My friends at Barrelhouse got a mention in the Washington Post’s review of magazines today. They were lauded for publishing the best four (and possibly only) poems about Ed Asner ever written. These poems follow an homage to Patrick Swayze in the previous issue. I am hoping they will dedicate the next issue to Renee Zellwegger.

Barrelhouse claims to be a “literary magazine that bridges the gap between serious art and pop culture.” It is also extremely funny so if you haven’t already read this irreverant magazine, please order a copy of the recently released third issue, which is chock full of new fiction, interviews with fascinating people, the aforementioned poems about Ed Asner, and really cool art.

. . .

For the Love of Lou

Barrelhouse — a literary magazine born a couple of years ago over beers at the Big Hunt, a Dupont Circle bar — has published the best four poems about Ed Asner that I’ve ever read.

They’re also the only four poems about Ed Asner that I’ve ever read. But they’re so good that I don’t expect to come across four better poems about Ed Asner anytime soon.

Perhaps you don’t think of the pudgy “Lou Grant” star as a muse for America’s bards, but he certainly inspired Greg Ames to wax lyrical. Here is the stirring first stanza of the first poem, “Bathing Ed Asner”:

I snatched the rubber duck
from his hairy, wet fist
and in a cruel voice
instructed him to quit
fooling and to sit down
damnit in the tub.

Lovely, isn’t it? And it only gets better, building in a rapturous crescendo to the final stanza, which goes like this:

“Well, then lift up your arms,”
I whispered in his ear,
“and let’s swab out those pits.”

The Asner quartet is not the first set of celebrity-related poems that Barrelhouse has published. In its second issue — the latest one is the third — Barrelhouse published several poems about Patrick Swayze:

Tousled forelock stirs / Sultry breeze, bare /chest glistens . . .

Of course, Barrelhouse also publishes poems about love and death and other old-fashioned stuff. But maybe that’s a mistake. Maybe the editors should take this thing all the way and become a magazine devoted entirely to poems about celebrities. Isn’t that what America needs?

From Washington Post, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Bucks but Were Afraid to Ask,” By Peter Carlson, October 24, 2006, page C10.