Place: Sacramento, CA
Publisher: 24th Street Irregular Press
This tiny book contains a single poem, “The Truth,” one of Ted’s best-known. The book was #2 in the Poems for All series. It remains in print, and over the years has featured three different covers.
The publisher of The Truth, Richard Hansen, says,
Poems-For-All began publishing miniature books of poetry, half the size of a business card, in 2001. “The Truth” by Ted Joans was the second poem published in the series in a little book that came out in February of that inaugural year. I first read “The Truth” on quarter-page broadside, letterpress printed on stiff board. It was hanging on the wall of a friend’s bookstore.
In the early days of Poems-For-All, I was eager to find poems to publish that “spoke to me.” Ted’s “The Truth” screamed. It is a battle cry for poets and poetry! I like to think of the poem as the unofficial manifesto of the Poems-For-All series and I continue to print and give away copies of “The Truth” to this day.”
Ted once told me that this poem was inspired by Gregory Corso, who mumbled lines by Percy Bysshe Shelley as he walked down the street in NYC. Here it is:
if you should see
walking down a crowded street
in the opposite direction
but run towards him
for he is a POET!
you have NOTHING to fear
from the poet
but the TRUTH