PUBLISHERS & AUTHORS
DANS LE MIROIR DES MOTS
In the Mirror of Words
Lucille Lang Day
EDITEUR & AUTEUR
EDITOR & AUTHOR
Authors I Have Published
and Editors Who Have Published Me
Author Profile: Judy Wells
Judy Wells was born in San Francisco, the great-granddaughter of Irish immigrant Edward Rodgers (McCrory), from Gortin, Co. Tyrone, and Letitia Kinney of Philadelphia. The Gortin roots remained strong in her family, and she grew up in an Irish-Catholic milieu in Martinez, California, the third of four children in a family that included three girls and one boy.
The first book published by my press, Scarlet Tanager Books, was Judy’s sixth poetry collection, Everything Irish (1999). Many of the poems chronicle her girlhood; others were inspired by Irish myths and her trips to Ireland with her husband, poet Dale Jensen. These poems have a strong narrative voice and display a rollicking sense of humor. About the book, Bridget Connelly, Emerita Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote, “Everything Irish is a hoot!…Judy Wells might as well hail from Limerick instead of California—her verses have such tightly-crafted, irreverent punch as she turns stereotypes of Irishness topsy-turvy!”
I also published Judy’s seventh poetry collection, Call Home (2005), which tells the story of her mother’s death at age ninety-two and the process of dismantling the family home with her three siblings. Poet and radio host Jack Foley, says, “If this sounds like a downer, it isn’t. Judy Wells’ deep love for her family and the enduring “rock” of her childhood keep her book alive with sentiment and gentle humor. Call Home is a novel of charm and heartstrings—except that it was written as verse.” Mary McCall, Professor of Psychology at Saint Mary’s College of California, says, “I cried as I read the poems in Call Home, both for their poignancy and how beautifully they captured the bittersweet experience of dealing with death, dying, letting go and moving on. I think the wonderful thing that Judy Wells has captured is the universality of the experience of losing a parent…”
Since Everything Irish and Call Home came out, Judy has published two books of poetry with other presses: Little Lulu Talks with Vincent Van Gogh (2007) and I Dream of Circus Characters: A Berkeley Chronicle (2010). Little Lulu is a testament to her irrepressible sense of humor. About I Dream of Circus Characters, I wrote: “With her inimitable humor, compassion, and ability to distill experience into moments of shimmering clarity, Judy Wells offers us a collection of poems alive with memorable characters with whom we can laugh and cry. From the man with 300 pianos to the woman who decorates her car with trash to the little girl who won’t tell her younger brother the truth about Santa and the tooth fairy “unless he asks,” the people in I Dream of Circus Characters: A Berkeley Chronicle, Wells’ ninth poetry collection, will become as real for you as your neighbors and as insistent as the figures in your own dreams.”
I met Judy in 1997, when my second poetry collection, Fire in the Garden, was published in the Muchos Somos poetry series of Mother’s Hen in Berkeley. The publisher, Louis Cuneo, gave me a copy of Judy’s The Calling: 20th Century Women Artists, another Muchos Somos title, which contains poems inspired by the work of Emily Carr, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and other artists. I felt an immediate affinity for Judy’s poetry. The opening section of Fire in the Garden contains poems inspired by paintings and sculptures, and the title poem is based on three paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe. It seemed that Judy and I were destined to know each other. I told Louis that I wanted to meet her and read together from our Mother’s Hen books. The reading took place at Cody’s Books in Berkeley, and Judy and I have been friends and colleagues ever since.
Author Profile: Naomi Ruth Lowinsky
Poet and Jungian analyst Naomi Ruth Lowinsky (http://www.sisterfrombelow.com) is a strikingly elegant woman whose beautiful scarves and shawls and flowing gowns on many an occasion have made me feel like someone who was just plucked out of the fields in her blue jeans or corduroy pants. The second time I met Naomi was in 1999 on the night that Scarlet Tanager author Judy Wells gave her inaugural reading from Everything Irish at a café in Oakland, California. Naomi read at the open mic following Judy’s reading, and I was stunned by the exquisite blending of autobiography, myth, and dream in her poetry. Naomi was in turn impressed by Judy’s always compelling and often humorous narrative poems about her Irish-American girlhood and trips to Ireland as an adult in search of her roots.
