As Archipelago begins its fourth year of publication, we pause
to remind ourselves of where we come from. In “Little String Game,”
our contributing editor K. Callaway traced the meaning of the word through
“I’ve looked up ‘archipelago’ in the OED
and my Eleventh Edition (1910-11) of the Encyclopaedia
Britannica, and found it is pronounced arkipelago, and that the
Italian word it came to us from, arci-pelago, is pronounced archie.
Thus, at least two pronunciations are in use. To my surprise, though, I
see the word doesn’t mean ‘islands’ but the sea in which they are
found in number. The etymology is much disputed. The OED
says it comes from the Italian arcipelago, from arci (chief,
principle) and pelago (deep, abyss, gulf, pool). The medieval Latin
is pelagus, the Greek pelagos, sea. In most languages the
word had at first the prefix of the native form: OS.
arcipielago ; OPg. arcepelago; M.E.
archpelago, arch-sea. All except Italian now begin archi;
according to the OED….” “Little String
Game,” Archipelago Vol. 1, No. 2.
Back in Print A brilliant idea:
through the agency of the Authors Guild, books gone out of print are made
available to readers by way of print-on-demand, with book orders filled
on-line, by toll-free phone, or through Shakespeare &
Co., New York City. In this set-up, authors establish the price; titles
available are varied and often surprising.
Catbird Press publishes, among other
notable books, a number by Czech writers in translation, including THE
POEMS OF JAROSLAV SEIFERT; a garland of these poems appeared in
Archipelago Vol. 2, No. 3. DAYLIGHT
IN NIGHTCLUB INFERNO offers Czech fiction from the “post-Kundera
generation,” including work by Daniela Fischerová. Her “A Letter to
President Eisenhower,” appears in Vol. 3, No. 1,
from FINGERS POINTING SOMEWHERE ELSE, just
published. New, also, is CITY SISTER SILVER, by
Jáchym Topol, considered the best Czech novel of the last decade, by a
writer worth watching. We heard him read, were fascinated, and will read
this long, complex book. See the web site of the Czech Embassy,
Washington, for their cultural calendar in
the capital city.
The Lilliput Press is an Irish
publisher founded in 1984 by Antony Farrell. Some
150 titles have appeared under its imprint: art and architecture,
autobiography and memoir, biography and history, ecology and
environmentalism, essays and literary criticism, philosophy, current
affairs and popular culture, fiction, drama and poetry – all broadly
focused on Irish themes. Since 1985 they have
brought out four volumes of the essays of the late Hubert Butler. Hubert
Butler’s “The Artukovitch File” appears, with their permission, in Archipelago
Vol. 1, No. 2.
McPherson & Co
publishes such writers as the fascinating Mary Butts (THE
TAVERNER NOVELS), Anna Maria Ortese (A MUSIC BEHIND
THE WALL, Selected Stories Vol. 2), and the
performance artist Carolee Schneeman. A beautiful story by Ortese, “The
Great Street,” appeared in our inaugural issue, and the writer’s
testament, “Where Time Is Another,” appeared in Vol. 2,
Online Originals is an internet
publisher of literature who take the position, one we find ourselves much
in agreement with, that “Conventional book publishing has changed
dramatically in recent years. Most of the world’s publishers are now
owned by a handful of media conglomerates, ruled in turn by their finance
and marketing departments. To guarantee high profits, they tend to accept
manuscripts only by only celebrity writers whose output conforms to the
conventional mainstream market. ... We believe that the Internet is the
way forward for all kinds of publishing. But for the benefit of our
authors, we do not prevent them also publishing printed versions of their
works at a later date.” They deliver “book-like” texts by e-mail.
Station Hill Press is a non-profit
publisher run by the poet George Quasha. They publish writers of serious
and surrealist bent, as well as very fine poetry and fiction. Among their
writers are Maurice Blanchot and Spencer Holst (whose “The Zebra
Storyteller” appeared in Vol. 3, No. 1).
Maria Negroni, whose work appeared in Vol. 1, No. 1
and Vol. 2, No. 4, is the
author of a beautiful work in poetry and prose, ISLANDIA,
which they will publish this year, using print-on-demand; a noteworthy
work of literature brought out by an interesting development in publishing
Salmon Poetry lives in County
Clare, Ireland. The editor, Jessie Lendennie, is pleased to publish not
only her countrymen, including, she tells us, the largest list of women
poets of any Irish publisher, but also Alaskan poets, among whom are
several old friends of ours. She wrote to say she liked our “The
Repetition of Their Days,” Vol. 2, No.3.
