August 11, 2018

THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW -- press release


Welcome to the world, little one. THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW is an experiment in consciousness. A poetry book meant for readers tired of the instapoet noise. 

Thank you for even taking time to read about it here. That alone means more than you’ll ever know.

Here are some excerpts:

  1. “Atoms” in Lit Up
  2. “Spirals” in Lit Up
  3. “Patch Malware” in Lit Up
  4. “Memento Mori” in Poets Unlimited
  5. “Of Age and Experience” in Creative Cafe

Fair warning: This book is full of the things you don't want to hear.

It’s a collection of work ranging from a timespan of well over 15 years. Though, as it aims to help us realize, the measurement of time is an illusion, given only the value we place upon it. An allegory to distract us from truth - the same one we’ve known all our lives

It is with all of us, always. 

Are we paying attention? Are we listening to the things we were taught to ignore?

THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW are things you don't want to hear. Things that will make you think about yourself in ways you might not prefer. If that’s something you’re not ready for, do a little soul-searching first. Come back when you’re ready.

Some of these were written in high school, others in college, and more on my phone after the birth of our exponential interconnectedness. Most of the time they start out on paper. Every once in a while, they stem from pixel roots, completely inobedient of time or lexicon. But the truth is always in the syntax, regardless of their birth.

This book is meant to be read however you’d like to read it. Skim, stop, or study. Leave it on the coffee table for decoration. It’s entirely up to you. I no longer have any use for it.

It started out as an exploration of a universal concept. But upon the countless hours of creating, thinking, editing, revising, trashing and recycling, it became something more. Something beyond my ability to explain. A piece of my heart left strewn between words.

I’ve often expressed how poetry can be a teacher. It can show you colors of light you never knew existed, but it can’t force you to see them. Only after completing the manuscript did I realize that writing poetry is a teacher too. It opens you up to self-reflection and shows you parts of yourself you never knew were there.

Our understanding of the universe is not fixed. We know not of many, many things. And if we refuse to accept that, then we refuse to grow. Art reflects that. These words reflect that. The thoughts you are experiencing right now - the ones rooted in your unique little moment that I'll never ever know - they reflect it too. 

We are everything and we are nothing. Made of cellular particles, linked together with incredible powers. What you already have will surprise you.

THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW is full of these little moments. The things everyone thinks about but no one truly knows.

It’s conscious poetry for a conscious audience

This is meant to help everyone slow down and try. Not everything is meant to be lived at the speed of internet. Some things are meant to be still and exist in whatever simple capacity they exist. It is with this notion that THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW exists.

I find it fascinating how the written word, maybe more so the printed word, seems to make time stand still. As permanent as the paper's longevity. Even for me, as the author, being able to pick this up years from now will help me time-travel back to the moments in which these were written.

There is no future. There’s only an endless string of presents.” 
- John Gorman (@ThisIsGorman)  


My awakening to the illusion of time surfaced around the premiere of Mr. Robot. There's a character, Whiterose, who highlighted it for me; “The concept of waiting bewilders me. There are always deadlines. There are always ticking clocks. That’s why you must manage your time.”

Change is happening always. We must expect it. But the timeline of things only tends to be a distraction, as things are always moving - even if one cannot notice them doing so. 

Yes, change is one of the most difficult things we face. But it is inevitable. We must not get comfortable where we are. We must not accept the familiarity. We must manage ourselves in order to do what we need to do. We must stay open to what will become. 

Every blessing is not permanent and every moment will not last forever. 

While filtering and editing through the depths of my harddrive to create this collection, I started to notice a pattern. A thread through the arrows of time. Something I've known my whole life, without being able to effectively communicate it to anyone. Though I’ve attempted to do so here, I still believe THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW doesn’t do it justice. 

Maybe you can do something with it. Maybe you can turn this into something more valuable than I am capable of creating. I am restricted by the means and technology of my time period and of my limited access to resources.

