Friday, May 1, 2009

Wheelhouse Magazine & Press Press Anthology, among other sundry things

Jules Boykoff & Kaia Sand, evening reading (Photo Courtesy of Tom Orange)

File under: Better Never Than Late?

Here (where? who? how?) at Wheelhouse Magazine & Press we're in the home stretch of our yearlong quest to put out our special PRESS Anthology [PRESS ESC] issue. The project is the immolation dross of last year's PRESS Literary Conference, a Wheelhouse/Evergreen State College co-sponsored event that responded in myriad ways to the multiple question of how and whether experimental text arts engages left political movements. We worked in small groups, formed panel discussions and small projects on urgent, intersecting, problems: the anti-war movement and poetries; globalism and globalization viz. translation and the problematic of, to paraphrase, "an imaginary colonialism that responds to the new colonialism, often couched as POST-colonialism"; towards a poetics of disability; performative and interventionist poetics after Situation (Jules Boykoff and Kaia Sand); work on individual writers and collectives (Toscano and Collapsible Poetics Theater, revisiting Mac Low, among others); new media and new poetries - the list is, well, quite long.

Now, with new hands on deck--editors Gianna D'Emilio, Lionel Lints, Jenny Paris, Meghan McNealy, and Andrew Csank--we're collecting our last set of submissions. Rather than a "proceedings" of the conference, due to the performative and ephemeral nature of the work presented and wrestled with over the three days, we decided that it would be more interesting, more lively, indeed more urgent, to publish an anthology that accounts for work that was shared last year, but also new work, from as many of the contributors as we could accommodate.

Very excited to have further exchange, as a year has passed, as our political environments have necessarily shifted, to see what contributors are up to. Of particular note is the work of Rodrigo Toscano. His Collapsible Poetics Theater has moved more deeply into the gestural and combative - for more on such developments, look out for a forthcoming essay in Jacket by Wheelhouse contributor Jason Conger. Also of note, for me anyway, is the near total developmental shift I've seen in the upcoming writers, many of them Evergreen students or recent graduates. As Mark Wallace mentioned not too long ago on his blog, I'm not quite sure what the "youth of today" is up to poetically, what to say of anything approaching trend lines or tendancies or - but collaboration is a thread that I'm delighted to find over and again, in new and deliberate ways. Not to mention the number of PRESS participants who, after graciously coming out to the woods for a weekend, have since come out with new books or first, done new activist work. So, despite my worries that the time lag would prove too problematic, I'm discovering that a year between process and publication has given us, collectively, time to do what we do such that some fascinating emergence comes with juxtaposing the two - the events and the forthcoming book. New books of note (or that come to mind & I'm sure there are others I am forgetting) come from Toscano, from Kristin Prevallet, from Zhang Er (her edited volume of translated contemporary Chinese poetry has been one of my main resources this year), from Jessica Baron, the Belladonna crew (happy 10th anniversary!), Lindsey Boldt, K. Lorraine Grahm, Mark Wallace, and a gorgeous set of cycles, soon (I am certain) to be collected as a full book, by Laura Elrick. Oh, and me - my bestseller.

Still hoping to hear from several participants - so if you are reading this, saying, "hey, I participated in PRESS & have not gotten an email solicitation for materials up to 15 pp" --- CONTACT ME. And SOON (by May 30), as this year's Recessionary PRESS literary conference will coincide with the anthology from last year's. And this year's, despite the economic crises, perhaps because of it, will be a fascinating focus on performative events - derive-esque work, spread out through the city of Olympia, and over a week - with Rob Halpern & the NONSITE COLLECTIVE starting us off. SO: contact me. Tracking you down is very difficult, especially when you are running from the law. Quite simply, you are difficult to locate. We at Wheelhouse do not condone the GPS tracking device. Not even Google maps, as useful as they are.

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