Monday, August 30, 2010

Cheyenne Madonna @ The Irish Examiner

by David O'Mahoney at The Irish Examiner:

“Chuculate, a well-travelled journalist, writes with a warm informality. The tone is often conversational and never art for art’s sake. This gives the reader a greater sense that the characters are people, not just pictures on the page.

He also has a knack for words that just fit.

When Jordan describes his assault trial ‘a Mickey Mouse, kangaroo clusterf**k of proceedings,’ given how much attention the Indian legal system has given it, you feel that, for all its vulgarity, it is simply the right word for the job. But he can conjure up wonderful dramatic imagery as well. When he describes a forming tornado as ‘three skinny dancing ropes’ that ‘dropped from the wall of bruised clouds,’ you have a tight sense of what it must be like to be caught in a storm the likes of which you have never seen.

Chuculate has already made an impact with his short story work.

His ‘Galveston Bay, 1826’, the sort of origin tale that opens Cheyenne Madonna, won the PEN / O. Henry awards in 2007, putting him alongside previous winners such as Stephen King and William Faulkner. This collection shows it was no flash in the pan victory, but rather a sign of things to come.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

Digging the Postpunk Feminism

Eileen Myles
listen up fools — Jezebel sez:

“Eileen Myles is ‘the rock star of modern poetry’ (BUST Magazine) and ‘a cult figure to a generation of post-punk female writer-perfomers’ (The New York Times) and we think that means that she's super-honest and unafraid to get ugly or dirty or otherwise f*cked up. An East Village fixture with a working-class Boston background, she's worked as Artistic Diretor of the St.Mark's Poetry project, toured with Sister Spit and performed all around the world including at the Poetry Project, P.S. 122 and the WOW Café. Also she's published like 15 books and has a ‘poet's novel,’ INFERNO, coming out this fall. Her memoir Chelsea Girls is one of Emily Gould's favorites.”

So grab these Black Sparrow titles while you still can:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wesley McNair: Process and Poetry

At the Colby College Special Collections, which houses Wesley McNair's papers, a new website has been launched that offers some amazing insight into the process of poetry. You can read and listen to the poem in its final version, and browse pages of manuscript. Look at these notebook pages for the poem “How I Became a Poet” (from Lovers of the Lost)

The site includes dozens of poems in this form, as well as biographical and critical resources for teachers and poetry lovers alike. Congratulations to Colby on this wonderful project!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Superior Person's Tuesday

Rufous adj. Coloured a dullish red or rusty reddish-brown. Reserve the term strictly for use in circumstances where someone named Rufus has just come in from working in the garden. Be patient. At least once in your life, this will happen.

The Rufous Rufus Sewell. That just feels right.

Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Rufous appears in the third.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cheyenne Madonna @ Pasatiempo

from a review by Jennifer Levin
The Santa Fe New Mexican

“Chuculate presents a profound disconnect between the mythology of Indian art and the present-day reality of Indian artists, who rarely get to be artists without the cultural qualifier. He also lays bare the effects of wide-spread multi-generational addiction without making excuses for the way his characters treat each other. There are no saints in here, and no demons, either. Cheyenne Madonna is a fantastic debut.”

Buy Cheyenne Madonna from the Black Sparrow website!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Slight Consolation

Seriously, how do you even
turn this thing on?

from Robert Pinsky at The New York Times:

“The story begins with money. Johannes Gutenberg did not find a way to profit from his technical achievements. The Gutenberg Bible, a gigantic project, required large amounts of capital that needed replenishing over time, long before there was any hope of profit. The finished product inspired awe, but the print run was 180 copies. Gutenberg “died bankrupt and disappointed.”

Nor was he alone. Apparently, it took decades before some people figured out how to make money from this remarkable invention. For decades after Gutenberg, it was not even clear that print would become a success. How do you market books? How many should you run off at one time? Piracy was a problem, as were texts changed, mutilated or combined in unauthorized editions. Many printers were ruined, trying to exploit the new medium.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Radical Mention: Robert Leonard Reid

Robert Leonard Reid
from John Barrette at NewsReview:

There are third party candidates, but my favorite for that role is too busy with his own writing and musical career to jumble his life by stumbling into the political maelstrom. I speak of the aforementioned friend, Carson City’s Robert Leonard Reid (no relation to Harry that I can discern).

Bob Reid is a bleeding heart booster of an ecological approach to existence, something captured with aplomb in his latest book: Arctic Circle: Birth and Rebirth in the Land of the Caribou. In it he recounts an Arctic trip to watch caribou migrate.

And he quotes the great naturalist Wendell Berry. For me, it made a pertinent point regarding current politics both nationally and in Nevada.

“In his poem ‘The Peace of Wild Things,’” writes Reid, “Wendell Berry offers as an antidote to the dissonance of daily life the ‘still water’ of the natural world:

‘When despair for the world grows in me/ and I wake in the night at the least sound/ in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,/ I go and lie down where the wood drake/ rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds./ I come into the peace of wild things … ’

“Nature has the capacity to heal the frazzled soul, Berry reminds us, bringing with it freedom and ‘the grace of the world,’” Bob Reid concluded.

