard Kostelanetz’s mini maxims:”

Luck cannot be duplicated.

Internal emptiness inevitable surfaces.

If uninvited, arrive late.

Anyone understood becomes predictable.

Rationalize equals rational lies.