Gary Mex Glazner


by Margaret Victor


Ears on Fire

Snapshot Essays in a World of Poets

6 x 9 inches

128 pages


1-888809-32-9 $14.00

This book is an album, a journal, and a recollection. The idea was to travel around the world, meet poets, work on translations, and write poems. “My wife Margaret and I traveled approximately 34,229 miles by planes, trains, tuk-tuks, bemos, ferries, broken down Chinese night buses, and rickshaws.” Along the way would be encounters with the Princess of Thailand, The Pink Man, Shilendra K. Singh in Kathmandu, fried grasshoppers, Tibetan monks in China cheating at cards, Tea House rappers, Xuan Xe of the Naxi Music Orchestra, the Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey, the mystic barber of Selcuk, Turkey, a sandlemaker poet in Greece, the Nubian Insect Poet of Tuscany, in Paris with GeorgeWhitman at Shakespeare & Company, a visit to Garcia Lorca’s home and grave, Geraldo Rivera, and more! The stories are breezes over beers,, swapped yarns, epiphanies, a jumble of thoughts, smells, kisses and bites. This isn’t Basho’s journey to the far north, this is Gary’s stumble into the big picture, cracking out of the nutshell, hopping onto the blank page. The pen always moving to where poems actually happen. What results is a quirky look at the friendly camaraderie when poets from elsewhere meet poets of somewhere.

In all the world of poetry, there is only one Gary Glazner, the official Minister of Fun of the National Poetry Slam. Taking this round-the-globe voyage with Gary is fun, meeting idiosyncratic characters who somehow represent whole cultures, but who mainly drive maniacally around on scooters or repair shoes or be princesses. But the fun is serious, and revelatory. How can poetry survive the Horrific Triumph of Capitalism? I have a feeling that Gary knows, and that the answer is in this sweet, capacious, vibrant book-journey. Art may be long, life may be short, but this book blenderizes the two till eternity is but a moment love-fulfilled. What's that you say? I'm sorry I cannot hear you — my ears are on fire.

—Bob Holman Proprietor, Bowery Poetry Club


Glazner born was born in Oklahoma in 1957. His middle name Mex is shortened from New Mexico. His great-grand parents homesteaded in Stanley, New Mexico in the early 1900's and named their son Mex. Pontiac featured Glazner's poetry in April 2002 on the Beat Fest; a 17-city traveling festival organized by the New York based Knitting Factory. The tour also featured the jazz trio "Vibes." For photos and video clips see, Glazner was featured along with Gary Snyder, Anne Waldman and Sherman Alexie at the 20th anniversary of Tucson Poetry Festival. Glazner is the curator of a series of fine-print poetry broadsides to be issued by the Palace of the Governors, Museum in Santa Fe starting in 2003. From November of 1999 to June of 2001 Glazner was Poet-in- Residence at the Inn on the Alameda, in Santa Fe. The hotel placed his poems on the guest's pillows. They gave away 45,862 poems from his southwestern series. Glazner edited the anthology entitled Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry which documents the first ten years of the National Poetry Slam which was published in July of 2000 by Manic D Press. Glazner organized SlamAmerica, a poetry bus ride across America, which featured 37 readings over 30 day period in 36 cities. Sponsored by Grand Mariner, the tour took place in the summer of 2000 and over 100 poets participated. Glazner is the director and executive producer of a documentary film on the tour. The film Busload of Poets, was selected by the Santa Fe Film Festival and had its world premiere in December 2001 on opening night of the festival. The film won a best of festival award at the Media Co-op Digital Film Festival held in Memphis in August 2002. Glazner along with Amalia Ortiz won the 2001 Tag-Team Championship Vs Quincy Troupe and Pat Payne at the Taos Poetry Circus. In the fall of 2001, Glazner worked with the YMCA teaching children ages 5 to 12, and with the program Read, Write, Succeed. His newest book How to Make your Living as a Poet will come out from Soft Skull in the fall of 2004. Glazner is a graduate of Sonoma State University's Expressive Arts program with an emphasis in poetry. In 1990, Glazner produced the first National Poetry Slam in San Francisco. His work has appeared in New Mexico Magazine, Poetry Flash, The Bay Guardian, The Harwood Review, and Aloud! Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, which won the 1994 America Book Award. His poems have been translated into Chinese, Moldavian, Nepali, and Vietnamese. In 1997, Poets and Writers Inc. awarded him a grant to work with Alzheimer patients using poetry. The name has been passed down since then. He lives outside of Santa Fe with his wife Margaret and their dog Federico.


Ears On Fire:
Snapshot Essays in a World of Poets

A review by Sandy de Nimes (

Gary Mex Glazner ran a flower shop in San Francisco before trading it for a back-pack and a wandering poet’s life. His poetry is reflective of this. People buy flowers because they want to do something nice for somebody else. This is a lot of positive energy.

A good florist— and a good poet — will take such energy and give it back to the patron. And florists are privy to the personal slices of life — more so even than priests— from sickness to love, weddings to apologies, birth to death. Such training has attuned Glazner to arrange life’s blossoms into bouquets of prose.

Poets write to educate, to entertain, to explain, or create a mood. Glazner’s prose does all this and more. He may write about the torture of political prisoners or dismemberment by wild dogs, but he reduces the horror with humor. He may relate adventures with dishonest monks and drunken, lying poets, but he always twists an O. Henry ending into each literary ikebana.

In Ears On Fire Glazner takes the reader from the flesh of a jackfruit to the mountains of Nepal. His poetry encompasses the coasts of the Pacific to a drop of tea. The book is a journey from the atom to the infinite, and back again.

In Greece, Glazner meets Stavros Melissinos, the sandal maker poet, cobbler for Sophia Loren and the Beatles. In Katmandu, he walks with Chhistibung Bung, and learns from the world’s fastest performance poet. The message he gets from the Princess of Bangkok, though perplexing, inspires him to write another essay.

Prague, Hanoi, Venice, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Copenhagen... no place is safe from Glazner’s eye, or pen. His images of people and places in a world of poets provide more than snapshot essays. This photograph album of the printed word contains candid close-ups and panoramic prints of every poet’s dream journey. Ears on Fire is a road worth traveling and a book worth reading.