The editors of Barrelhouse freely admit they are not sure what a "Barrelhouse" is exactly, or what it might mean to "Barrelhouse" all night long. Apparently, it has something to do with what it might mean to give Ed Asner a bath:
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.
That's from one of the current issue's four poems on the subject of Ed Asner. You remember Ed Asner, who played producer Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show?
Each of us probably has our own private image of a barrelhouse, that we carry around. It must be like a roadhouse, a small place on the side of a two-lane highway, a mile or so out of town, but instead of drinks behind the bar there's just a barrell of something -- beer? whiskey? -- poured through a spiggot and a tap. There's a liquor store in my neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where Barrelhouse is based, called "Barrel House Liquors." So "barrelhouse" must refer to some dying vestige of southern culture, something gutted by the modern world and remembered only in the names of literary magazines and liquor stores.
Go check out Barrelhouse! Order a copy! Get your barrelhouse rolling! Whatever that means!
-- Sean Carman