Robin Russell (rrussell8) Sun 19 Dec 10 17:11
I'm heading out to see if WHS is available in Sydney.
Robin Russell (rrussell8) Sun 19 Dec 10 19:36
Answer: no, it is not yet available in Sydney.
Peter Conners (peterconners) Mon 20 Dec 10 11:04
You can order it directly from City Lights and they'll send it to you! http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100592520
Gail Williams (gail) Mon 20 Dec 10 12:20
I'm amazed that City Lights is still such a literary force. I was just at a rading there and learned that they are starting a new poetry publication project along with their other several going concerns. Does anybody have a theory as to why so many other literary institutions have folded and City Lights seems to be so vital?
For Rosetti, wombats held a peculiar fascination (loris) Mon 20 Dec 10 12:35
Ed Ward (captward) Mon 20 Dec 10 12:36
Maybe they've kept in touch with their customers through personal interaction? And were doing that ages earlier than other bookstores?
Peter Conners (peterconners) Mon 20 Dec 10 13:07
The combination of bookstore and publishing house along with a legendary backlist of titles (I'd wager that the annual sales of HOWL alone dwarf the combined sales of 99% of poetry publishers... and I say this as the Publisher of BOA Editions) have kept CL vital. They've also transitioned into nonfiction and political books which (as we all know) have more robust sales than poetry. That said, I was very happy to hear them reaffirm their commitment to their roots with the new City Lights Spotlight poetry series. And of course indie publishing and bookstores can only run with a staff dedicated to their mission - and I can say firsthand they've got a great team in the CL publishing office. Viva City Lights.
Peter Richardson (richardsonpete) Mon 20 Dec 10 14:38
Also a great location, they keep their costs down, and I think they own their building. And even CL's nonfiction titles don't reduce to "information." Which means that the publicity they get (and produce) isn't a close substitute for reading the book. Take Peter's book. As was noted earlier in the thread, Don Lattin's review claims that Peter "writes like a poet and researches like a scholar." The first part, especially, means that the reading experience is valuable.
Teleological dyslexic (ceder) Mon 20 Dec 10 22:00
I really like that quote!
Peter Conners (peterconners) Tue 21 Dec 10 07:49
Favorite quote from a book review. Ever.
Peter Richardson (richardsonpete) Tue 21 Dec 10 08:47
Peter, looks like we're coming down the home stretch--though, as you know, we can continue the conversation as pleasure dictates. If there's anything we didn't cover, please unlock your word hoard. And I'd love to hear about any projects you're planning or working on now.
Peter Conners (peterconners) Tue 21 Dec 10 10:34
Well, I'm around here - usually over at the Beat discussion group - so anyone can hit me there whenever. I'll keep posting info related to WHS here when appropriate too. As far as future projects, I've got two books in the pipeline now... one poetry and one new nonfiction book. The poetry book is called The Crows Were Laughing in their Trees. It's coming out in April, but just got a killer advanced review in Publishers Weekly yesterday. I'll post the review below because it gives a good taste of the book. My next nonfiction book will be published by Da Capo Press in fall 2013. It's called JAMerica. In short, it's an oral history of the jam band/festival/improvisational music scene. So for the next couple of years, I'll be running around the country interviewing musicians, fans, journalists, etc. and compiling that into an oral history narrative. I'm also working with a documentary filmmaker named Denver Miller to turn JAMerica into a documentary along the way. We already started with the Well's own David Gans and he gave us a great "shove in the right direction." If anyone has thoughts/suggestions/contacts for the JAMerica book, please let me know here or shoot me a note at email@example.com It's a very new project - in fact, I was just offered the book contract while this interview was going on! - so any input is appreciated. Here's the poetry review: The Crows Were Laughing in Their Trees Peter Conners, White Pine (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-935210-20-7 Fractured fairy tales, intellectual animals ("spider monkeys of tiny rebellion"), Kafka-derived anti-parables, and bracingly fast run-on sentences--somewhere between a mystical incantation and a nervous breakdown--come thick and fast in Conners's powerful new book of prose poems. In one tale of archetypes behaving badly, "Father delivers the woman's enemy to her doorstep while Mother makes a list of betrayals while Sister's mind is populated by the ghosts of wallflowers." Elsewhere, Conners offers a sweet love story, a set of rants, a handful of paragraphs that evoke archeology as well as political change and "repeating patterns sunk into the concave surface of the rock of the Mesoamerican Poets of the Zapotec of the Maya in Veracruz in my backyard." Conners (most recently author of The White Hand Society, a study of the friendship between Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg) presents no view of the cosmos nor a consistent outlook in these robust sentences--more like a set of lenses or takes on a dangerous, passion-soaked world, a world that will surely stick in the mind. Prose poems, very short fiction, hard-to-classify compact meditations are enjoying some time in the sun now, and Conners's new pages approach the best in the lot. (Apr.)
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 21 Dec 10 17:27
Wow, those projects both sound very cool. Thanks for the visit and for the tips on what's to come!
Peter Conners (peterconners) Tue 21 Dec 10 18:02
Sure thing, Gail! I also want to credit Steve Silberman with thinking up the title JAMerica. We were talking about the project at his apartment (while he was interviewing me for David Gans' show) and I told him I was struggling with the right title. For me, a title helps frame a project early in the process. I started free associating different elements of the project and Steve spontaneously came out with, "Jamerica." Perfecto. Thanks again, Steve!
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