As Archipelago ends 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.
The Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. A reminder of our rights and our responsibility to those whose
human rights are endangered, at home and abroad.
Hubert Butler (1900-1991),
the Anglo-Irish essayist who is now recognized as a writer of
international stature, was honored at a celebration of his centenary in
Kilkenny, Ireland, on the weekend of October 20-22, 2000.
Among the distinguished guests and speakers were John Banville, John
Casey, Roy Foster, Neal Ascherson. The site devoted to him is being
developed as a resource for readers and scholars. Hubert Butler’s
disturbing essay “The Artukovitch File” appeared in Archipelago,
Vol. 1, No. 2.
John Casey is a Contributing Editor of Archipelago.
In this Issue
An Interview with Jane Miller.
________ An interview with Al
Jadid about the novel THERE.
The Post Apollo Press
Taxi Interview with the publisher of Post Apollo Press.
The Maly Theatre Company. The excellent Russian acting company from
St. Petersburg, written about elsewhere in this issue. A sampling
of reviews appears in an Australian newspaper,
and New York:
“Ultimately, however, the Maly Theatre is a social theater, and
Dodin’s often-harrowing stage compositions have been designed as
instructional tools. Addressing his fellow Russians, the director utilizes
Brothers and Sisters to demonstrate that after his countrymen defeated
fascism in Germany, they participated in the even more ruthless
destruction of themselves. He credits their misguided belief that an
imminent Communist paradise would compensate for all of their suffering
for this unholy phenomenon. Dodin’s six-hour display of this devastation
is his attempt to urge finally to learn how to live more beneficial
Ardis is the small
publishing company founded in 1969 by (the late) Carl and Ellendea
Proffer, who published the great Russian writers we needed (still need) to
read, when no one else was doing it. Mrs. Proffer is still the publisher;
her lovely essay “About Ardis” is worth reading. It is – she
was – living history. The Ardis picture archive is extraordinary: images
of Akhmatova, Bulgakov, Platonov, Nabokov, and so many of the remarkable
writers of the 20th century.
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,
House is an estimable non-profit literary publisher, some of whose
authors are Alfred Arteaga (Archipelago Vol. 1,
No. 3), Robert Louis
Stevenson, Joseph von Sternberg, the Italian fabulist I.U.
Tarchetti (PASSION; FANTASTIC TALES),
and a number of personal writings about the Holocaust. In March 2001
they will publish NARROW
ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH, by Katherine McNamara. A
short excerpt is available; a chapter, “The Repetition of Their Days,”
appeared in Archipelago Vol. 2,
is a first-rate electronic/digital publisher, directed by Ram Devineni,
who named the press after Wallace Stevens’s word for the sound of
thunder. The press publishes poets and poetry. It offers e-books and books
on paper, with CDs. The
literary review Rattapallax, which comes with a CD
of poets reading their work, is available only through bookshops. We talk
about this press in our conversation with Calvin Reid
about electronic publishing, in this issue.
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).
María 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.
fascinating exhibit on “The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western
World,” on till January 27, 2001,
at the New York Public Library, and co-curated by that library and the
Bibliothčque national de France, has both physical and virtual
installations. Beautiful books about a beautiful, or terrifying, subject
of Western thought and social experiments are handsomely displayed; but
the web site offers another dimension entirely. Handsome flash art;
serious, even profound matter; marvelous resources including
bibliographies and links. A research site to bookmark.
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.
“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’
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.
Feed is often lively and smart,
sometimes frantic and too smart; all in all, probably the most bearable of
the daily news/entertainment sites. The recent Book issue (July), still
available, has a fascinating session with the fine translators Lydia
Davis, Jay Rubin, Christopher Logue, and Richard Pevear and Larissa
Volokhonsky, on what is lost and found in translation (of course).
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.
