“Saltwort” Book Launch!

saltwort-front-cover“Saltwort” is selected poetical writings by Joe Linker, author of “Penina’s Letters,” “Coconut Oil,” and “Scamble and Cramble: Two Hep Cats.” Forward by Salvador Persequi. Includes 109 pieces.

US readers may participate in a paperback giveaway:

  • Winner: Every eligible entry has 1 in 4 chance to win, up to 4 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow Joe Linker on Amazon

Follow this link for a chance to win a paperback copy of “Saltwort.” https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/739df558f09931bf NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Promotion Ends the earlier of Feb 20, 2017 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.


  • Saltwort
  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1542768977
  • ISBN-13: 978-1542768979
  • Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches



Read and Nap

Sunday Comics Jun 24 16Scamble and Cramble
Two Hep Cats
and Other Tall Tales

Deconstruction & Design

Scamble and Cramble Cover DesignIn the process of deconstruction we discover new ideas. We need not start with a design in hand. We don’t necessarily need a plan. Unless, of course, there is some destination we are particularly interested in, we need to get to. If that’s the case, we’ll usually find ourselves on the wrong path, wrong way on a one way street, people barking directions at us, flipping us off. But if we begin with deconstructing that destination, we often find we discover interesting things along the route we end up taking we would have otherwise missed. There will be constraints. Fences and gates. Do Not Enter signs. No Solicitors. Beware the Dangerous Critic!

At the same time, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for directions, listen to our critics, gather advice, ask for consent, patience, forgiveness of our trespasses. That the severe critic may be lurking behind the next corner, hiding in a recessed alcove doorway, spitting sunflower seed shells from an open second story window, pulling us over to ask for license and registration – that the severe critic lurks in the shadows of our path is a good thing. The critic keeps us awake when we might otherwise fall asleep, and reminds us of our responsibilities to audience, sense, time, and place, direction, design, and deconstructions.

Coming Soon!

Common keyboard signs and punctuation marks become characters in this experimental children’s book for readers of all ages. Scamble and Cramble are two cats observing, interpreting, and commenting on daily events. Other animals come and go, too, changing with text and form and story. “Scamble and Cramble” may work best for independent middle grade readers. Younger children may enjoy perusing the book with an older guide. The book’s Concrete Poetry techniques use standard keyboard symbols and readily accessible font types and sizes. Readers may be encouraged to explore more the world of concrete poetry.

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (June 24, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1533501084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1533501080
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches

Scamble and Cramble
Two Hep Cats
and Other Tall Tales

Cover Design

Working on a cover for a forthcoming children’s book:

Literary Influences

Stack of paperbacks from high school.Count up 12 books from the bottom in the pic to the left (a stack of books mostly from the mid-60s) and you’ll find “The Fall of the House of Usher,” a book of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. I spent a 9th grade weekend copying out longhand Poe’s tale “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Never mind why, but it was a punishment I rather enjoyed.

Six books from the bottom is “The Time Machine,” H. G. Wells’s forecast for long term care for the human race.

Eight books up you’ll find Jerzy Kosinski’s “The Painted Bird.” I was in 10th grade Home Room class sitting behind a friend who was reading furtively in a paperback I didn’t recognize. I asked him what he was reading. He gave me the book, but asked that if caught with it I would not tell where I got it. We didn’t know one another that well, though later we became good friends. He had substantially more stock with the authorities, was a genius. But he seemed concerned that I might be traumatized by the reading experience. Some critics now suspect that Kosinski was traumatized by the writing experience.

I wrote a paper in 10th grade arguing that Melville’s “Pierre, Or the Ambiguities” contained more social insight than “Moby Dick.” Unfortunately, I can’t fine my 10th grade copy of “Moby Dick”; fortunately, though, I can’t find the 10th grade paper I wrote, either. I still have the Rhinehart edition of “Moby Dick” we used at Dominguez Hills.

That Sherlock Holmes “Memoirs” used to have a partner, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” It’s a mystery what happened to it.

I remember first reading “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” in high school, but I can’t remember what grade. But I remember wondering about a scene where Leamas is shaken by a near miss on the highway. Is he less shaken by the near miss than by the recognition that the near miss has shaken him?

I can’t find my 9th grade copy of “Two Years Before the Mast.” I can’t imagine anyone wanting to borrow it. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, we were moving some things around, sort of spring cleaning, impatient for spring, and we wound up with a couple of bags of used books we decided to take down to Powell’s. They took about half of them, but I was surprised they took as many as they did. Do literary influences wane over time? What else can’t I find? All the Steinbeck books gone, but I know where they went. All four original Salinger books not to be found, though three have been replaced. The early “Walden,” “On the Road,” but also replaced.

