Ugly Duckling Presse

Pacific Standard Time
Pacific Standard Time

Kevin Opstedal

edited by Julien Poirier, Noel Black

Poetry | $18 $15
Fall 2016
Buy"A tireless soldier in the fields of contemporary poetry"
This collection of new and selected poems by Santa Cruz-based poet Kevin Opstedal will be many people’s first introduction to this legendary Bay Area poet and small-press publisher. Full of West-Coast surf vernacular and the dark, hypnotic pull of waves breathing, Opstedal’s poems manage to float from Donne to the Romantics and Rimbaud, then wash up on the shores of the New York School in Bolinas.

At 200+ pages, this book will give a thorough introduction/reintroduction to Opstedal's enormous output of chapbooks and two full-length collections, as well as new poems from a lone, reclusive voice that might otherwise find itself lost to its own time. Excerpt ˇ


The Tender Distortion of Parkinglots Near the Sea

Indispensable wet pavement
strumming the latitude & longitude
speaks to the inner noble savage

stars gravitate towards the corners of the sky
     while breath continues to scratch the surface

you get used to it after a while

Trees fall inside tubes
held up against the light

        morning somersaults from the vaulted
        sky ceiling

                         wings stroke your left ventricle

The way pavement starts to ripple in the light
the sun creasing the late afternoon sky

                        might put a dent in your haloClose ˆ

About the Author

Kevin Opstedal
Born and raised in Venice, California, Kevin Opstedal is a poet whose line leaves three decades of roadcuts across the entire imaginary West. His twelve books and chapbooks include two full-length collections, Like Rain (Angry Dog Press, 1999) and California Redemption Value (Uno Press, 2011), and his Blue Books Press, one of many of his "sub-radar" editorships, belongs in the same breath as the great California poetry houses (Auerhahn, Big Sky, Oyez...) that his own poems seem to conjure like airbrushed flames on a lemon carrying Ed Dorn, Joanne Kyger, Ted Berrigan, and some wide-eyed poetry neophyte to a latenite card game in Bolinas. “His poems,” writes Lewis MacAdams, “are hard-nosed without being hard-hearted.” As identity and ideas duke it out in the back-alley of academia, Opstedal surfs an oil slick off Malibu into the apocalypse of style.

About the Editor

Julien Poirier

Julien Poirier was a founding member of Ugly Duckling Presse, where he co-edited the first seven issues of 6x6 and edited New York Nights newspaper from 2001 to 2006. He lives in California with his wife and daughters.

Noel Black
Noel Black lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, artist Marina Eckler, and their son Ursen. Co-founder with Ed Berrigan of LOG Magazine and publisher of Angry Dog Midget Editions in the late 1990s, he has since worked as a writer and producer for a wide variety of media outlets including The Stranger and WNYC. He currently works as a producer for KRCC public radio. He is the author of half-a-dozen chapbooks including Hulktrans (Owl Press) and In The City of Word People (Blue Press, 2008).

Advance Praise

No one deserves a comprehensive collection like this more than Kevin Opstedal, a tireless soldier in the fields of contemporary poetry, both as discoverer/editor and as prolific poet. An Olson without mountain, a maximus of the Pacific, Opstedal roams the beaches of Venice or Santa Cruz picking up poems ranging from the sprawling epic of history and pop culture to the compact lyric effusion of observation and feeling. He’s as liable to find a poem ransacking a tiki bar as he is pouring over an inscription on an Etruscan urn, and there’s a superb indifference to poetic fashion in favor of devotion to his own chosen household gods that any poet would do well to aspire to.There’s a moral component here too, a “punk compassion,” as he says, sifting through the detritus of America to extract the gold of time.—Garrett Caples
Welcome to Pacific Paradise, where the sky is swept with turquoise red sunsets–and Satan can steal a surfboard. Kevin Opstedal, master of the coastal metaphor, rides through the drama of these poems confident of where his heart is—"lapped and pummeled" by Pacfic waves. His poems take center stage in the drama of the surf zone. Take a bow, Kevin.—Joanne Kyger
For decades Kevin Opstedal has kept the underground lit as prolific poet, surfer, printer of books by many and correspondent to all. A chameleon of classic styles, his poems are as vital as the water we drink. Filtered through a wave of narcotic clarity and witful nonchalance, Pacific Standard Time shows us that he's capable of doing whatever the poem asks, any time / any place.—Micah Ballard