Friday, April 27, 2007
Despite the rain and the utter silence of the office today, I'm in a great mood and looking forward to the weekend. I'm going to start in on a Black Sparrow Press backlist title, Essays Personal and Impersonal by Milton Hindus. Hindus was a critic and biographer of Proust, Céline, Whitman and Godine's own Charles Reznikoff. How did he ever choose those writers?
I've just discovered that there is no Milton Hindus Wikipedia page. Anyone brave enough to dig up his information and create one?
There is also a brand new site on the Godine web: Monthly Online Discounts. It is a way to show appreciation to those who know us, like us, love us, and visit us on the internet. (We're so lonely!) We're cutting down the list price of a selected number of titles for consumers only. Let us know what you think with comments on the blog, we know everyone likes to save a couple bucks!
Also taking suggestions for a Godine Website nickname. The best anyone here has come up with is Webdine, but I think it looks alot like a restaurant rating site, and we have no idea what No. 9 Park is like.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
This superb collection of Daniel Fuchs's fiction and essays about Hollywood, spanning half a century, records the vagaries of the film industry from the perspective of a screenwriter who toiled for the great studios in their heyday and was on the premises during their decline. Fuchs brought to this subject the watchfulness of a born novelist whose so-called Williamsburg Trilogy, about Brooklyn tenement life, remains a highlight of 1930's fiction — a marvel of detached sympathy and supple naturalism, all the more remarkable for having been written by an immigrant son when he was in his 20's and on breaks from his day job as a public-school teacher in Brighton Beach.
Now I love this book, so I'm really glad it was received so warmly. Read more of Tanenhaus' review HERE, then (of course) buy The Golden West HERE.
Monday, April 23, 2007
When Donald Hall, poet laureate of the United States, tells audiences that poetry is not an unpopular art form, people listen intently.
Some do so because of his title and impressive dossier, which includes two Guggenheim fellowships, the National Book Critics Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and 15 published volumes of verse. Others, however, listen because they understand that resurgence is a theme for Hall, both in his poetry and his life.
"A book of poems by a well-known poet used to get a print run of 1,000 copies, and you'd be lucky if you sold out," says Mr. Hall. "Now more publishers are printing 8,000 to 10,000 copies for a first edition." He also notes that many literary magazines are being published, and when you add their modest circulations together, the result is a large readership.
Hall believes this upward trend has been fueled by readings – at colleges, literary festivals, and other venues – which have become increasingly popular since the 1950s. "The poetry reading used to be a rare event," he explains. "Even famous poets such as Marianne Moore and William Carlos Williams were rarely asked to read their poems." But hearing a poem read aloud "can be like reading it many times. You have a helping hand to get you into the poem. You have an actual body, an actual voice, and a series of gestures."
Read more here
Friday, April 13, 2007
He actually called our office once, long before I was working here. An intern answered the phone and, flustered by the rocky voice announcing immediately "This is Kurt Vonnegut!", she handed the reciever off deftly, like a football, to David, instead of saying "Hello" or anything civil. Kurt was writing a short introduction to our book The Seventh Cross, by Anna Seghers. We seem to have a knack for that kind of behavior here.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
by Charles Reznikoff
Black Sparrow Books is proud to restore to print one of the great long poems of the late 20th century, Charles Reznikoff's Holocaust, originally published in 1975.
Reznikoff's subject is one people's suffering at the hand of another. His source materials are the U.S. government's record of the trials of the Nazi criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribulnal and the transcripts of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. Except for the twelve part titles, none of the words here are Reznikoff's own: instead he has created, through selection, arrangement, and the rhythms of the testimony set as verse on the page, a poem of witness by the perpetrators and the survivors of the Holocaust themselves. He lets the terrible history unfold – in history's own words.
Click Here to see a list of all our Charles Reznikoff titles, including a volume of Selected Poems, Selected Letters, and a long essay on Reznikoff by Milton Hindus.
Friday, April 6, 2007
First, we have a very special offer from David. From April 1 through June 30, selected Godine and Black Sparrow titles will be sold at a huge discount, in honor of National Poetry Month. Practically every poetry title is listed at 40-75% off the retail price. We want you to buy a book of poems, we want you to enjoy reading a well-made, well-written vlume of verse that you can actually afford. Take a minute to click here and check out the titles David has made available for this awesome offer.
Yesterday I picked up the phone here and a woman asked to speak to David. It was Pat Terry, she said, an author. I hadn't seen David in yet but sometimes he just sneaks to his office and quietly does work (it's the only way he can do work in the office usually). He wasn't in so I went back and picked up the line.
"Sir, uh..." There was a long pause. Oh yes, I did. Sir. "David isn't in, can I take a message?"
My approach to these situations is to keep moving. Barrel forth. Ignore ignore ignore. Whatever you do, do not look back.
"Yes, please. This is Patricia Terry..."
Patricia Terry is the author of our new Arthurian retelling, Lancelot and the Lord of the Distant Isles. Translated it from the Olde French manuscript and then edited/rewrote the whole thing to focus on Lancelot's story. Ms. Terry holds a doctorate in French literature from Columbia. And I just called her a man. This is not the way to win over an author.