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Full title:

Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era—Poetry, Drama, Criticism. (Note that there is another volume with the same title, only differing at the end, where “Fiction” replaces “Poetry, Drama, Criticism”; that other volume is over 1300 pages long, and is not for sale here.)

New York: Henry Holt, 1984. Paperback, 6×9.25″ (15.5×23.5 mm), 685+xiv pp.

Original price: $19.95; this copy: $10 + shipping. Click for ordering info.

Condition: Solid binding, cover good, faint (pale green) remainder mark on top edge near spine, a few pages dog-eared, a few marginal notes in ink. A good “reader’s copy”. (Note that the notes are mine, mainly in the section “Poetry in Traditional Forms”, and are not terribly intrusive.)

Here one can get a good overview of “haiku”—the word Shiki coined to separate the independent hokku from the linked poetry it originally belonged to. (The separation actually goes back to old renga masters such as Sôgi and Sôchô, and was reinforced by Bashô and many poets of his day in haikai.) Keene’s grasp of the overall situation of Japanese literature and his special affection for the haiku in all its guises inform his writing. He also translates many haiku and tanka by many poets, some well known in the West, others less so.

Keene includes comments on and translations of tanka by poets from Shigene Suzuki (1814–1898 ) to Takashi Okai (b. 1928), touching on many others including such figures as Akiko Yosano (1876–1942), Hakushû Kitahara (1885–1942), Takuboku Ishikawa (1886–1912), Shiki Masaoka (1867–1902), and Mokichi Saitô (1882–1953). He also sets out the major groups of tanka poets and their differing philosophies of tanka composition, including a number whose approach to tanka form was quite radical. (Note that I list the names here in Western order, which accords with the style sheet I’m following here on the Pub generally, but that Keene gives Japanese names in Japanese order, as do most scholars of Japanese literature writing in English.)

Keene then takes up haiku; poets from Eiki Hozumi (1823–1904) to Kin’ichi Sawaki and Tohta Kaneko (both born 1919) are covered, including those well known to us such as Shiki, Santôka Taneda (1882–1940), Hôsai Ozaki (1885–1926), Shûôshi Mizuhara (1892–1981), and Seishi Yamaguchi (b. 1901). Among these poets, he also writes of many others, less well known to the West, such as Raboku Ohashi (1890–1933), citing one of his oft-quoted minimalist haiku, hi e yamu (“I am sick with the sun.”—Keene’s tr., in which “I am” expresses ideas included in the original, but not its words), the essentially deaf poet Kijô Murakami (1865–1938), Sekitei Hara (1886–1951), and Hisajo Sugita (1890–1946), who led many women and men away from Shiki’s dominant and arch-conservative disciple Kyoshi Takahama (1874–1959), and the “Humanist” haiku poets Kusatao Nakamura (1901–1983) and Shûson Katô (b. 1905). The whole passage on haiku is a fine expansion and continuation of the similar treatment given of fewer of these poets in R. H. Blyth’s History of Haiku, volume 2 (1964) and Makoto Ueda’s Modern Japanese Haiku (1976).

As the title of the book suggests, there are also substantial sections given over to poetry in new forms (i.e., “modern poetry”), modern drama, and modern criticism—all reflecting the opening of Japan to Western influence in the late 19th century through well past the middle of the 20th.

To Order: If you are interested in purchasing this copy of Dawn to the West, e-mail me with name, postal address, and phone number.

Aurora Antonovič, Editor-in-Chief.

With thanks to the editors/publishers.

This first issue of what promises to be a semiannual journal contains an interview with recent-past U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (held office 1997–2000); a brief review of Pinsky’s most recent poetry collection by Antonovič; six pages of poems headed “Free Verse and Form” (22 poems); ten pages of short stories, including a “Special Feature” (5 stories); two pages of haiku and senryu (15) and three of tanka (18); a brief essay on writing; and four pages of contributors’ bios. A table of contents at the front is followed by a brief letter from Antonovič that speaks of the magazine’s beginnings and its related web site, and submission guidelines take up the final page.

The covers, outside and inside, feature the same single photograph, a striking snowscape from Mont Blanc, and the 8.5×11″ format allows for ample room on the pages for the content. One could wish that the designer understood how to number pages—the first numbered page, called “1”, is actually page 2, making for confusion as odd numbers appear on left-hand pages—but that is a small gaff for the first issue of a seriously intended journal that begins as the child of a web site, an environment where one doesn’t have to worry about page numbers.