How you interpret what you read is a direct reflection of your perception. Life is not only how you see but how you react to what you see. Turns out, the things you don't know are the things you've really always known. 

How significant it is, then, to know thyself through this lens.

There are many things we don't know. They exist beyond commonality and comprehension as presently understood, waiting for us to one day explore the depths of our reality. All of the connotation and purpose depends on our ability to do as such.

These words stem from the brain of a man I don’t know anymore. Perhaps one I'll never know again. We are all soldiers of time. The things we don't know.

art by RM

June 20, 2018

Q & A with Arthur J. Willhelm, writer, poet, and publisher


Arthur is the founder of Iron Lung Press. He's a writer and poet, born-and-raised in New Jersey, and the author of two recent books: Kitchen Beers (a novel) and Hate Is Just Love On Fire (poetry). Connect with him on Instagram @ironlungpress. And be sure to check out their website: www.ironlungpress.org!

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GB: Arthur, thank you for taking time to talk. Usually, my first question is: can you share a little bit about yourself? Any background info worthy of noting for the readers?

AW: Thank you for taking the time to interview me, Glen, I appreciate it. My name is Arthur J. Willhelm, I am 38 years old, married, two kids and I am a pastry chef when I'm not writing.

GB: On top of being an avid reader, you maintain a growing press, Iron Lung. How does that inspire your writing? What impacts does that have on your work?

AW: I started Iron Lung Press as a means to put out my own work, but recently I have been putting out chapbooks which are selected through submissions. I enjoy helping the underdog because with all of these people writing for likes and followers and calling it poetry, we are the underdogs.

GB: As a fellow New Jerseyian, do you find it inspiring your work at all? Care to share any stories that some of our local squad might eNJoy?

AW: I do mention New Jersey in some of my writing, though I am not sure any of what I write is directly inspired by it. Stories, I have plenty of, I will share some fond memories though: Punk Rock shows at the Stone Pony, Marine Park in Red Bank, basement shows, Middlesex county college hardcore shows, old friends. Nostalgia always comes to mind.

GB: What's your creative process like? Any obstacles you've had overcome recently?

AW: Well, I tend to have a couple of drinks and put on music, then write whatever comes to mind, no plan, and no specific subject until it is done. I am big on leaving work as it is when I type it because I feel like the point is lost when you edit whatever you wrote.

GB: What other types of art do you like experiment with? Why?

AW: Writing is something I have always enjoyed, whether I was writing lyrics for my old bands, or contributing to little fanzines when I was a kid. I can honestly say that my one Art is writing and I don’t even like my stuff haha.

GB: Who and what is on your MUST-READ list?

AW: To recommend? Get it Back to Give it Away by Marc Bruseke, Instapoet by Thom Young, Matt Blyth, Accordions and Moustaches by Rania M. M. Watts, and Bone House by Scott Laudati (also a Jersey native).

GB: What does "success" mean to you?

AW: Success isn’t something I think about, I just hope people will check out my writing and the writing I print for Iron Lung Press.

GB: Like me, you're an avid supporter of the beatnik generation. But we've seen how it's evolved over time. What does the "new beat generation" stand for and how does it influence your work?

AW: The new beat generation is just something I say for the group of poets/writers that I have met since I went public with both my work and Iron Lung Press. Mark Bruseke, Christopher M. Flakus, Patrick Moore, Martin Appleby to name a few. We all share the Old School Meat / Beat poet mentality of doing things ourselves.“Poets” these days “instapoets” will never understand that work ethic.

GB: What's next for Arthur J. Willhelm? Got any forthcoming projects we can keep an eye out for?

AW: Within the next month or two, I will be releasing Your Body Is Not A Temple, which is a tribute to Anthony Bourdain with all proceeds going to suicide prevention, I am very excited about this one, so many great writers have contributed to this project. Besides that, I have a chapbook coming out on Analog Submission Press (UK) called American Dream Machine.