Saying Goodbye to Babylon

The genuine significance of the closure of Chico’s downtown Tower bookstore becomes starkly etched before one’s eyes while thumbing through this collection of poems by local writer Sanford Dorbin. Dorbin printed this 40-page booklet at his own expense with the intention of selling copies out of the now-defunct chain store—a service the latter was always eager to provide for locally produced ‘zines, pamphlets, books and booklets.

Now that outlet is gone. Barnes & Noble refuses to handle locally produced, self-published works. The Bookstore, which is locally owned, simply isn’t interested. And it’s a damn shame. These poems are quite good—very conversational in tone, yet possessing a quiet, magical point of view, as if the reader is floating out of body, observing events, overhearing thoughts: Memories of boot camp, classrooms, days at the beach in “SoCal,” soldiers, praying mantises ("… black pinpoints/ for pupils, forelegs like a lobster’s drawn-up"). Taken together, the poems assemble into a kind of jigsaw biography.

Fortunately, even with Tower Books out of the picture, you can obtain a copy by sending $5 postpaid to: The Singlefooter, 650 Sheridan Ave., Chico, CA 95926-4032.