A few poems, more or less at random:

Mission to Schleswig-Holstein

by Taylor Graham

“The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third, and I have forgotten all about it.” Lord Palmerston.

Politics is always local. These two duchies—stuck
between Germany and Denmark, North Sea and Baltic—
share a history that could drive anyone crazy.

It’s 1850, after two years of uprising, border skirmishes,
unsatisfactory truces, and beyond, real powers
with their arguable legitimacies, positioned to take

sides. And you, Mr. Burritt, delegate from the
World Peace Congress, think to make reason of it all?
Show the Danish Minister tha[t] an American can grasp

the intentions of Bismarck and even more distant Austria?
Slow-train diplomacy, Copenhagen to Kiel, and back
again, then on to Hamburg. After months of this,

at night in your hotel room, does Schleswig-Holstein
slip into an easy sleep? Or do you dream battle cries
in dialects you can’t quite understand?

In a deadened night, do you wake to quick boots
marching below your window? By the glare of dawn
on helmets, do you see that all your diplomacy

is as lost as Lord Palmerston’s memory
and the good professor’s mind?

I selected this from among a number of contenders, not because it is typical—I’d be hard pressed to identify a “typical” poetic mode in this issue’s non-Japanese-related poems—but both this poem’s subject and treatment interest me. (I’m a bit of a history buff, though European history is far from my strong suit.) The short stories, also, provide a range of approach to what makes a story.

snow in the city
nobody home
in the cardboard box

Bill Kenney

from the top
of the Space Needle
he phones me
the connection
still clear, after years

Janet Lynn Davis

These two, a haiku and a tanka, respectively, are by writers new to me, but among many names very recognizable in the English-language haiku and tanka communities, such as An’ya, Curtis Dunlap, Peggy Willis Lyles, John Barlow, Cathy Drinkwater Better, Sanford Goldstein, etc.

The intent to produce a cleanly designed magazine of quality writing clearly emerges from these 32 (not 31) pages, and as the magazine progresses I’m sure we’ll see improvements in detail, like losing the unneeded word “by” in front of an author’s name—a carryover from journalistic style that’s not needed in a lit. mag. (I wonder why they didn’t treat all poems the same, with authorship indicated at the ends of poems, as they did with haiku/senryu and tanka. And I hope they’ll study up on the proper presentation of dashes, etc.) The relative freedom of the large page-size and modest type (10 point) has been put to good use, allowing for two columns or more on the poetry pages and accommodating long-line poems as well as those with more typical short lines as above, while still allowing for enough white space to make reading pleasant.

So, an interesting and well-conceived debut. See their web site, http://www.magnapoets.com, for more information on the magazine as well as the many other activities of the Magnapoets, essentially a poetry publishing cooperative.

Bill

Subtitle: Contemporary Japanese & English-Language Haiku in Cross-Cultural Perspective.

Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2008. More details coming later . . .

With thanks to the author and publisher.

I’m really pressed for time, just now, so I’ll offer here the blurb I wrote on this as it was in press:

In Poems of Consciousness, Richard Gilbert investigates Japanese haiku in the flesh. He not only reports on what he has gleaned from books about haiku, but includes interviews with and writings by living Japanese haiku masters. Here you will meet some of today’s most widely respected poets. Kiyoko Uda has been at the forefront of haiku’s growing popularity among younger poets for the past several decades. She recently became president of the Modern Haiku Association–the most avant-garde of Japan’s major haiku organizations. Hasegawa Kai leads the contemporary reexamination of all our assumptions about the haiku of the past and points the way ahead for this new century. These and others provide striking poems–in Gilbert’s insightful translations–that will, along with his own provocative essays, make anyone familiar with the haiku genre rethink their understanding of this brand new poetry.

You’ll see a more fulsome review here in a few weeks. This is not a fast-food book, but one that requires careful attention, as one moves through its stages. One of these is a DVD-ROM containing extensive materials in the book and from his Gendai Haiku web site. The DVD is worth the price of admission, but there’s plenty more in the book, too.

See the publisher’s web page here.

Bill

Subtitle: A bilingual anthology of Haiku by 105 Poets from India.

Chandigarh, India: privately printed, 2008; 70+5 pp., 4.5×7″ (115×177 mm), US$2.5 + s&h from the editor, 1224, Sector 42-B, Chandigarh, 160 036 India.

