Steve Katz was born in May of 1935, in the Bronx. He has never not been a Yankee fan. Then some kid with a stiletto stabbed his basketball in Washington Heights, and that was Creamy & Delicious (eat my words in other words), published in 1970 by Random House, that started the avant-snack movement in the pre-postmodern revolution. But before that in 1968 he published at Holt, Rinehart & Winston, The Exagggerations of Peter Prince, (three g’s, we can explain it), the likes of which novel has never been seen since, a Manhattan kind of a book, provincial and puckered with graphics, full of skidmarks, false turns, pictures of boats and midwifing instruments, a paragraph written by the pre-eminent Peter Schjeldahl, a whole section crossed out, another overprinted with dreams. Even before that, he published The Lestriad in Lecce, Italy, a novella of immense innovation, recently reprinted by Bamberger Books. Meanwhile he was living his life, three great kids and a great wife. He lived it in Eugene, Oregon, in Winnemucca, Nevada, in Lecce, Italy, and in Verona, Italy, in Ithaca, New York, in New York City; and he worked for the forest service, and in a mercury mine, and as many different kinds of waiters, and construction work, and bartender and other things, and then he started teaching, which was subversive, because school always made him uncomfortable, and he had never been good at student life. He lives now in Denver, Colorado, retired from teaching at the University of Colorado. And he has studied Chinese internal martial arts, and he still does, so he knows how to hurt himself. And he published Saw at Alfred Knopf, a sci-fi swat team of a novel that demonstrates how a hippopotamus evades an astronaut, safe sex with a sphere, and how oblivion comes when a cylinder's on the loose. And as a Fiction Collective pioneer he published Moving Parts, a book that among other things, zeroed in on the number 43, and was the first work of retrojournalism, in which the author writes an enormous, fantastic story, called Parcel of Wrists and then keeps a journal as he sets out to live that fiction. Then he took a small bite out of the ass of Hollywood, writing with Leo Garen a film called Grassland, later rented out as Hex, now rented as The Shrieking, though the best that came of it for himself was Cheyenne River Wild Track, a book of poems focused on making a feature film in exotic South Dakota. Very quickly the new and improved Stolen Stories came out at the Fiction Collective, a book of yarns classic as godzillo riding a hunch from noter dame, such stories of spiritual dread and mortal triumph as never before squeezed into a tube of instant language paste. (Available from the author in convenient family size for sexual avoidance or indulgence, as you wish. 43 bucks.) Sun & Moon Press, bless its enthusiastic, evasive, courageous little publishing heart, produced an unparalleled threesome of books – Wier & Pouce, Florry of Washington Heights, Swanny’s Ways. This triad, is a brand new investigation of the art of narrative, and an heroic assessment of our times. Then Journalism, a book of poems -- prison, New York City, Hollywood, Cape Breton -- so compassioned, so germane. And Sun & Moon did 43 Fiction, swiping passages from all his books, and including some new works of mind expanding, free-fall honesty and free speech. His novel, Antonello’s Lion, came out this Fall from Green Integer, to be followed at some time soon by Kissssss, a miscellany of short pieces, from FC2. A book length monograph about his work called 43 Views of Steve Katz, by William Bamberger, Phd, is forthcoming soon from Borgo Press.
Yesterday Steve Katz gave up writing to volunteer for a program that puts him in feathers, transforms him from a human being (of which there is an enormous glut), into a California condor (of which there be pitiful few). So if you feel the shadow pass over your body as you stroll in Santa Monica or Borrego Springs, in Woodstock or Halifax, and happen to look up to find its silent source, it could be steve katz that hits you in the eye.