Posts Tagged ‘rain taxi’

Touch in Rain Taxi

Monday, July 19th, 2010

This week brings M. Lynx Qualey’s warm review of Adania Shibli’s Touch at Rain Taxi’s summer online edition:

Stories about the past often mislead: in order to create a satisfying whole, most writers carefully arrange history and memory, inventing links and causal connections. Sometimes, this results in good storytelling. But sometimes the task of an author—particularly one who writes about a hyper-symbolized terrain—is to un-narrativize, to pull things back apart.

Adania Shibli is up to this task. Touch brings us the fragmented worldview of a narrator at the cusp of understanding her world. The 72-page novella could be described as five interconnected prose poems, a historical fiction about the Palestinian territories set in 1982, or a coming-of-age tale in which maturation is marked not by a loss of innocence, but by an ever-growing loneliness and alienation.

Keep reading here

“Karapanou today remains a unique writer”—new review in Rain Taxi

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

In Rain Taxi‘s spring online edition, check out the review of Margarita Karapanou‘s Kassandra and the Wolf and Rien ne va plus.

… [R]eaders will also be delighted by what grounds Kassandra and the Wolf: Karapanou’s language. The word-pictures kaleidoscope—at times literally, as dinner becomes after-dinner games becomes Kassandra running down the stairs to demand of the housekeeper stories from the Greek Civil War—and at other times metaphorically (“A word like a snake stares at me: there’s a pot like Grandmother’s chamber pot, a mouth in the middle, and next to a nail scissors. . . . At the tail there’s a ladder. I count the scribbles, examine them closely. I like this word.”) In still more places, Karapanou pulls off being both literal and metaphorical at once: “I’m alone again. I stick my tongue out vaguely at Miss Benbridge because she’s driven away my friends and lovely pictures. I act the ape at her, the Chinaman, and then the frog. In a picture, I cover her in dung, turn her into a horsefly and a cockroach, and, finally, I turn her into a water glass, which I throw out of the window.”

Read in full here

This weekend in Amherst: the 10th annual Juniper Literary Festival

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

For those of you in the Valley, the Juniper Literary Festival is this weekend, with a great program honoring the ten-year anniversary of jubilat. Clockroot will have a wee bit of a table, honored to be elbow to elbow with a selection of truly fantastic poetry presses & magazines (see below), and other UMass MFA-program-related endeavors (one teaser: Microfilme magazine, dedicated to the preservation of writing that shouldn’t be read with the naked eye…). Come by!

Friday April 23

3:30 pm Eric Carle Museum: Antonio Frasconi Exhibit Tour: curator tours of the internationally acclaimed artist’s woodcuts, including works inspired by Pablo Neruda and W.S. Merwin

4:30 pm: Eric Carle Museum: Roundtable: On Poetry & The Visual Arts: Jen Bervin, Terrance Hayes, & Matthea Harvey, moderated by Jane Curley

6 pm: Fine Arts Center Lobby: Independent Journal & Book Fair Opening Reception

7:30 pm: University Gallery: Reading & Performance: Jen Bervin, Christian Hawkey, & Michael Teig, followed by the premier of a performance based on Christopher Smart’s “Jubilate Agno,” staged by Missoula Oblongata

Saturday April 24

10:30 am: Fine Arts Center Lobby: Journal & Book Fair Continues

11 am: University Gallery: Roundtable: Poetry, Publishing, & the Pioneer Valley : the dreaming up, creating, & evolving of jubilat, Verse Press/Wave Books & Rain Taxi with Rob N. Casper, Matthew Zapruder, & Eric Lorberer, moderated by Dara Wier

12:30 pm: University Gallery: Roundtable: The Future of Poetry, Part II with Heather Christle, Cathy Park Hong, Evie Shockley, & Rebecca Wolff, moderated by Rob N. Casper

3 pm: Amherst Cinema Arts Center: Reading: Terrance Hayes, Caroline Knox, Dean Young, & Matthew Zapruder

Journal and Book Fair Participants Include

A Public Space, Action, Amherst Books, Adventures in Poetry, Aufgabe, Bateau, Black Ocean, Boston Review, The Canary, Canarium, Clockroot, Conjunctions, Factory Hollow Press, Forklift, Ohio, H_NGM_N, Hobart, Jellyfish, jubilat, Kelly Writers’ House, Kenyon Review, Magic Helicopter, Massachusetts Review, Microfilme, Noo, Nor by Press, notnostrums, Now Culture, Open City, Paris Press, PennSound, Pilot Press, Pocket Myths, Poetry Northwest, Poetry Society of America, Publishing Genius, Rain Taxi, Schoen Books, Slope Editions, Small Beer Press, Thermos, Ugly Duckling Presse, Walser Society, Wave Books, Zephyr Press

Local consumption vs. international audiences?

