Cold River








78 pp + Perfect bound.

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A.D. Winans is an award winning San Francisco poet and writer.  He is the author of sixty-five books and chapbooks of poetry and prose.   His poetry, fiction, articles and reviews have appeared in over 2000 literary journals, newspapers and anthologies, including the San Francisco Chronicle, City Lights Journal, Beat Scene, Beatitude, the N.Y. Quarterly, Poetry Australia, and the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.  From 1972 through 1989 he edited and published the acclaimed Second Coming Press whose archives are housed at Brown University.  He worked for the San Francisco Art Commission from 1975 through 1980, during which time he produced the 1980 Poets and Music Festival honoring the poet Josephine Miles and Blues Legend John Lee Hooker.  In 2002 a song poem of his was performed at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. In 2006 he was awarded a PEN National Josephine Miles Award for excellence in literature.  In 2009 PEN Oakland presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 2015 he was the recipient of a Kathy Acker Award in poetry and publishing.

Inspired insanity, Tales of Crazy John by A.D. Winans is a page turning instant classic. A humorous, streetwise, stark raving joy cover-to-cover! Five out of four stars on the Richter scale.

- S.A.Griffin, Los Angeles

He’s back in all his glory; Poet A.D. Winans’ zany adventurer/ madman/ religious icon, Crazy John. With his derby hat and cowboy boots, still “dreaming the impossible,” Crazy John is once again in and out of jails, churches and even heads for Australia for awhile . The mad eyes of A.D. Winans’ memorable prankster poet can still light up the night with his flaming eyes and even manages to get himself nominated for sainthood. San Francisco’s beloved poet takes us for a wild ride in this book which includes both the first two chapbooks of Crazy John poems plus a brand new “final volume” of Crazy John’s adventures. Like the graffiti Crazy John loves, for a good time call Crazy John and A.D. Winans. Pure fun from a legendary poet. Enjoy.

- D.R. Wagner, Poet/musician/visual artist Locke, CA

Review from Misfit Magazine:

A.D. Winans, Crazy John Poems: The Collected Series, Cold River Press,, 2018, 74 pages, $14.95

Here, at long last, are the three collection of Crazy John poems in one volume. I recall reading the first collection when it first came out, roughly 40 years or so ago, and the poems remain as fresh now as they were then. Crazy John is a kind of street messiah, making the rounds of the North Beach bars and hangouts, recording his impressions and wild ravings.  His is the voice of unreason, at once a mythic and a downtrodden Everyman, one of society’s non-conforming rejects who defies categorizations as anything other than a misfit. 

They Say That Crazy John Is Mad

Because he claims to converse
With the ancients
Grabs strange girls off the street
And tried to sell them
His peripheral vision
Sometimes on a warm summer night
People come from far off
To watch him gather fruit and nuts
At the local farmer’s market
But it’s been many years since
I’ve seen him perform a miracle
He claims he’s waiting for
The Holy Ghost to come out of hiding.

I’ve seen guys like Crazy John on the street, waited on a couple, and thrown more than my share out of  bars. I’ve engaged others in conversations, at bus stops, passing a pint of Apricot Brandy back and forth, just to be sociable. I was more of a Scotch man, myself, when waiting for the 55, still you go with what’s on offer.  I got to hear the kind of tales of an intimate nature that defy the imagination involving dildos, closed for the holiday’s stores and a lack of batteries for his girlfriend’s vibrator, from someone I had known for less than ten minutes. Some might say Crazy John is more of an exaggerated prototype than a person. Okay. After the preceding, actual conversation with a perfect stranger, one can accept the patently unreal as easily within the realm of possibility.

Allowed a work furlough
He processed barley
At a local brewery where
He fascinated the workers
By turning malt liquor into
Ale with one flick of the wrist.

(from Crazy John Was Arrested On)

A gift like that one every street grifter’s dream.  Tales of Crazy John, for the street person in all of us.