Various Biographical Notes for Michael Andrews
MICHAEL ANDREWS, co-founder/publisher/editor with Jack Grapes of Bombshelter Press and ONTHEBUS, is living, for the moment, in L.A. and getting by. He has published 9 books of poetry, and 8 fine print poetry/photography portfolios. He has traveled around the world twice, spent time in Vietnam and Iran, rode a motorcycle to Peru, ran the San Juan River and spent a month in the Peruvian Amazon. His leg was seriously damaged in a motorcycle accident in 1987. He and Dave Widup completed a book of poems about Vietnam, In Country. He has just finished two unpublishable novels and his first book of philosophy, The Gnomes Of Uncertainty. He worked as a civilian in Vietnam from 1969 through 1971. Until the outsourcing of the Bush economic catastrophe, he worked as a computer programmer/analyst.
from A Lone Black Gull
MICHAEL ANDREWS, co-founder/publisher/editor with Jack Grapes of Bombshelter Press and ONTHEBUS, is living in L.A. and getting by. He has paid the usual dues of being a publisher, editor, and printer. He has been published in the usual number of the usual magazines. He has published ten books of poetry that were received in the usual manner, and produced three unusual portfolios of photographic prints and letterpress poetry. He has never sat at the feet of a Great Poet. Nor is he able to teach anyone else how to write poetry. He has never received a single grant, award or prize. No one else has ever published his work. He has sacrificed over fifty thousand dollars on the altars of art. He is not a professor of anything — and yet, he persists.
He has traveled around the world twice, spent time in Vietnam, where he worked as a civilian in from 1969 through 1971, and in Iran in 1974, rode a motorcycle to Peru, ran the San Juan River, and guzzled ayahuasca with the shamans in the Peruvian Amazon. His leg was permanently damaged in a motorcycle accident in 1987 and he now walks like a cheap imitation of Dustin Hoffman doing a cheap imitation of a deranged cripple. He has recently finished two books of poetry, his first book of philosophy, The Gnomes Of Uncertainty, five screenplays which the world will never see, two un-publishable novels, and is currently creating photographic and poetry montages as digital images while stumbling along on a massive novel about Vietnam and the boomer generation.
He is currently working on issuing fine print portfolio/books and prints in twenty distinct projects in order to revivify his artistic life.
To support these disgusting habits he works as a computer programmer/analyst, pays outrageous taxes, does odd jobs as a book designer and suffers the usual atrocities of free market predation.
from The Poet From The City Of The Angels
I was born laughing in Los Angeles, 15 Dec 1944, but I became a fast learner. I was crippled from age 4 to 14: crutches, wheelchairs, braces and they sent the homework home. I sat in bed and figured out the math and English workbooks while I watched the other kids out the window splashing in e plastic pool. I still can't spell, but I learned how to learn.
My father had bad eyes and excellent teeth. My mother had bad teeth and excellent eyes. I inherited bad eyes, poor teeth and a strong back.
Bad legs kept me out of the army when it counted, and made me a guerrilla athlete. I learned to run so I could walk. I learned to tell time when I was 5 by watching the hands and counting seconds,
minutes and hours. I never caught up with time, but I liked to figure things out.
Around 9 or 10, I was surprised to learn about death. I was deeply offended. I never figured death out. I learned the pleasures of reading, and I began writing and taking photographs.
I left school when I realized that it wasn't there to teach me. I don't like any kind of boot-camp and since the Cub Scouts wouldn't have me because I was a crip, I never liked any kind of uniform. I was never anyone's assistant, and I never studied with any great guru, so instead I've read about 6000 books.
I have come close to 4 wars; 3 years in Saigon, 1 in Iran, and I sat in the monsoons in Calcutta when the bodies poured across from Bangladesh. In Nicaragua I came the closest to dying. I never figured out war either.
I have worked as an usher, paperboy, meat packer, librarian, courier, door-to-door salesman, boat builder, post office clerk, jewelry maker, wire sculptor, carpenter, day laborer in Standard Oil, furniture builder, book designer, computer operator, programmer and analyst.
In 1964 I built, lived on, and sailed a trimaran. In 1965 I had plans to become a Vedanta monk. I was saved by sex. In 1967 I tangled with Flo DiRe. It looks like it's going to last.
From 1969 to 1971 I programmed computers for MACV in Saigon, Vietnam, then traveled around the world for a year after that. I spent 1974 in Tehran, programming for the Shah's helicopter fleet. In the spring of 1976, I went to Machu Picchu, Peru and La Paz, Bolivia. That summer, with my brother Rick, I spent 30 days running the San Juan River in southern Utah. In 1979, I rode a motorcycle from Los Angeles to Peru.
I work often as a computer programmer/analyst. Along with Jack Grapes, I am the founder, publisher, editor and printer of Bombshelter Press (small press books and fine print editions and portfolios). From 1975 to 1983, I was self-subsistent as an art photographer: gallery exhibitions, portfolios, posters, magazines, etc. When Reagan destroyed the economy, I became occupied as an entrepreneur; a half owner of a small software company.
At one time or another I have been affiliated with MENSA, Friends of Photography, Society for Photographic Education, Friends of the Arts, a Los Angeles Times subscriber, and the Hopalong Cassidy Fan Club. By religious preference I am an Anarchosolipsist.
In 1983 I nearly died from stress and bad food. The same year brought us Flo's cancer. In July 1987, when Mr. White destroyed my leg and degraded the last forty years of my life in a traffic accident, I began to explore ways to rebuild my life.
I have paid the usual dues of being a publisher, editor, and printer. I have been published in the usual number of the usual magazines. I have published a few books that were received in the usual manner, and produced three unusual portfolios of photographic prints and letterpress poetry. I have never sat at the feet of a Great Poet. Nor am I able to teach anyone else how to write poetry. I have never received a single grant, award or prize. No one has ever published a work of mine. I am thirty grand in the hole. I am not a professor of anything — and yet, I persist.
I went around the world twice. I got old. I got cynical. I get sad sometimes when I read the newspaper. But life still surprises me — and death. I still laugh, though I never figured anything out.