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

This weekend, Clockroot participated in the Juniper Literary Festival, hosted by the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. It was my first time attending, and was truly a wonderful experience. Despite the bleak perspective of the publishing world overall, the small presses, bookstores, and writers represented at the festival seemed not overly gloomy, and possibly even heartened by a growing sense of community, by the need to find creative solutions to the challenges we all face. Most are located within New England.

Eric Lorberer, founding editor of the Rain Taxi Review of Books, gave a great talk on “The New American Renaissance” in literature, tying the historical moment we find ourselves in to the beginnings of American literature and democracy. He brought up Alexis de Tocqueville’s idea of associations as a defining element of American democracy and culture–associations to build schools and churches, to publish books and newspapers, to play music and govern the life of the nation–in short, to do everything. Lorberer made the point that we are much stronger when we band together than when we try to accomplish everything we need to do on our own.

He also argued that book publishing’s fate is intertwined with that of newspapers and magazines. At a time when we may be trying to save ourselves first and foremost, we cannot ignore the serious losses and setbacks that other media are undergoing, he argued, and we must do everything we can to support them. As an example, the drastic cuts in newspaper and magazine coverage of books are already decreasing publishers’ ability to get the word out about their books to potential readers. (Ray Bradbury laments the loss of LA Times’ book section, which he used to write for, here.) More generally, the health of the news media directly reflects the health of our democracy overall, and in consequence, our ability to question and influence cultural trends. And to publish what we like.

A panel with editorial members of the Massachusetts Review, FC2, Slope, and the lit magazine Jubilat also discussed their approaches to problems of editorial curation, funding, and distribution. No small problems. But the thorniest and most interesting issues came up in questions posed by the audience. One audience member asked the panelists what they were doing to strengthen their associations with other members of the small/independent press community. Their answers: trading ads, hosting joint readings. This is a start, and wonderful events like Juniper, which bring many members of this community together (some for the first time), are a strong step in the right direction. But is this really enough? Will it help us weather all the challenges ahead? Are we doing enough to strengthen our associations with people whose values we share and whose projects and successes are important to our own?

(On that note, I think everyone at Clockroot has been inspired by Open Letter and its blog, Three Percent. Personally, I most admire Chad Post’s endless willingness to devote what some publishers see only as personal PR space to promoting other small presses, bookstores, and authors. In keeping with that idea, we hope, I think, to promote here not only Clockroot’s books, but other relevant and deserving presses and authors as well, that we might strengthen each other and work to create new collaborations.)

Pam brought up another hot topic: e-books. Specifically, she asked if any of the panelists were considering implementing any electronic reading technologies. The resounding answer was no. Certainly, the represented organizations’ small sizes and lack of extraneous funds partially explains their reluctance, or the mere impossibility of such projects. But, meaning no disrespect to the panelists, there also seemed to be a general attitude of: “We don’t like it, and we don’t need it.” And like many bibliophiles, I myself will probably always prefer an actual book to an LCD screen. But does this mean that we should dismiss the idea altogether? Doesn’t this decision mean limiting our ability to reach new, unconventional, or simply distant readers? Doesn’t it mean restricting us to an old-fashioned, highly imperfect system of distribution? Should we really make such an important decision based solely on our personal aesthetic preferences?

Most of the presses represented at the fair may be intentionally cultivating a local, regional, or national audience, and so may be perfectly content with this sort of willful self-containment. But Clockroot, as we focus specifically on literary works in translation, draws authors and ideas from all over the world. If we draw works from everywhere, why would we want to limit our ability to find readers who appreciate this work–wherever they happen to be, regardless of our ability to deliver to them in a conventional fashion?

The ideas of consuming locally grown food and locally created products is, I’m sure, also contributing to this debate. And as you may have noticed, Clockroot’s identity is greatly informed by the Pioneer Valley and the sense of cultural community here. This is something we’re all grateful for. But does the desire to support local presses, authors, and bookstores have to be in conflict with creating a more global audience, or learning about the wider world out there? I don’t know the answer to this question, but I would rather entertain it than answer too hastily.