Bob Reid also wrote the musical revue “I Say Nevada!” that was presented in Carson City in 2008. An updated “bailout version” is scheduled for this autumn. In it, songs make sardonic humor romp. In one, Harry Reid is satirized for the heartthrob he is (NOT).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Superior Person's Tuesday

Quietus n. A blow or other action bringing about death; a coup de grace. As in Hamlet: "his quietus make / With a bare bodkin...." (a bodkin being a pin or other pointed instrument such as a stiletto). A suggestively gentle word for a grim thing. "Time for your quietus now, children," you gently say, as you usher your visitors' uncontrolled little offspring out of the lounge room; "I have some lovely plastic bags for you to play with in the rumpus room."

Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Quietus appears in the third.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Giveaway Party

Just stop by and leave a comment
for a chance to win a free copy of The Lonely Phone Booth!

It's that easy. We swear.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


at The Atlantic, Tim Carmody writes about “bookfuturism:”

A bookfuturist manifesto could never really be like an avant-garde or political manifesto, partly because the whole idea of bookfuturism is to critically unravel these contradictions, rather than stake out definite positions that we'd cling to no matter what. For instance, when Amazon's Kindle first came out, I was completely of the mind that these text-only files cheaply mocked the experience of reading a book without actually including all its rich physicality, or trying to create a new, specifically digital experience. Now, as the whole industry's moved towards multimedia tablets and touch interfaces, I find myself thinking, "you know, maybe just focusing on text, and making that experience as useful and enjoyable as possible, is a really good idea. Text and textual interfaces are incredibly resilient and powerful. Bring back the command line!”

Bookfuturism turns out to be not just about books as such, but a kind of aesthetic and culture of reading, literacy, history, in connection with (only rarely in opposition to) other kinds of media culture. And reading here would also obviously include newspapers and magazines, and even things like maps and advertisements and data visualizations, plus whatever's displayed on the different screens most of us look at all day at home or work. What does it mean to live in this hyperliterate world? How do we make sense of it? There I think we need to actually articulate something like Jason Kottke's motto: "Liberal Arts 2.0."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Superior Person's Tuesday

Paracme n. The stage after one’s peak, when decline and senescence set it. “What an idea, Professor! You are indeed at the paracme of your powers!”

“How can I incorporate more killer trees?”

Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Paracme appears in the second.

Aram Saroyan & David Godine @ Skylight Books

Listen to Aram Saroyan, author of Door to the River, and publisher David R. Godine in conversation at Skylight Books in Los Angeles:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Beautiful Red-spotted Admiral Butterflies (Limenitis arthemis)

by Kim Smith

One of the most elegant butterflies to grace our garden, the Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax), is one of two races that comprise the Red-spotted Admirals, the other being the White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis). Red-spotted Admirals should not be confused with Red Admirals, which are a member of the Vanessa genus. I hope you are not totally confused at this point, but if you look at the binominal nomenclature, or scientific name (see below), it will help you see that, although distinctively different in appearance, both the White Admiral and the Red-spotted Purple are members of the same genus and species. For many years zoologists thought they were two distinct species. It is a wonder of biology that a single species has such different appearances for its survival strategies. With this delightful stretch of warm weather, almost daily, I catch a glimpse, or two, of this most richly hued and unusual of butterflies.

The average wingspan of the Red-spotted Admiral is approximately three inches. The White Admiral has a distinctive wide white band on both the forward and hind wings, and on both the dorsal (upperwing) and ventral (underwing). In the Red-spotted Purple, the white band is replaced with a band of iridescent lapis lazuli blue scales. It has evolved to mimic the highly distasteful Pipevine Swallowtail. Red-spotted Purples are found in greater numbers than White Admirals in the eastern part of Massachusetts. The opposite holds true for the western part of the state.

Purportedly, Red-spotted Purples are seen feeding primarily on rotting fruit, sap, and dung— infrequently at flowers—however, I see them nectaring often, and for long periods of time, at flowers. They are particularly fond of butterfly bushes, meadowsweet, Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and Joe Pye-weed.

Hostplants for the Red-spotted Admirals are extremely varied. Both races use cherries, including Chokecherry (Prunus virginiaina), Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), Pin Cherry (Prunus pennsylvanica), plum (Prunus), apple (Malus), poplars, cottonwood, aspens, willows (Salix), birches, (Betula), hawthorn (Cratageous), basswood (Tilia), Deerberry (Vaccinium stamineum), and serviceberry (Amelanchier). The female oviposits a single egg on the upper surface at the tip of a fresh hostplant leaf. Our postage-tamp of a garden is much too small for the aforementioned larger trees, and too shady to grow healthy Prunus and Malus, so I am experimenting with a multi-stemmed Shadblow (Amelanchier canadensis), which I plan to keep pruned to a manageable shrub-size.

