Monday, August 13, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 48 (Jane Sprague)

The Port of Los Angeles
Sprague, Jane
The Port of Los Angeles

Given to me by the author. Inscribed:

To Mike–

For friendship
& endurance.

xox!
–Jane

I first met Jane at a conference in Ithaca she organized called, "Small Press Culture Workers." It was one of my all time favorite literary conferences. We gathered a small hotel conference room near the Cornell campus, where we spent the day showing each other our wares, conversing, talking shop.

A very small number of non-academic panels convened. Panelists talked about their presses, their philosophies, etc., in a very casual and entertaining way. Afterwards, we all went out to a bar, where everyone read their poems.

What was great about the conference was that it focused on the work of small press publishing, while also recognizing that almost all small press publishers are also poets. Jane's feat was managing to do this without having one thing overshadow the other.

I have been to other conferences where all the books and magazines are exiled to a nearly empty room, while "star" poets are flown in to give a reading, which they give with barely a mention of the presses in the empty adjacent room that are working to bring their work into the world.

Anyhow, that was a touchstone conference for me, for sure, and also the beginning of my friendship with Jane, a publisher and poet I greatly admire.

from The Port of Los Angeles

we arrived

the big empty

we follow yachts

the path of canals

we watch fires burn

Courtney Love tied down and thrashing

Michael Jackson's felt codpiece

this is the nightly news

this is the promised land

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