As Archipelago begins its sixth 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 history.
“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:
arcipielago ; OPg. arcepelago;
archpelago, arch-sea. All except Italian now begin
according to the OED….” “Little
String Game,” Archipelago Vol. 1, No.
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.
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.
Daniela Fischerová’s “A Letter to
President Eisenhower,” appears in Vol. 3, No.
1; her collection of stories, FINGERS POINTING
SOMEWHERE ELSE, came out this year. See also 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
Vol. 1, No. 2 and “The
Sub-Prefect Should Have Held His Tongue”
Vol. 5 No 1.
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, No. 4.
Mercury House is an estimable non-profit literary publisher, some of
whose authors are Alfred Arteaga (Archipelago
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. They publish
NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH, by Katherine
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.
and Vol. 2, No.
4, is the author of a beautiful work in poetry and prose,
ISLANDIA, recently out.
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.
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
LA JAULA BAJO EL TRAPO/CAGE
UNDER COVER, tr. Anne Twitty, in a Spanish-English edition; a
selection appeared in Archipelago Vol. 2, No.
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
“Off the Wall,” now appears on
its own site. (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 Hrabal (his TOTAL FEARS,
as it is called in English, being a selection of periodic writing, is a
great book), Toma
alamun, 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.
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
fascinating exhibit on “The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western
World,” mounted by the New York Public Library, and co-curated by that
library and the Bibliothèque 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
Penetralium,” 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
Al Jadid, a printed review of
Arab culture and arts, posts a website offering selections from the
present and back issues. It should attract any intelligent reader
interested in the literature and arts of the Middle East. We note
particularly the complex, thoughtful essay (Fall 2001)
by Elie Chalala on the Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh, writing about
the “life, dreams and pain of Afghan women” in response to September 11.
Available in print in the same issue are the beautiful translations
“Songs of Pashtun Women,” by Simone Fattal, publisher of the Post-Apollo
Press; she also publishes the luminous poet Etel Adnan, whose “Further
On…” appeared in Archipelago Vol. 4, No. 4. Al Jadid is
available by subscription; information is posted on the website.
The Alsop Review. Edited by
Jaimes Alsop, this is a handsome, thoughtful publication that, if it were
published on paper, would be collected and turned to for rainy-day
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.
Edited by Michael Rothenberg, editor of OVERTIME,
selected poems of Philip Whalen (Penguin, 1999), and
PARIS JOURNALS (Fish Drum, 2000) 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 botanica. Michael
Rothenberg and Mary Sands also co-edit
The Central European Review.
Weekly edition, covering the news and arts of Central Europe, and offering
interesting links and a library of e-books. Note: they have
suspended publication but kept their worthwhile archive on-line.
The Drunken Boat
was founded and is edited by the poet Rebecca Seiferle,
whose most recent book of poems is BITTERS
(Copper Canyon Press). Look
for translations of poets from Montréal, Lithuania, Vietnam, etc.; poems
by Americans such as Ruth Stone, Marvin Bell, Aliki Barnstone, and many
others; columns and reviews; links to other sites (including ours,
generously reviewed); and the archives, which contain a fine anthology of
world poetry. This is a lovely publication to look at, as well.
Frank is a stylish-earnest
journal, published in print and on-line. The editor is David Applefield,
an American in Paris. About Frank he writes: “Based in Paris, where
culture, language, history, and creative energy all converge, Frank has
published over 1000 writers, poets, translators, and
visual artists from over 35 countries since the
early 80s. Deeply committed to the increasingly-important need to combat
ethnocentricity, Frank publishes fiction, poetry, cultural interviews, and
compelling art from wherever people create.” On y va…
Frigate. We’ve been reading
this journal from the beginning, and suppose everyone else does, too.
“Ours is a simple little on-line magazine, mostly talking about books.
Frigate takes its name from Emily Dickinson, ‘there is no frigate
like a book’; from the thieving frigate bird, which never lands on
earth; from ‘frig it,’ the midwest’s favorite pseudo-obscenity. We are a
piratical frigate, and we take our riches where we find them.”
Hyde Park Book Review is a
coolly-designed, intelligent, new quarterly review of literary fiction
and serious non-fiction published by small and medium-sized independent
and university presses. We are going to read this one often.
Jacket was founded and is
edited four (or so) times a year by John Tranter, a widely-published
Australian poet of energy and accomplishment devoted to pushing the edges
of the poetic form. In this journal he offers the work of other writers
generously, as poems, essays, reviews, articles, interviews, and features;
but he does not accept submissions.
Kinoeye: “a fortnightly journal
of film in the New Europe.” Read about films and filmmakers from
Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary,
Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. This is a good source.
Linnaean Street is an elegant small review edited with discrimination
and taste by Andrew Wilson and produced handsomely as though on paper.
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,
beginning its sixth year on-line..
The Richmond Review
published in London, received approving notice (along with
Archipelago) in the TLS. Its founding editor, Steven Kelly,
offers short stories, essays and articles by, and reviews of,
international authors; also, news of the book trade in Britain.
Web del Sol is the invaluable
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 serious
work.” Recently, the poet Martin Earl wrote about us in his
column No. 6.
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.
Dialog Among Civilizations.
Rattapallax Press is among the
world-wide organizers of a “Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry.”
Last year’s readings at the U. N. featured Yusef Komunyakaa, Joyce Carol
Oates, and others. In more than one hundred cities and international sites
were readings by hundreds of poets. The dialog continues; information,
schedules, photos, and useful links are posted on both the “Dialog” and
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 Vol. 4
No. 4 with Calvin Reid.
See, also, Joe Tabbi’s
challenging, thoughtful review of Mark Amerika’s writing and why we ought
to read it well.
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. We admire Artbabe: she’s the
smart, funny, full-speed-ahead invention of Jessica Abel. Paul Pope has
his own website – he’s the
rock-‘n-roll star of comics artists.
Matt Madden has a new book called ODDS OFF
coming out from High Water Books,
and a rather brilliant experimental project based on Raymond Queneau’s
EXERCISES IN STYLE.
Comix Decode is a
traveling road show of comics artists –
read more about it.