Pacific Standard Time
Author: Kevin Opstedal
Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse (2016)
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.
"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."
"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."
"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