With thanks to the editor.

With this modest collection, the initial attempts of Indian poets to grasp Japanese haiku and make something of their own from that understanding appear outside the realm of single-sheet newsletters and the like. The majority of these poems originally appeared in Hindi, and have been presented here in two-page spreads with an English translation on the left and Hindi on the right, with each opening showing three poems in the two languages. (And, confusingly, both pages bearing the same number, though one’s in what we call “Arabic” and the other in Hindi.) Toward the end of the book, some haiku written originally in English are included, along with Hindi translations. As I have no competence in Hindi, I cannot vouch for the translations, but knowing Angelee, I imagine that they are fairly accurate to their originals, going either way.

Here are some selected from random openings:

thundering, again
it breaks the burden of silence
—the downpour

Dr. Satyapal Chugh (3)

This strikes me as interesting on a couple of levels. The “burden of silence” may seem a little hyperbolic, but brings across the notion of human relationship and the ways nature can be found as T. S. Eliot’s objective correlative for the “thunder” of human feelings. And, we might suppose, the “downpour” may also refigure some crying that preceded or went along with that silence. A poem more interesting than I thought at first glance.

mountains weep
a thousand tears
a stream flows

—Dr. Manoj Sonkar (14)

This seems just a rather trite metaphor. Unfortunately, several of the poems in this collection exhibit similar triteness and failures of imagination, or, perhaps more accurately, failure to find fresh language for their perceptions.

The next poem has the virtue of genuine simplicity, as do a number of the poems in Indian Haiku:

waves came
and went back again
with the sand

—Ajay Charmam (21)

These are three of the poems apparently translated from Hindi. Indian Haiku also contains a representative of Gujarati and one from Marathi. As India has many native languages, we may hope for more haiku from these and other languages in the near future.

The next two I believe are English originals:

moonbeams—
on the veena strings
her fingers

—Dr. Vidur Jyoti (34)

The veena is a stringed musical instrument featuring a round sound box or bowl and fretted neck, usually four feet or more long. In this poem the moonbeams and playing of the veena echo each other in a not-uncommon haiku manner, effectively becoming mutually metaphorical while, of course, also carrying their literal meanings as primary. A similar technique occurs in the following, last poem, by the book’s editor:

stars adrift
in the chill of night
the last diary entry

—Angelee Deodhar (35)

While it seems to me that the last dozen or more poems—those apparently written originally in English—do the best job of fulfilling my personal sense of the haiku genre, the overall effect of the collection will hopefully encourage existing and new Indian poets to take up the haiku and make it their own. As we’ve noted here before, Angelee Deodhar will undoubtedly be one of the main reasons this happens.

Bill

Northfield, Massachusetts: Lily Pool Press, 2007. Art by Karen Fitzsimmons. Letterpress, sewn binding, 109 pages, 5.5×8.5″. ISBN 978-0-934714-35-8.

With thanks to the author.

Think beautiful. Think demanding, exquisite craftsmanship. Think words lifting from pages into our minds and hearts. Think “book”—in the finest examples you know of, the happiest marriage of text, type, space, and materials possible. (Think Ed Rayher at Swamp Press, and thank him for yet another stunning exhibition of his art.)

Marian Olson does not spew out haiku by the dozens to flood the desks of editors across the world, though many of the haiku and senryu in this substantial collection have been published in print and online journals and anthologies. And she graciously acknowledges several readers who helped her with “careful reading and suggestions on the working manuscript.” Thus, this book, like most well-made books, results from the careful, thoughtful work of its author coupled with a sense of community, a community of poet-friends and publishers and book-crafts people upon whom one calls for assistance with the things that matter.

Again, as is my usual practice, three poems from random openings of Desert Hours. This from page 29:

his eyes when he gives her black tulips

It is no accident that we call the active disk that controls light’s entrance into our consciousness by the name of a flower. A meditation on closely examined tulip superimposed on the iris of the eye, and all that these suggest beyond themselves, a gift. Then, from page 69:

the world having become
what it is
I plant a few bulbs

The poor we have always with us. Last millennium’s beggar in the marketplace has become today’s 24/7 cable news. Yes, we weep with Jesus. But if we do not plant? Ah, but we are not the only planters; here’s one from page 92:

wild irises!
the mountainside blues
in the early light

Understand, “blues” is a verb, here, if you hear it. See it.

