A huge thank you to Peter LaBerge for not only soliciting me but including my poem, "History of Snow," in Issue 9 of The Adroit Journal. The poem, part of my MFA thesis at Warren Wilson College, was written in December 2012 upon seeing photos of the Wounded Knee Massacre, which had by that point reached the 122nd anniversary. the page also includes an mp3 of my reading of the poem. I am honored to be able to have had this poem read, appreciated, and published. My gratitude to Makalani Bandele for his unwavering support of the poem.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
For some time now, I’ve dreamed of publishing poets, and the idea of making broadsides—something that connotes the individualistic power of a unique poem, making the poem substantive as a piece of art as well as literature—seemed the natural choice.
Most people understand the challenges publishers, especially small publishers, face in America today. I knew such an enterprise would be risky at worst, but also fulfilling and challenging at best. I had, however, a few ideas I hoped would set my project apart.
The most important was simply to pay the poet for his or her contribution. As a poet myself, I am accustomed to not making any revenue from what is, essentially, my life’s work. Certainly I’ve been paid here and there for a publication or a reading, but it is rare for a writer in my station. It seemed fair and necessary to support a poet, whose work I am soliciting, not only artistically but monetarily. Thus, I have insisted on paying the writer a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their broadside, as well as provide them with copies of the broadside itself.
Secondly, I saw this as a way to support local business in Louisville, Kentucky, where I live. I had always envisioned using the local letterpress artists at Hound Dog Press. They are, of course, paid for their work. But it’s also a matter of collaboration; my role is simple in that I solicit a poet and choose a poem to publish. But I wanted Nick Baute, co-owner of Hound Dog, to work his magic on the broadsides—he designs them, conceives and executes the art, and prints them on his 19th century press.
The mission of my Green Fuse Press is to therefore be supportive of the arts as a form of collaboration, as promoting great literature and unique local business, and of course as a way to be financially supportive of all involved. And whatever money is leftover goes, as planned, to investing in the next poet, the next broadside.
It is my hope that poets, writers, and readers everywhere—both in Louisville and across the country—share my vision and find Green Fuse Press worth supporting. No one wants to be the poet who drives hundreds of miles on his or her own gas to a reading where no one buys a single book. I don't fault the many small presses who print poems they love but can't afford to pay—I'd only like to make an attempt to publish diferently.
The first broadside, a poem by Graham Foust, one of my favorite poets, is a test run. This will help me determine if people are willing to support not just me, or Green Fuse Press, or even the poet and printer, but the idea that we can make of literature something that contributes to all involved.
And my time practicing meditation has taught me something about karma I think it wise to remind myself of: that the energy we give always returns to us, sometimes multiplied, expanded, and intensified. It all begins today with a choice to support the idea: buy a broadside, hang it on the wall, and consider it daily. I think you’ll be glad you did.
Visit us at www.greenfusepress.org.
Visit us at www.greenfusepress.org.