Sun & Moon Press is a fine, serious,
literary press with a long backlist. They publish classics as well as
contemporary fiction and poetry; writers and poets such as Arkadii
Dragomoschenko (astonishing Russian poet), Paul Celan, Harry Matthews,
Djuna Barnes, Paul Auster, Russell Banks. They will publish Maria Negroni’s
LA JAULA BAJO EL TRAPO/CAGE UNDER COVER, tr. Anne
Twitty, in a Spanish-English edition; a selection appeared in Archipelago
Vol. 2, No. 4.
Turtle Point Press. This
intelligent press, led by Jonathon Rabinowitz, Helen Marx, and Jeanette
Watson, is reviving several books by the marvelous Iris Origo, including
her LEOPARDI: A STUDY IN SOLITUDE. Another necessary
book published here is Hannah Green’s profound THE DEAD
OF THE HOUSE. Jeanette Watson’s Books &
Co. News is posted, as well. (An excerpt from Lynne Tillman’s BOOKSTORE,
about Watson and Books & Co., once one of the cultural resources of
Manhattan, appears in Vol. 3, No. 3.)
Twisted Spoon Press, publishing in
Prague, offers works in translation by Central European writers, in
handsomely-made paperbound books. Among their authors: the great Czech
writer Bohumil Harabal (his TOTAL FEARS, as it is
called in English, being a selection of periodic writing, is
a great book), Tomasz Salamoun, fine Slovenian poet, Peter Nadas,
Hungarian novelist, and other writers we will want to know about. The
Prague Links are particularly useful if you are going there or are
interested in the city.
This perfectly eccentric site is like the dinner party of artists,
thinkers, above all, talkers you want regularly to be invited to. Its
host-redactor is Robbin Murphy, who is worth looking up. Of particular
delight: The Little Window.
Kamera – came to us via the Richmond
Review and is its pictorial mirror-image. Lively, hip, devoted to the
cinematic arts, with features and reviews of movies and exhibits currently
on in Britain.
Octavo is a digital publisher committed to
conserving books, manuscripts, and antiquarian printed materials via
digital tools and formats. They make original works available to readers
and book lovers through partnerships with libraries, individuals and
institutions. As a sample, they offer a PDF download
of William Shakespeare Poems. We are always pleased when web publishers
use PDF files, as we do for our Download
Work in Regress. This
vertiginous site is by Peteris Cedrins, author of “The
an excerpt of which appears in Archipelago Vol. 3,
No. 3. Here also are two images of dark, thrilling
paintings by Inguna Liepa; descent into the psyche.
Journals and Reviews
The Barcelona Review, Jill
Adams, Editor. A fine, multi-lingual (English, Castilian, Catalan)
offering published in Catalonia by a multi-national group. Intelligent
editing; interesting reading of younger writers from Europe and America.
Big Bridge. Edited by Michael Rothenberg,
editor of OVERTIME, selected poems of Philip Whalen
(Penguin, 1999), and Wanda Phipps, who bring an
open-armed, ‘60s generosity to this “webzine.”
“We think walls are good for keeping out the cold and rain,” they
write: “They’re useless in the creation and propagation of art.” Big
Bridge Press publishes chapbooks and handsome botannica. Michael
Rothenberg’s new novel, PUNK ROCKWELL, just out
from Tropical Press, is
smart, funny, and sexy: “I chose my conflicts out of desire and need….
It wasn’t until I’d built myself a nest out of bourgeois securities
and ventured into the jungle of treasured nightmares that I met Punk
“Global Writing Worth Reading” is their motto; well done. The
publishers of this international web journal, from Washington, D.
C., publish thoughtful journalism, sponsor
articulate forums, link to articles and publications (such as Central
European Review and the New York Review of Books) that we read
regularly. They are forthright about their views; they are (properly)
doubtful about hyper/turbocapitalism and are smart to trust their readers’
intelligence. Their Links page is terrific. We found Archipelago
there, recently, and in good company, when they linked to ‘Hecuba,’
Fragments of Witness, The Trojan Women. Vol.
The Cortland Review. Established in 1997, this publication offers such
poets as Charles Simic, Robert Pinsky, Henry Taylor, Mark Doty, Robert
Creeley, Mark Jarman, Lloyd Schwartz, Neal Bowers, R.T.