And so, is that then the range? Topics from love, to world angst and meditation in the face of it all, to celebration of a glorious vision? Hardly. Here are two more to seal the deal, from pages 6 and 20:

the perfect apple
aaaaaaaon a branch
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaI can’t reach

all day circling
the one tree he knows
fledgling

The first, a self-revelatory senryu, the second a wry comment on a particular bird, on all of us, to be taken as haiku or senryu; depending on the mood in which we read it, it reads us.

In her brief introduction to Desert Hours, Olson says, among other things:

The meaning of pure beauty is looking into the moonless sky on a winter night seven thousand feet above sea level. Far from the air and noise pollution of low elevations, no other sky is like it. Moon and stars unlocked by night can bring a pragmatist to her knees.

One might be tempted to say “You had to be there!” I, too, have lived in Santa Fe and enjoyed the high desert atmosphere—my wife calls it “the place where air is made”—and might agree with that old expostulation. But, if you have memories of the place, its land, waters, sky, air, and people, you can bring them back with Olson’s book. And, if you’ve never been there, well, this collection is better than a day at the spa. All the richness of the physical landscape and the human and other lives that intertwine with it is here.

Not least, one enters Desert Hours through the portal of Karen Fitzsimmons’s striking cover portrait of a landscape, a seemingly natural melding of nearby hill, rivers in a valley plain, distant mountains, and clouds, yellow wildflowers in the foreground, and, oh yes, the remnant of a small house, or perhaps a morada, where some penitentes of the past may have contemplated the agonies of this life and the peace beyond it.

Thankfully, Marian Olson finds peace within it. But not without that sensitivity to our precarious situation which marks all true poets.

Desert Hours is available online through Santa Fe’s premiere book store, Collected Works (click on the link to see the cover, at the least!). Or it may be purchased from the author, at $22 postpaid:

Marian Olson
2400 Botulph Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505-5754

Viva Desert Hours!

Bill

San Francisco, Blue Willow Press, [2006]. Perfect bound, 4.125×5.375″ (10.5×13.7 cm), 112 pages, $10.

With thanks to the author.

In 2004, I reviewed Fay Aoyagi’s Chrysanthemum Love for Modern Haiku magazine, and said, among other things:

Fay Aoyagi’s Chrysanthemum Love heralds what will hopefully become a new generation of America haiku masters. The poems are crafted, richly felt, and tactile as the first rain after a drought.

I think others expressed similar views at the time, and so I pick up her next collection with some hesitancy, hoping for no letdown. Of course, an author might well put out a next book with some hesitancy, too, after such a positive reception. We all want to think the next thing we do is at least as good as the previous success, but who knows?

Opening In Borrowed Shoes at random, three times, I find these:

on page 12:

to kill the pang
of sudden hunger
I open the atlas

on page 56:

letters offering
0% APR
lotus seeds pop

on page 93:

I will not let go
of the Dragon King’s tail
autumn sunset

Hmm! This random set certainly satisfies. I love the relatively obvious but so simply stated connection between hunger and an atlas, which now that I think on it works on more than one level. (Might one have turned to a page showing Darfur?) And even lotus seeds surely pop at the stupidities of our ever-present credit hawkers . . . but the lotus flower suggests another way of being on the planet besides always consuming this, consuming that, and building up debt. Lotus seeds, a better investment. Finally, I think I’m missing a reference here, as I don’t know any “Dragon King”—but imagining it a kite, I feel the tone of autumn in that pull, that wishing I could let go when I cannot, and yet . . .

I think Fay Aoyagi is still among the best we have. Now that I read more dutifully through In Borrowed Shoes, I see the reference(s) to Kurosawa, ponder movies I perhaps have never seen, though I have a set of his samurai epics from last Christmas; find myself leaning with her on a sun-hot wall on Hiroshima Day; count foreign numerals in my native tongue; see my eyes in a fearsome painting; find the connection between bitter fruit and bleached hair—and many more.

Like the haiku in Chrysanthemum Love, those in Borrowed Shoes seek a personal identity in the minutiae of the universe around us. And again, they nail us in the process. Who is Fay Aoyagi? Who am I? Ultimately, unknowable. But these are some of the clues. Here’s one to leave you with, from page 79:

Halloween—
I dress as the self
I left somewhere

Available from the author, $10 + $2 shipping (check payable to her):

Fay Aoyagi
c/o Blue Willow Press
930 Pine St., #105
San Francisco, CA 94108

More of Fay’s world of haiku online at http://bluewillowhaiku.com/. Note that Chrysanthemum Love, her previous collection, is sold out.

