by Win Bassett
In an effort to be a charitable citizen of the independent publishing community, we’d like to give a little love to our contributors, friends, and fellow members each week!
* There’s a fantastic essay up at VQR about innovation in the independent publishing world: “What does innovation look like in the context of literary publishing? Hint: It’s not e-books.”
* Summer issue of The Oxford American is out, and Rebecca Gayle Howell is the guest poetry editor!
* Our friend Luke Hankins, Senior Editor of Asheville Poetry Review, writes about Bruce Beasley’s Theophobia in 32Poems:
God as invading organism. God as death sentence. And yet this is a prayer to be invaded, to be sentenced to death. Is this masochism? Suicidal desire? Or is it an accusation against God’s goodness?
In the excerpt above from “Having Read the Holy Spirit’s Wikipedia,” I suggest that it is Beasley’s awe that wins out over his horror. It is a prayer—a fearful one, yes (“Spirit / of Holy Fear, who’s afraid?”)—of surrender of the self to a system that supersedes the self, in which annihilation of the self may contribute to the terrible beauty of the whole.”
* It would be a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere, if more poets created reader’s guides to their collections in an effort to help teachers get poetry in classrooms. See David Tomas Martinez’s example! In other Martinez news, “The Only Mexican” was featured by Poetry Daily this month, and “Forgetting Willie James Jones” was on Split This Rock.
I like how Ocean Vuong answered this same question a couple days ago, saying, “Some days I feel like a human. Some days I feel more like a sound.” I like the flexibility of that answer, allowing for an identity in flux. For me too, it changes rapidly, from moment to moment. Right now, there’s a baseball game on the radio. I’m all about—this October—the Detroit Tigers winning the 2014 World Series. If this fails to happen, I’ll be all about them winning it in 2015. I’m easily distracted, and what I’m “all about” is constantly in motion. I’m all about the newborn lambs and piglets on the farm of the college where I teach. I’m all about the mountains that surround this place. In the autumn, when the leaves begin to fall, you can see houses behind the tree line that you didn’t know were there.
* Lincoln Michel won a Pushcart for his @NOONAnnual story! (Will also be in my collection, Upright Beasts, coming next year from @Coffee_House_)
* Sara Henning’s collection of flash, Garden Effigies, will be published by Blue Lyra Press, a chapbook imprint of Blue Lyra Review!
* Arisa White has a new project that stems from work she’s done on a libretto in previous GRINDS:
Post Pardon: The Opera is a collaborative musical production by Oakland-based playwright and poet Arisa White with tenor saxophonist and composer Jessica Jones, who lives in New York City. The libretto is an adaptation of the poetry collection, Post Pardon, written by Arisa, which, through the use of Caribbean and Greek mythologies, explores the interior landscape of an African American woman who contemplates life: the taking of her own and that of her only child.
She is using Kickstarter to raise money to cover theater rental costs (including lighting, sound, security, insurance), artist fees, and videotaping associated with her first concert of songs at The Marion E. Greene Theater in Oakland on July 13, 2014.
* One of Mark Jay Brewin, Jr.’s poems was Missouri Review‘s Poem of the Week.
Win Bassett‘s essays have appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Guernica. His stories and poems have been published or are forthcoming in PANK, Image, Ruminate, and Trop. He’s a former assistant district attorney and serves on the PEN Prison Writing Program Fiction Committee. Follow him on Twitter @winbassett.