Please note: Our work is mostly based on the concept of post-postmodernism championed long ago by the genius Jean Payens but it is James Edwards who knows much more on this topic and this incredible individual who could have single-handedly changed the 20th century literary world had his voice been but a little louder? I have included here the unedited works of Jean Payens (with introduction and below interview done by the poet James Edwards). We believe we have an authentic copy of Payens' Kenton but we are still working on this piece and will include it at a later date.
The below is in both PDF and WORD:
Click Here - Novella by Jean Payens as well as poetry and short stories (Jake Karnes) - special thanks James Edwards.
Preface to the edited work of Jean Payens –
Interview: James Edwards with the Independent “Poets & Philosophers” blog/newsletter
James Edwards’ wit, humble-bravado and irreverence has made him one of the most popular grassroots poets in America over the last decade. Edwards’ work has always straddled the line between poet and philosopher which makes our travels to the little town of Hermann Missouri to conduct this interview all the more worthwhile. Edwards has lectured and performed his spoken-word poetry across the country but up until now has turned down all offers of publishing his works. I literally drove into the middle of nowhere where Edwards stays about half the year while staying the other half in larger cities like New York, Seattle, or Kansas City.
P&P: Thank you so much for your time today James.
Edwards: Of course! Did you find your way out here okay? And forgive the glasses; I’m not trying to look all hipster but I have a stigmatism in one of my eyes so pretty much wearing red or yellow sunglasses has been the new norm of late.
P&P: Yes thank you. Was quite the trip out here. I kept thinking “Walden Pond” the whole time out here. Does this place even have electricity?
Edwards: I do have solar and a large backup generator. Everything else is old-school: candles, kerosene, and whatnot. The nice thing is no bills and if you think about it, this place is nicer than most from about a century ago.
P&P: So you don’t get bored out here?
Edwards: Well it depends really. I enjoy the peace and quiet; really allows time to think and for me it is very spiritual. On the flip side I’m not trying to be some hippy or anything; I go to their town fairly frequently and St. Louis isn’t that far away so it’s not like I’m some zealot you know? After a few months though I get an itch of too much solidarity so I end up finding somewhere cheap in NYC or somewhere for a few months until I get the same itch of being too crowded then head back here.
P&P: Very rare to see an artist adapt so easily to a city like NYC to Hermann Missouri isn’t it?
Edwards: Maybe but you see people like Georgia O’Keeffe kind of do the same but even more extreme.
P&P: Good point. What artists or writers have motivated you?
Edwards: A lot of different people, many of whom you would not know. But of the artists you would: Alfred Maurer, Rembrandt, James Castle, Emil Orlik and contemporary artists like Makoto Fujimura have always impacted me especially when I had the chance to visit his works up close and personal at Washington DC and again in NYC at Kati Shin’s Waterfall Mansion Gallery. Some of the writers would be: Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Tom Wolfe, John Berryman, TS Elliot, the biblical writers of course and JRR Tolkien and of course Jean Payens.
P&P: Great segway into the life of Jean Payens which you have surprisingly focused around in your first published work coming out in a few months. Can you give tell me a little about who Payens was and how he has impacted your own art and poetry?
Edwards: Well it’s all in the book so that would be your best source of course but I will give you a really high-level overview. I met Payens while living in NYC in 2012. I was reading over some poetry and he called me over and started talking and I realized right off that he was giving me some really good advice and it made sense. So I really didn’t think about it much but when he started going through some of his own life I realized that this guy was a better poet than I was and his life had been stretched from the era of Hemmingway and Stein through the Beat generation up to our own; so it was like getting advice from all these different generation at once. Moreover he really spoke to me about the concept of objectivity in aesthetics and the arts. He really was a remarkable individual and I honestly believe I would have given up my poetry all together had I not met him.
P&P: I did get to read an advanced copy of the work and I honestly thought it was incredibly well done and it really did make me think philosophically about writing; something that very few writings really accomplish hitting on multiple levels. Now can you talk a little about the Karnes in the work?
Edwards: Jake Karnes was the one putting together this entire biography like novella on Payens. I met him shortly after I met Payens and in a lot of ways he influenced me by his tact and resolve even more than Payens; he took it and ran with it. Unfortunately he was killed in a car accident before ever getting these works put together so his family was kind enough to give me all the notes they had on the topic and I served as editor along with the publisher in putting this back together the best we could. Also I should mention I included not only Payens’ works in the book but also one long poem Karnes had been working on as a type of response to Berryman’s Reality Songs. I don’t want to spoil it but I think Karnes may have been the best one of all of us had he lived. I put a handful of his poetry that I was able to substantiate in this book. My personal favorite is “To Be Found” simply because he really seems to capture the rawness of discovering reality. Too many artists today are just posers; they’re more worried about showing the world how fucking woke they think they are and in the process they miss it all.
P&P: Now you keep the philosophy high-level but you reference a collaborator on Payens’ concept of post-postmodernism correct?
Edwards: Yes. Sorry I’m all over the place. I met James Stroud at a “Reach NYC” Christian-like meeting one Friday night next to Bryant Park whre they met. He had a masters degree in philosophy of religion and I was finishing my MA in Humanities with a focus on Art History so we kind of hit it off. Once I told him about Payens’ work and concept of post-postmodernism he really ran with it and he did a small self-published book The Philosophy of Art in the 21st Century that focused on the philosophical concept of post-postmodernism while I focused more on the artistic point as well as that of Payens himself. Stroud and his wife even have a small gallery now around this concept. We joked that since I was more of JRR Tolkien and him CS Lewis in our approach that he’d take the philosophical points and me the writing and run with it; the Reach NYC meetings were Christian but not churchy so it was kind of like the Inklings of Lewis and Tolkien’s day I thought.
