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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pioneer Outsider Poet Crad Kilodney

There are few stories in the strange saga that is the history of small press poetry than a man named Crad Kilodney. Nobody is really named Crad Kilodney you might say. And you'd be right. Crad Kilodney was actually a pen name for American born Toronto writer Lou Trifon. There's not much chance I'd be writing about Crad Kilodney if one day circa 1990 I hadn't gone to my mailbox and found the book Lightning Struck My Dick in a package someone had sent to me. I seem to remember it was Hold the Pickle editor Richard Seffron, but sadly I have learned through internet research that Richard died in the early 1990's. The small press era of poetry was a strange time because you really didn't know much, if anythiong, about the poets you were reading. You couldn't look up their pictures on the internet. You couldn't friend them on Facebook and hear their political or religious rants, so all you really had to go on was the writing itself. What the hell is one supposed to think about a writer who titles a book Lightning Struck My Dick? For me I thought it was just about the funniest thing I ever saw and tried to show it to others who didn't think it was the funniest thing they ever saw. Twenty-five years later I still assert that they were wrong.

Lightning Struck My Dick, published by Crad Kilodney in 1980, is still the funniest title of a book in the history of humanity. I'm not even sure there is a close second.

I'm not going to publish anything here from the book because I don't have any right to do that, and almost certainly you won't be able to find a copy at a reasonable price, but I think if you look hard enough you might find a place to read some of it on the internet. As for my copy, decades of floods, evictions, middle of the night moves, thefts, and just plain losing things has decimated my small press library. I don't even really have the heart to start collecting again. Also, I was unable to even find a copy for sale on the internet. As for Kilodney, he died of cancer in 2014 after retiring from writing for the most part in the 1990's. I can really identify with that, especially after he went to jail for trying to sell his own work on the streets of Toronto. His harassment didn't rise to the level of what the city of Cleveland did to da levy, but he definitely encountered resistance to his self-published work.

Another way I really identify with Kilodney is how he says he was inspired less by great literature than by the thousands of slush pile manuscripts he encountered while working at various vanity publishing houses and in book warehouses. 99.9% of all poetry is bad poetry, so if one can get a tatse for that one has a limitless supply to be entertained by. Like Zombie Logic Press, Kilodney established Charnel House to publish his own work, and put out 32 books between 1978 and 1985, including Mental Cases, Pork College, and the aforementioned Lightning Struck My Dick.

This is Crad Kilodney. In my opinion a pioneer of Outsider Poetry. You can learn more about him here



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