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Last of the Outsiders by Jack Grapes

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Last of the Outsiders by Jack Grapes


Last of the Outsiders by Jack Grapes


Coming for general release in June, 2019, this major collection is available for preorder (and pre-release shipment).

Last of the Outsiders
offers a sweeping view of prolific American poet Jack Grapes’ fifty-year career. Presenting the core of Grapes’ poetic work, the collection ranges from poems originally printed in 1968 to work written in 2019.

Read a special excerpt from Last of the Outsiders below.

ISBN 9781633980907, 554 pages.

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The collection’s title, Last of the Outsiders, reflects both Grapes’ early ties to the noted anti-establishment journal The Outsider and his standing as an outsider with no allegiance to any one school of poetry. Eternally a chameleon, Grapes defies easy classification; he has been labeled in various periods as an “Outsider Poet,” a “Stand Up Poet,” a “Revolutionary Poet,” a “Confessional Poet,” and a “Man of his Time.” Simultaneously surreal and realistic, desolate and comedic, witty and urbane, Grapes’ work taps into the diverse trajectories of American poetry while never settling on any single viewpoint.

Charles Bukowski once wrote that, “The poems in your chapbook, This Thing Upon Me*, are as good as anybody can write.”

Last of the Outsiders is a two-volume work. This first volume, The Collected Poems, will be followed by a second volume, The Uncollected Poems, which features the balance of Grapes’ poems along with his prose relating to poetry. Last of the Outsiders is the third volume in the Chatwin Collected Poets series, following collections of Maged Zaher and Rex Wilder.

(*included in this collection)

About the Author:

Jack Grapes is a poet, playwright, actor, teacher, and founding editor of the literary journal ONTHEBUS. Grapes’ numerous published works include 13 books of poetry and the award-winning play Circle of Will, which Grapes starred in and co-wrote. Over the last 40 years, he has instructed thousands of poets and writers using his books Method Writing and Advanced Method Writing. Grapes has also taught poetry in over 100 Los Angeles schools. A native of New Orleans, Grapes currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lori.

Special Excerpt from Last of the Outsiders:

“My Rodeo”

I’m ashamed of my cheap rodeo

so I keep it a secret from my friends.

It’s not even as big as theirs

and needs constant repair.

“How’s your rodeo?” someone asks at a party.

“Fine!” they chirp up.

They jump at the chance

to extol the virtues of their rodeo.

Pretty soon a circle gathers

and everyone’s discussing its size,

weather control, the acoustics, the peanuts.

If I stay in my corner someone will notice and ask about mine.

I don’t want to talk about it.

So I join in, chirping up with you-don’t-says,

and isn’t-that-amazings and


By the time I get home

I’m exhausted from avoiding the subject of my rodeo.

I get home and there it is,

not much weather control, lousy acoustics,

Styrofoam peanuts.

There’s no sub-culture, no glitz-trimming,

no contour illuminations, not even jacket hitch

where the top bolt exceeds the maintenance quote lining.

I’m embarrassed and ashamed of the damn thing,

give it a kick and stub my toe, then cover it with a sheet.

Maybe smother it.

I am a man who comes home depressed, lonely,

frustrated, who tries to smother his rodeo,

his cheap rodeo.

And I haven’t even the courage to do that.

Imagine smothering one’s rodeo.

The shame would haunt me for the rest of my life.

So after a while I take the sheet off and go to bed,

hear its slight breathing throughout the night

its occasional cough, the short low moan

just before daybreak. My cheap rodeo.