Smith, John Kinsella. All poetry and most fiction appear in Real Audio
format. They publish in February, May, August, and November, with Monthly
The Drunken Boat is a new
journal founded by the poet Rebecca Seiferle. Her recent collection, THE
MUSIC WE DANCE TO, was a Pulitzer Prize nominee, and her
translation of Vallejo's TRILCE was the only
finalist for the 1992 PenWest Translation Award. Look for new translations
of Robert Desnoes and Leah Rudnitsky, a poet in the Vilnius Ghetto, poems
by Ruth Stone, new translations of Paul Celan by Heather McHugh,
translations of the well-known Israel poet, Robert Friend, and more. A
very welcome, serious journal of poetry as necessary as breathing.
George Meyers Jr.’s LitKit bills
itself as a “non-commercial zine and archive” and “a larkabout for
readers with brains, and for writers with lightbulbs blazing in their
heads.” That’s close enough; it’s an experience.
The Hungarian Quarterly, the
respected literary journal, offers an essay by Sándor Kányádi in No. 152,
Winter 1998 (linked from the cover page) An essay
about Kányádi and poems by him, translated by Adam Makkai and Bruce
Berlind, appear in No. 138, Summer 1995. Kányádi’s great poem “All Soul’s Day in Vienna” appeared in Archipelago
Vol. 3, No. 4; his charming,
heartbreaking “Song of the Road” is in this issue.
Illuminations. The web
site advertises this printed literary journal appearing normally in
July/August of the year. We look forward to it. Its editor, Simon Lewis,
writes, “You might just call us an international magazine of
contemporary writing devoted to publishing new and up-and-coming writers
alongside already established ones; very open to writing from around the
world and in translation; mainly poetry but carrying some short prose
pieces and some art work. This summer's issue will include an interview
with Tim O’Brien and poems by Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American writers,
also a couple of poems by Sándor Kányádi translated by Paul Sohar, as
well as some of Sohar’s own work.. The 2001 issue
should showcase Cuban writers.”
Jacket was founded and is
edited by John Tranter, a Australian poet whose work is published often in
the TLS. “For more than thirty years he has
been at the forefront of the new poetry, questioning and extending its
procedures.” In this quarterly literary journal he publishes the work of
other writers generously. A new collection of his that should be read, LATE
NIGHT RADIO, is published by Polygon & Edinburgh University
Press. It can be ordered there (tel. 0131 650 8436),
or through Columbia University Press.
London Review of Books. One of the few
reviews we read cover to cover; published on paper every two weeks and
worth subscribing to. The on-line edition offers a generous selection of
the current and past editions.
Mangrove is published at the
University of Queensland, Australia, and is a lively site, offering
well-chosen work by young writers, some of whom will bear watching.
Poetry Daily. A daily necessity.
The Richmond Review received
approving notice (along with Archipelago) in the TLS.
Its staff is drawn from about twenty-five young
persons-about-London-publishing. The founding editor, Steven Kelly, is the
author of THE WAR ARTIST, a chilling moral thriller
about a man called Charles Monk, an artist who “only during wartime
feels truly alive.” It was published in the U.K. by Simon &
Render. Anthology of Korunk, Journal of Culture, History, and Theory, offers a
poem by Sándor Kányádi.
Renditions. A magazine of translation, from the
University of Hong Kong, Centre for
Translation edited by Eva Hung, whose poems appeared in Archipelago Vol 3,
Zimmerzine, edited by
Martin Grampound, is an ‘e-zine’ with a flashy cover opening onto
serious literature, including two poems by Sándor Kányádi, translated
by Paul Sohar, at http://www.nhi.clara.net/z59.htm. Kányádi’s
great poem “All Soul’s Day in Vienna” also translated by Sohar,
appears in Archipelago Vol 3, No. 4.
The Hunger Site, United Nations:
A friend e-mails: “Quite clever of the U.N. to do
this. Go to the Hunger Site on the U.N. webpage. All
you do is click a button and somewhere in the world a hungry person
gets a meal at no cost to you. The food is paid for by corporate sponsors.
All you do is go to the site and click. You’re allowed one click per day.”
It’s true, and worth doing.
The Puppetry Homepage,
is good news for devotees of the art, artifice, and folk-traditions of the