I don’t suppose anyone reads Asimov’s “The Human Body: Its Structure and Operation” anymore. If we want to know something about the human body, we google it. But who thinks of the body as an operating system? It’s like talking about books as physical objects, and as if their mere presence might have an effect on us, like a gravity, the experience of influence.

Related Posts: Reading influences and Henry Miller: more on reading influences.

Anything Read: 4 by Peter Mayle

Peter Mayle books.“Anything Considered” (1996) was purchased at an estate sale toward the end of last summer, along with a framed print of a dragonfly. I promptly found a place on the wall over the back room piano for the dragonfly, but I didn’t get around to reading my first Peter Mayle book (the author of, as the book covers repeat, “A Year in Provence,” which I’ve not read) until the holidays. I liked “Anything Considered,” and on a Powell’s run before Christmas found three more Mayle books in good used condition. The four read are what might be loosely described as mystery books, crime fiction, though the plots are not hard-boiled, not even soft-boiled, but over easy, poached, or sunny side up.

Indeed, the sun is a character in the southern French settings where Mayle’s mysteries are cooked, the  plots as convoluted as French cuisine. Typically, the main character is a self-imposed outsider, disaffected with bourgeois standards, but not hostile to its spoils, inveigling his way in and out of capers involving an array of likable and despicable characters, though these labels don’t always identify the good and bad guys. Femmes arrive, though not of the fatale type, after a spell, and the plots are continually interrupted by structured meals with plenty of cheeses and wines. The writing is full of atmosphere created by descriptions of weather and water, food and drink, furniture and clothes, structures and landscapes. Much of the action takes place outdoors. The tone is often sarcastic, in places ribald. The plots move the characters out of Provence, to London or Paris, and the contrast has everyone, reader included, wanting to get back into the sun.

Of the four read, “Anything Considered” is the longest and most detailed, and contains the most sinister villain. I then read “Hotel Pastis” (1993), the funniest of the four, slapstick, even, with a primary dual running plot that weaves around and up and down like a bicycle ride through the countryside – actually, that is part of the plot.  “Chasing Cezanne” (1997) adds art to the cheeses and wines, and “The Vintage Caper” (2009) adds a Hollywood flair to the mix.

But if I’ve not interested readers in the Mayle books, perhaps the dragonfly will satisfy:


This is Portland for Christmas

I asked Eric if for Christmas he might like a couple of books. It was a busy week, with the Christmas baby on her way, and so Susan and I found ourselves in Powell’s on Hawthorne two days before Christmas looking around for things we thought Eric might find interesting, not an easy chore, since we have trouble usually identifying things that even we might find interesting. It’s not easy finding the right book at the right time for someone. Choosing a book is like picking a campsite. But Susan’s a genius at this sort of thing, and found Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs, perfect, and Nickel and Dimed: Undercover in Low-wage USA, by Barbara Ehrenreich (the perspicacious reader will pick up on the perfect pairing these two books make).

Then, waiting in a long Powell’s last minute Christmas line with a hundred other Portlanders on Hawthorne, I spotted what appeared to be a little, homemade paperback, This is Portland: 13 Essays About the City You’ve Heard You Should Like, by Alexander Barrett. Three of the essays are only one sentence long (illustrated, to give them a bit more heft), and I liked that he still called them essays, and that you could read an entire essay standing in line at Powell’s on Hawthorne and that by the time you got to the counter, you could finish the book, and if you didn’t like it, you could just put it back. But I did like it, and I thought Eric would dig it, and the essay that cinched the deal (two pages long, still standing in line), was “Hawthorne V. Belmont,” about the supposed value clash between the two alt-commercial Portland East-side strips.

The author of This is Portland had only moved to Portland eight months before the writing of his book, but the book’s undated, which we find a bit weird, but Portlanders are supposed to value weird, so there you go, but a bit of Toads sleuthing and we came up with an on-line version of the book ($5 at Powell’s, but we’re more than ok with that, see below), and not only that, but we discovered (ok, this was actually pretty easy, the sleuthing part, since Alex the brief essayist included his website address at the end of his book) an amazing website devoted to himself, the Portland essayist, apparently hosted by his parents.

About being ok spending $5 for something available on-line for free: obviously, emailing somebody a link doesn’t make for much of a gift, but beyond that, we continue to support hard copy whenever we can, and Alex’s little hard copy book has already been shared and read by at least six others, folks dropping in on Christmas day to visit and share-alike. It’s a wonderful Portland.

Related: “Portlandia“; “Portlandia Portraits