P&P: If you had to define post-postmodernism how would you do it?
Edwards: More or less I would say it is simply a move beyond the nonsense of postmodern thought. Like Payens would always ask, why is it that no postmodern architecture uses a postmodern foundation? In other words because it would collapse and the arts are no different. So while post-postmodernism just means a move beyond postmodernism it leaves the door open for growing but at the same time I think it could be the next big art movement on the level of the great movements of the early 20th century like cubism, impressionism, etc. as a type of anti-Dadaism you might say. If you think about it a larger percentage of modern artists were atheistic and then reverted to some type of pseudo-deism and then either killed themselves or went total hedonistic; Payens seemed to see through all this shit and was trying in a way to shake people back to their senses; not just statically but ontologically I think. Unfortunately most artists I work with today don’t have a fucking clue to be blunt.
P&P: You mentioned JRR Tolkien twice now. Is there a reason he influenced you?
Edwards: Well no more than others I guess. What I was really meaning is while Stroud is overtly Christian, him and I both are not big into religion per se. My writings aren’t all “religious” by any means but I still consider them Christian and I think Tolkien did the same thing in all of his writings and he chastised Lewis for being too “Christian” in some of his works.
P&P: You and Stroud have gotten mistaken for brothers before, right?
Edwards: Yeah a few times. We don’t hangout but maybe once or twice per year but I did do some poetry from this book at his Coffeeshop/Art Gallery’s grand-opening since their gallery is based on Payens’ concepts and people kept saying: “You guys could be twins!” He’s a little taller and a couple of years older though; I think he’s early 40s.
P&P: That opening was one of the few times you were okay with being recorded, right?
Edwards: Yeah I was okay with it. I normally am not a big fan of recordings simply because poetry performed captures a certain moment in time so it is meant for just that one time; the smells, tastes and vibes. So to try and watch it again years later loses all that I think. There’s something in me that somehow experiences the entire world as a kind of poem so recording it just won’t work; it’s like capturing that moment when you feel God’s presence.
P&P: You have kind of a reputation as a preacher bad-boy all rolled into one. Is that fair?
Edwards: I always find both those kind of ironic. I have no problem telling a overtly church person or atheistic person to go fuck themselves; I’m not politically correct and I really think like a Jordan Peterson that this type of Marxist rhetoric masquerading as political correctness is a cancer especially to the arts. But at the same time I find Christian theism to be more plausible today than perhaps ever? But I don’t think either of these qualify me as a preacher or a bad-boy; weed and a little liquor once in awhile and boxed way back in the day but that’s about as rebellious as I get. Never much trouble with the law or anything so I think both assertions are naïve.
P&P: You often times voice the opinion that political correctness is a bad thing especially to the arts can you elaborate?
Edwards: Look its basically this; we have these dumb cunts who know nothing about the arts doing things like banning Little House on the Prairie, Mark Twain, various movies and shit because they use words that are offensive in 2018 – this is absolute insanity! The movie Dunkirk took a pasting because it didn’t have people of color or women in it even though it was based on the historic battle from World War fucking two? This is just a handful of examples on how the arts are being neutered by these type ideologies and this is why I felt so compelled to incorporate Payens’ work into my own here because I think it is that important for the survival of the arts from the relativistic quicksand it seems to be stuck in today. I took a course from Sotheby’s and the instructor, who kept talking about her being a feminist, told us plainly that if she was hiring a curator or artist exhibit she would disqualify a Caucasian, heterosexual male on spot. She was wanting to show how self-righteous and fucking woke she was but what if Warhol or TS Elliot had been there? Well its 2018 so their fucked I guess? Do you see where I’m going here? If everything is relative or subjective then why even do art? I’m part Crow Indian but who gives a shit? That’s why I’ve never been a big fan of poets like Hayes who goes on and on about his plight as a black man or when he “asks God about slaves that’s why he’s not a Christian.” Big fucking deal; that shit is weak the dude has talent but he’s got to get off his soapbox and quit feeling like a victim. I have a ton of friends of color but I’d tell them to fuck-off just as quick as I would anyone else; now that is true non-discrimination. When you start fucking with people or the arts based not on the artist but on their skin pigment then you and the arts lose.
P&P: No, I see your point and I think that is why I enjoyed your work and I loved how the theme went from Payens story, to his short stories and poems, Karnes’ long poem and then you finished with yours last. Any reason you kept yours to the end?
Edwards: Honestly, I thought it tied it well together by being at the end. We have an introduction to Payens and myself, we have the unfinished novella on Payens that Karnes was pulling together and then we have several of the works of Payens, Karnes and then myself; each of us have so much in common but all from different cultures and perspectives which make it all the more fluid.
P&P: I’ll be honest, I think your poetry was some of the most powerful I have read in years. You are one of the biggest underground poets today. With that being said do you fear that having Payens’ works tied together with it will slow down selling and exposure of your own work?
Edwards: Not really. The story needed to be told and hopefully it will be something of some substance I can give back to the arts. As you know I have long worked with the arts and suicide as artists are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than the average Joe. I think the work Payens built upon could help cut this suicide rate in half if it’s taken serious. Plus look around you. Do I look like I’m too worried about a big paycheck, a big-ass house or a fancy car? I had all that shit once upon a time and just like Alan Watts or Tyler Durden points out: It’s all shit or a chasing after the wind. So, people threatening me with not having these things or more money if I don’t bow-down to their golden calf doesn’t have much impact.
P&P: Edwards it has really been an honor and maybe next time we can pick up our interview when you’re back in the Big Apple.
Edwards: Thank you so much Diana; let’s plan on it.
Poets & Philosophers IPC
Click Here - Novella by Jean Payens as well as poetry and short stories (Jake Karnes) - special thanks James Edwards.