Bill

Edited by Randy and Shirley Brooks.

Thanks to Brooks Books.

Published twice yearly, Mayfly typically has 16 numbered pages, one haiku each except for pages 1 and 2. As the highest-paying market explicitly for single haiku that I know of in English, it certainly gets my attention, and I have to say that over the years, pound for pound, Mayfly is the top haiku magazine around in English.

For delicate nuance and utter (apparent) simplicity it’s hard to beat the haiku that opens this issue:

sunlit pond—
the echo
of each tadpole

Stanford M. Forrester (3)

It’s one of the more amusing facts of our present haiku community in North America that this poet also edits a very, very different sort of haiku magazine, Bottle Rockets, which will soon be written up in one of these posts. (Somehow, I seriously doubt that the Brooks’s took Forrester’s editorial work into consideration when selecting this haiku to open their issue. The poem has plenty of legs to stand on by itself, no pun intended, much!)

As with all haiku magazines, there are occasional poems in Mayfly that I don’t “get”—in this particular issue there is one:

helping her to clear
our daughter’s party—
stay for tea, she says

John Kinory (9)

I suppose this may speak about a divorced couple, but the grammatical confusion trumps my willingness to prolong a visit with this poem. I have to believe that the poet does not intend “she” as the subject of the verb “helping”—but I cannot help hearing it that way, which reduces the poem to nonsense. Or does the poet refer in the opening line to an unnamed fourth party, as either the “helping” person (otherwise invisible) or the one being helped? Maybe the implied “I” of “our” is the one “helping”?—this is what suggests a divorced couple to me—a solution to the puzzle I might not have thought of had I not experienced what may have been a similar situation myself, many years ago. But, grammatically speaking, I can’t tell, and give up. Ambiguity in haiku may be useful, but this kind of grammatical confusion is usually not.

Anyway, there are more really good, unconfusing haiku here, as in every issue of Mayfly I’ve perused. Try this one:

gossip
at the beauty shop
snip, snip

Del Todey Turner (11)

Hard to beat for economy of language and sharpness of wit. (A senryu, not a haiku, of course, but that’s another story.)

Each poet in Mayfly is identified as to home city and state or country, a feature I’ve omitted here, but the reader soon discovers that poets from a wide geography get into its pages, which invariably contain work by people whose names are new to me.

At my age, the issues of Mayfly seem to come up pretty quickly one after another. But even so, I eagerly await the next, to see what crème de la crème of our haiku world the Brooks’s have found in their mailbox over the preceding several months. As with any magazine, I do not suggest sending submissions without reading an issue, and certainly following the submission guidelines they publish there.

If you’d like to get a complete issue—two of them, actually—subscribe:

“One year subscription is $8 [US].”

Mayfly
Brooks Books
3720 N. Woodridge Dr.
Decatur, IL 62526

More on their web site: http://brooksbookshaiku.com/.

Bill

New York: Vanguard Press, 1981.

Wow, that was a packed month! February saw Penny Harter and me giving readings in Pennsylvania, giving workshops as visiting writers in four different schools, attending a national conference in NYC, and judging regional Poetry Out Loud contests at two different venues–though we missed a third that was snowed out (rescheduled to this month). (Details on our “Events” web site.) And now I have a backlog stack well over a foot high to write about here.

I recently stumbled across William Heyen’s Lord Dragonfly in a nearby used book store, whose shelves I peruse once every 4-6 weeks. (Thank you Chatham Bookseller! Always a pleasure to look through your fine collection of good reading in excellent condition, on subjects like poetry, history, art, and nature, not to mention your fine collection of classical music CDs.)

I have been somewhat familiar with Heyen’s work for over 20 years, and particularly recommend his “An Open Letter to the Brockport College Community”, published in American Poetry Review in 1989, about the inanity of haggling over whether to include this or that work in the “canon” of what is taught, in a college English department meeting, when there is a fair possibility that the human species would be extinct within a hundred years. In that letter-essay, Heyen exposed an elegant unwillingness to suffer fools gladly, and a demand that we stay on point: Set aside partisan academic bickering and engage the true issues of the day that face all of us, regardless of age or occupation.

