The television program “State of the Arts New Jersey” devoted a recent segment to the Hoboken, New Jersey poet and editor Danny Shot. Lately, Danny has been roaming around the country reading from his new book, his first, actually, appropriately titled Works, the fruit of decades of writing. His poem “How to Write the Great New Jersey Poem” appeared right here on E-Verse. More about that in a moment.
Since the 1980’s, Danny Shot has been known not only as a poet but as an incredibly influential magazine editor and host of live readings in New York City and Hoboken. Shot was a longtime publisher and editor of Long Shot arts and literary magazine, which he founded along with Eliot Katz in 1982 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with support from Allen Ginsberg, who split the door on their debut reading.
Over the years Danny published an astounding array of poets, musicians, photographers, artists, rappers, novelists, and various and sundry members of the Beat generation, the punk scene, the Nuyorican movement, hip-hop, and all manner of fellow travelers: Charles Bukowski, Tom Waits, Richard Hell, Eileen Myles, Jim Carol, Amiri Baraka, Ray Bremser, Gregory Corso, (previously unpublished) Jack Kerouac, Yoko Ono, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Marianne Faithful, Sean Penn, Ted Berrigan, Anne Waldman, Lou Reed, Larry Clark, Wanda Coleman, Cindy Sherman, and a young, long-haired poet living in a grubby apartment in Philadelphia, washing dishes at night to make the rent, scribbling poetry in his spare hours.
Back in 1992, I received a phone call from Danny, my first call from an editor. He wanted to talk about my submission to Long Shot magazine. He phoned not to give me good news but to tell me that he was not going to use the long poem I had sent him. He enjoyed it, he told me, as had the editorial staff. They believed me to be a formerly undiscovered grizzled old poet in his 60’s or 70’s. Danny registered surprise to hear an early-20’s tyro, who knew nothing about publishing poetry, on the other end of the line. The reason they couldn’t run the poem is that I innocently submitted a twenty-five page poem chronicling the history of violence. No one told me you aren’t supposed to send poems of that length to a magazine. Still, it was a big deal for me just to hear Danny’s voice, and he asked for more poems. I sent some shorter ones. He took two.
Since that day so long ago we’ve worked together and become old friends. When I moved from England to New York City in 1997, I became an editor at Long Shot. Just this year I gave a reading with Danny at the Black Sheep Pub in Philadelphia for the Painted Bride reading series hosted by Paul Siegell. After the reading, as we ranged out into the night (we wound up at Dirty Frank’s where we drank whiskey and chatted with Philly poet Frank Sherlock), he told me that my E-Verse posting of his poem “How to Write the Great New Jersey Poem” had actually secured him the spot on the “State of the Arts” TV show. I was deeply gratified, and somewhat surprised, to hear it. I was certainly happy to have been of service and to repay some of the kindness and generosity Danny has shown me over the years.
So have a look. It’s a wonderful episode in which Danny shows off his native charm, humor, and talents as a poet.
Born in the Bronx and raised in Dumont, New Jersey, by German Jewish refugees, Danny Shot graduated Rutgers College in 1980 with a B.A. in English. Shot’s poetry has appeared in bum rush the page (Def Poetry Jam), Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (Henry Holt), and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (Thunder’s Mouth) among other anthologies and numerous journals. Shot has read his poetry throughout the United States and appeared on television (WNBC, New York) as part of Felipe Luciano’s Wordchestra. He has spent over 30 years as a NYC public high school teacher, serving in the South Bronx, Harlem, and Brooklyn. Mr. Shot lives in Hoboken (home of Frank Sinatra and baseball) where he is the poet-in-residence of the Hoboken Historical Museum.