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 &
Web del Sol is the invaluable old
stand-by we’ve consulted for years, configured gorgeously into an almost
dizzying assemblage of literary web sites (we couldn’t do without the Links
page), portal to vast riches of poetry residing in distant nodes of the
web or right under our fingertips. (It plays music, too.) The editor,
Michael Neff, was kind enough to write of Archipelago: “You have
a superb magazine, and it elevates all who engage in online publishing of
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.
Academy of American Poets
has revised its site and made it a useful one for poets and those wishing
to find poets, books of poetry, links to other sites, and a reaffirmation
of the necessity of poetry in ordinary life.
Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP)
has long been a useful source of advice and information for small presses
and literary magazines. They are developing a new web site and hope to
expand their membership to publishers on the web.
Poetry Ireland Éigse
Éirann is a fine resource for Irish writers and the best way
for readers at home and abroad to find poets and novelists, their works,
and other necessary information. They publish a fine review and sponsor an
excellent program of translation, pairing international and Irish writers
to bring remarkable poetry into English; and they publish the volumes
resulting from these collaborations. They are located in the Dublin
Castle: superb way of turning that ancient seat of imperial power into a
benign center of the word. They are funded by all thirty-two counties.
Center for American Places
is an estimable non-profit organization “dedicated to fostering
knowledge of the places we work, live [in], and explore.” A founding director is the great geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, who wrote: “Americans are woefully ignorant of geography and of place–ignorant,
that is, of the natural and humanly constructed worlds that have nurtured
us, inspired us, and, sad to say, too often frustrated us. It is hard to
imagine concretely how we can envisage the good life (the humane life),
and plan for the future, unless we have some clear idea as to the sort of
places that we wish to exist.” The Center sustains itself by its fine
publishing program, which offers a range of books about place, and places,
and its other educational projects. This is good work.
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 E-text Center,
University of Virginia offers an expansive collection of books and other
writings, formatted in SGML, though not all departments are open to
non-subscribers. With pleasure, we found Mandelstam’s TRISTIA,
tr. Bruce McClelland, in the Russian collection. And now, if you download
the free Microsoft Reader (available for PC’s, not Macs), you can then
download a library of e-books available without cost, including classic
British and American fiction, major authors, children's literature,
American history, Shakespeare, African-American documents, the Bible, and
much more. In August, 347,224 e-books shipped from this site. People are
reading. We knew that.
Dialog Among Civilizations.
Rattapallax Press is organizing a “Dialogue Among Civilizations Through
Poetry,” with readings at the U. N. featuring
Yusef Komunyakaa, Joyce Carol Oates, and others, and in more than one
hundred cities and international sites, hundreds of poets. A literary
conference at the U. N. will be moderated by John
Kinsella, and organized by Poetry
Art and Literary Sites
Alt-X Publishing Network is Mark Amerika’s
smart, sharp performance-artist/publishing/writing/cultural-critical
scene. His PHON-E-ME virtual installation at the
Walker Art Center, for instance, is brilliant. We talk about his work in
this issue with Calvin Reid. See, also, Joe
Tabbi’s challenging, thoughtful review of Mark Amerika’s writing
and why we ought to read it well.
artnet.com - The art search engine.
The Puppetry Homepage,
is good news for devotees of the art, artifice, and folk-traditions of the
Fantagraphics is a good entry-point if you are looking for more work
by graphic artists and writers like Chris Ware (JIMMY
CORRIGAN), Dan Clowes, Jessica Abel, and others whose work is worth
watching. We read graphic novels for their complexity, intensity, and
edge-of-despair wit. We began with Franz Masreel (1898-1972)
(PASSIONATE JOURNEY, A Novel Told in 165
Woodcuts with an introduction by Thomas Mann, Penguin; LANDSCAPES
AND VOICES, Schocken), and haven’t stopped finding new artists.
Béatrice Coron is a paper cutter
of exquisite sensibility and the steadiest of hands. Her books are worth
collecting. Her motto is “Papercutting in Action.”