The brief “Note” Heyen includes at the front of Lord Dragonfly seems to me similar in tone, if aimed more at himself than, or equally, at the reader. It’s worth quoting entire:

Lord Dragonfly consists of five sequences of poems written between 1974 and 1979. I’ve arranged the sequences here not chronologically, but in an order that itself forms, it seems to me, a sequence of sequences, each a consciousness defining its crises, straining to know, coming to something it can hold to. There is a clearing in the white space between sequences, but then a circling back, if obliquely, until, I hope, Lord Dragonfly sees from all sides at once.

The title sequence, “Lord Dragonfly”, falls second in the book, but is central in its humanness, announced in the opening three-line verse, a haiku:

i.

A friend dies.
Another,
forcing the lilac to flower.

While not all of the verses in this sequence are “haiku” or even three lines, all are spare, and all revolve around a human awareness of the physical, natural world. Two more examples:

viii.

Pure white found
a wild rose to live in,
for now.

ix.

Half the mantis still
prays on my scythe blade.

Some more complex thoughts come across in longer stanzas, but not much longer. Here’s one, two verses from the end of this sequence:

xxxiv.

In the far galaxies,
collapsed stars,
yes, but here,
light escapes
even the blackberries.

Most of the other sequences here feature fewer than 36 verses/stanzas/short poems with more lines in each, though the round returns to a Japanesque 36 brief verses at the end with “Evening Dawning”. Here, too, haiku and haiku-like verses contribute substantially to the changes rung on nature and our life in it:

xxxv.

How long have I been here,
scent of pinesap
flowing through my chair?

Lord Dragonfly, seems to me, illustrates beautifully how haiku can enliven an ongoing self-examination that looks out at the world as well as inward at the light and darkness of a thinking being. It’s a book I’ll not soon let go.

Bill

Portsmouth, NH: Single Island Press, 2007. 4.25×5.5″ (11×14 cm), approx 64 unnumbered pages, $14.95 from the publisher, 379 State St., 03801.

With thanks to Tom D’Evelyn.

With Shaped Water, editor, publisher and author Madeleine Findlay inaugurates her and Tom D’Evelyn’s “small press”* in fine style. From a four-color wrapper to the letterpress-printed interior in sewn signatures of deep cream Ingres paper bound in “Turner Blue” boards embossed with the book’s title, this book is a class act. Its one-to-a-page haiku, elegantly set in Pastonchi monotype by Ed Rayher at Swamp Press, speak quietly to inner places engaged with the outer world.

Some of Findlay’s haiku seem simple in the extreme, as in this almost uncommentable occurrence:

blown
across the kitchen floor
dead leaves

. . . but, on the facing page, we see that more is at stake in these poems, where each word approaches silent, subtle gesture:

out in the cold wind
I walk into my shadow
my back warm

But I have jumped ahead into winter, so let’s back up to see what we might discover in spring, toward the front of the book:

across the counter
and through a crack in the wall
snakeskin

Sounds like my grandfather’s old shed out back, where I found such things after a snowbound winter finally melted away and his worn hands sought tools for work in the soil.

This is a carefully crafted book in every dimension, a “year” to set above any other I know in haiku lately. A wonderful debut book for both press and poet. I’ll not give away any more of these poems here, but recommend that you check them out yourself. The price is low for a book of such quality, and there are only 200 to be had in this limited edition. Check it out further on the publisher’s web site: http://www.haikumuse.com/.

Bill

*Note: A “small press” is a publishing industry term that means a publisher who puts out only a limited number of books in a year, usually in editions of a thousand or fewer copies. Most purely literary publishers fit this description. Note also that the word “press” in a company name may refer to a publishing company, a printing company, or one that does both. Hence, there is nothing strange about having “Swamp Press” produce a book for “Single Island Press”. (Swamp Press also publishes fine letterpress books under its own imprint.)

Good readers,

I’m a bit swamped of late, mostly with work in schools all up and down New Jersey. (You can get an impression here: http://events.2hweb.net.) Each day spent in a school entails another day or two of work in preparation and administrivia. Penny and I are in the midst of our busiest year ever at this work.

I expect to be back with another couple of items from the incoming stack in a week or so. And many thanks to all who have recently sent materials. Some very good things here.

Bill