Amelanchier’s common names of Shadbush, or Shadblow, are derived from the fact that they bloom at the same time of year as the annual spawning migration of the shad fish. One of the most beautiful sights of early spring is the lacey white blooms of the Shadblow dotting woodland and roadside. Amelenchier canandensis is also called Canada Serviceberry, because of its delectably sweet blueberry-sized berries. You would be lucky to actually sample a berry. In our garden, the bluejays, catbirds, and mockingbirds are first in line. Naturally occurring in moist woodlands, shadblow is highly adaptable to a variety of soils. It can tolerate some dry conditions, but only when once established. Keep very well-hydrated until very well-established.

I am off to Tanglewood, which is located in western Massachusetts, to visit our daughter. With camera in tow, I am hoping to see a White Admiral!

Red-spotted Admirals
Kingdom: Anilmalia (Animal)
Phylum: Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class: Insecta (Insects)
Order: Lepidoptera (Butterflies, skippers, and moths)
Superfamily: Papilionoidea (Butterflies, excluding skippers)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed butterflies)
Subfamily: Limenitidinae (Admirals and Kin)
Genus: Limenitis
Species: White Admiral: arthemis arthemis
Species: Red-spotted Purple: arthemis astyanax

End Notes: I am organizing a new show for the local north of Boston cable network and will be appearing on the Cape Ann Report with Heidi Dallin on Wednesday, August 4th at 6:00 pm to talk about it. More information will be forthcoming. To see a short Red-spotted Purple video, visit the following link: Red-spotted Purple Butterfly Video.

Kim Smith Designs is my interior and garden design firm. My first book, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! which I wrote and illustrated, is available through your local bookseller (and Amazon). I will be happy to respond to questions and comments at For more information about Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!, butterfly gardening, current projects, exhibits, and events, please visit my website.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A/C Broken

wishing we had these to wear today (office inappropriate?):

The Wondrous Godine E-Mail List

You may have noticed this box on the right side of our blog:

It's the new sign-up form for our monthly e-mail list. I recommend it highly. You'll get special discounts on backlist books (and new titles sometimes); updates from authors and as well from peers — publishers, writers, magazines, and even the occasional band; information about author readings, lectures by David, and other fun events; as well as essays by, and reviews of, hundreds of great Godine and Black Sparrow authors. We don't share your information with anyone, and we promise not to send those constant annoying updates on every miniscule detail of our day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Lonely Phone Booth: Romantic Comedy Mode

Top 3 things all authors should be doing (according to the Huff Post)

Top 3 things all authors should be doing

1. Engage in traditional, real-world events such as speaking engagements and workshops coordinated with online events such as tele-seminars and webinars

2. Produce an online video or live web feed promoting all of your events

3. Participate consistently (daily!) with your online community through Facebook and Twitter. The recommended frequency is 1 to 2 times a day on Facebook (not including the all-important responses to comments). For Twitter, a combination of content, replies, and recommendation tweets 5 to 30 times per day, much of which can be automated.


The above is from an article at the Huffington Post written by Arielle Ford. We don't have many authors on Twitter, but Godine has recently begun hosting and producing videos. We do blog regularly, Facebook, and Tweet — so I suppose we are doing alright. But perhaps there is something of which you would like to see more, good reader?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Green Genius Review

Over at The Green Book Review, Heather MacAndrew discusses Genius of Common Sense, the legacy of our wonderful heroine Jane Jacobs, and finding the clarity and courage to act in a crazy, crazy world:

“Younger readers will enjoy meeting Jacobs as an inquisitive, fearless child who never lost her propensity to think independently until the day she died in 2006, just a week shy of turning 90. The book’s title, Genius of Common Sense, is not hyperbole. Jacobs’ observations about what makes cities livable ran counter to urban theorists in New York City, where she lived at the time. Lacking a university degree, she wasn’t taken seriously until she began writing articles and making her voice heard in neighbourhood protests.

Augmented with photographs and pencil illustrations, Genius of Common Sense chronicles Jacobs’ life from her early years in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to her family’s move to Toronto during the Vietnam War — revealing how her activism grew from the strength of her convictions and her political savvy. The deliciously subversive but common-sense lessons in this book prod us to trust our own observations, challenge conventional wisdom, and protest with verve and imagination — and to remember to feed the people you’re organizing. (Jacobs’ post-protest dinners were legendary.)”

Superior Person's Tuesday

Opsablepsia n. Not looking into another's eyes. In some cultures a sign of disrespect or evasion; in others a sign of respect and deference. Make what you will of this.

Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Opsablepsia appears in the second.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Eddie Chuculate on the Radio

Listen to Eddie Chuculate on Tulsa Public Radio, interviewed by Rich Fisher:

The Private Library on Godine

“As we have observed in repeated posts over the past 15 months, much of what gets published nowadays should be an embarrassment to the companies doing the publishing — way too many books nowadays are poorly edited (or not edited at all!), poorly printed (virtually no margins, hard-to-read type, no whitespace to relieve the eyes) and poorly bound (don't even think of opening the book wide enough to actually read it!).

The exceptions to this trend are few and far between. Fine press publishers still fight the good fight. As does the occasional specialist publisher like The Folio Society. But among commercial publishers, this task seems to have fallen to the few remaining independent publishers. One such publisher, which this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary (a difficult enough achievement in itself), is David R. Godine.”

Read the rest of this write-up at The Private Library