Poetry isn’t the most popular genre out there. In fact, it’s not even close. So, what if a team of poets shoved themselves even further into the niche with political poetry? What about poetic activism, anarchism, socialism?
Welcome Commune Editions.
In an article published April 24, Publisher’s Weekly profiled the three poets Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover, and Juliana Spahr who “have bootstrapped Commune Editions, a publishing collective, with an assist from anarchist publishing and distribution house AK Press.” This team of poets has been collaborating for years. In their final collective post for online poetry Journal Jacket2, they defended their highly collaborative efforts with this: “We have gone to jail for each other and bailed each other out and done each other’s jobs and collaborated on many writings before and argued a lot with each [other] too.”
With this gritty, loyal foundation, Commune is set to launch three books this year, all self-published, with books by Cheena Marie Lo and David Lau slated for next year. Commune holds no pretense about their self-publishing. In Bernes’s words, “What we’re doing isn’t that different, though it is different in that we’re being honest about it.”
AK Press Fire. Courtesy of AK Press.
AK Press, whose mission is to “revolutionize by the book” will be the perfect support grounds for Commune’s publishing and distribution needs. After a fire two weeks ago, AK Press is currently crowdfunding to rebuild their distribution center in Oakland, CA. Please consider donating to get this boundary-pushing press back on its feet.
Françoise-Mouly, courtesy of GOOD Magazine
Last Monday, the art editor at the New Yorker and founder of TOON Books got a spot smack dab in the middle of GOOD Magazine. Françoise Mouly, whose relationship with comics began when she was learning English (she’s a native Frenchwoman), spoke with GOOD‘s associate editor Jed Oelbaum about kids, her 22-year stint with the New Yorker, and, of course, the incredible cultural and educational value of cartoons.
In the interview, Mouly explained that comics are important to build visual literacy, which is just as important in today’s image-driven media as word literacy. Quoting her husband, Art Spiegelman, Mouly said of the comic, “it’s a gateway to literature, as Art says, a gateway drug to reading.”
Reading is pleasure, and that’s Mouly’s entire philosophy behind TOON Books, and the captivating and playful titles that she continues to churn out. From Perdidos en NYC: una aventura en el metro by Nadja Spiegelman and illustrated by Sergio García Sánchez, to Stinky written and illustrated by Eleanor Davis, Mouly’s cartoon books are fun for children and adults, which is completely intentional: “I think it’s really important to acknowledge that both as children and adults, we are driven by a very simple pleasure principle. It has to be pleasurable to read. It has to have literary value, it has to be a good story, it has to have something where if you spend time with the pictures, it can convey a lot of meaning.”
- “Can science fiction be a form of social activism?” an article posted by Boing Boing on April 2 asked of Octavia’s Brood, “Walidah Imarisha [has] recruited everyone from LeVar Burton to Mumia Abu-Jamal to help her prove it.”
- Imarisha wrote an op-ed for the Spring 2015 issue of Bitch Magazine titled “Braver New World,” which was picked up by Truthout on March 7.
- The editors appeared on GRIT-TV/The Laura Flanders Show on April 20 to talk about the revolutionary potential of science fiction. The interview was aired on TeleSUR and will be broadcast on LinkTV tomorrow.
- On March 25, Largehearted Boy reported that WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn chose Octavia’s Brood as one of its books of the week.
- The anthology has been nominated for a 2015 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award, given to “science fiction and fantasy that explores and expands gender.”
Click here to read more about Octavia’s Brood!
John Knowles and Kurt Vonnegut are about to get some postmortem love. Last week, Brooklyn indie publisher Ig Publishing announced a new series called “Bookmarked,” which will feature Knowles’s A Separate Peace and Vonnegut’s The Slaughterhouse Five. The concept is for writers to create short books about works that inspired them. Think of it as expanded Oscar speeches, but for books.
The first two titles, John Knowles’ A Separate Peace: Bookmarked by Kirby Gann and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five: Bookmarked by Curtis Smith are slated for release March of 2016.
On April 17, Publishers Weekly interviewed Ig publisher Robert Lasner says, “it’s about how a book inspired [the writers] or turned out to be a stepping stone to some point in their lives.” The series will include titles by Stephen King and Christina Stead, written respectively by Aaron Burch and Paula Boma. In Lasner’s words, the series promises to be “a no-holds-barred personal narrative. . . . It can be a writer loving a book, or hating it after they’ve returned to it.”
The book trailer for After Abel and Other Stories was banned from Facebook for pornographic content, which we think is a little ridiculous since the video contains classical paintings of biblical characters as well as an endorsement from a rabbi.Yahoo! News, LAObserved, and TakePart thought the censorship level was outrageous as well and posted articles promoting the video. After Abel and Other Stories also received reviews from Booklist and Jewish Book Council, who said that the collection “will appeal to readers with even the most basic introduction to the Biblical canon, but especially to those whose imaginations are piqued by the mystery of an untold story.”
The Utah Review, an online arts and culture magazine, featured one of our amazing publishers, Torrey House Press, who is “fostering an intellectual climate behind the most critical aspects of today’s activism and advocacy in the American West.” The article details the support THP has received from independent booksellers and environmental groups, and the important transition from print-on-demand to Consortium Book Sales & Distribution. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1E6xPWT!
Learn more about Torrey House Press and the amazing literature they’re publishing.