Naomi and I quickly discovered that we had first met in 1972 at a meeting of the Berkeley Poets’ Cooperative, a writers’ collective that both of us belonged to in the 1970s. We didn’t have much overlap there, alas. The last meeting that Naomi attended was one of my first.
The night of Judy’s reading, Naomi asked if my press was open to submissions, and I asked her to send 10 sample poems. She did so promptly, and I knew immediately that I wanted to publish red clay is talking, her first poetry collection. It came out from Scarlet Tanager in 2000. Poet Diane di Prima said about this book, “In Naomi Lowinsky’s consistent search for the Mother, the meaning of the feminine, we meet the Goddess in her many guises. This is a poetry of quest, and the poet takes us through myriad ages and cultures. We partake with her in ecstasy and darkness, passion, epiphany and hunger, and our world is larger for it.”
Red clay is talking was such a success that I did not want to stop there, and in 2005 I published Naomi’s second poetry collection, crimes of the dreamer, a book based on dreams that sprang from her own analysis and reveal paths into the unconscious. Venezuelan poet and writer Alicia Torres wrote, “Crimes of the dreamer is a jewel that takes us to an experience only great poetry mediates: the feeling that everything personal points beyond itself, and everything numinous belongs to the depth of the human soul.
Naomi has published four books with other presses, two of poetry and two of prose. The poetry books are her chapbook a maze (2004), and adagio & lamentation (2010), an autobiographical collection. Poet Jane Downs describes the latter book: “Naomi Ruth Lowinsky was born to parents who escaped Nazi Germany where many of her family perished. In adagio & lamentation, Lowinsky explores the abiding effects of this history on her family. The living move out of the darkness of the Holocaust to lives in America where the threads of loss and solace, past and present are intricately and forever woven together.”
Naomi’s prose books are also suffused with autobiography. These books are Stories from the Motherline: Reclaiming the Mother-Daughter Bond, Finding Our Feminine Souls (first published in 1992, reissued in 2009 as The Motherline: Every Woman’s Journey to Find Her Female Roots) and The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way (2009). In a review that appeared in Poetry Flash, I said, “The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way is a multi-faceted book. First, it is a book about becoming a poet, about summoning one’s muses. But it is much more than that: it’s also a memoir and family story, a book about coming to terms with the events and experiences of one’s life. Most broadly, it’s a book about self-realization, finding one’s deepest self, and discovering the connections between one’s life and the timeless realm of myths. For Lowinsky, this quest includes exploration of and learning to embody a feminist spirituality. Finally, for fans (and prospective fans!) of Lowinsky’s poetry, The Sister from Below discusses many of the poems from her two collections, red clay is talking and crimes of the dreamer, and her chapbook, a maze, and thus serves as a guide to her poems and their genesis.” The review concludes, “Who should read The Sister from Below? Poets, feminists, Jungians, seekers, artists of all kinds, people interested in alternative spirituality or engaged in the struggle to weave the threads of their own lives into a beautiful, coherent whole. It’s a unique and uplifting journey, an inspiring read.”
I will conclude now by adding that Naomi is not only someone with deep access to the realms of myth, dream, and poetry. She is also very much a woman of this world, the mother of a grown son and daughter by birth, as well as of a daughter adopted in India and three stepchildren from her second marriage. Moreover, she is a devoted grandmother and someone whom her friends and extended family can count on when life dumps snow on their tropical dreams.
Author Profile: Anne Coray
My first contact with Anne Coray (http://annecorayalaska.com/) was through the mail in 2004, when I found the manuscript for her first poetry collection, Bone Strings, in a pile of submissions and junk mail in my post office box. As soon as I got home, I started reading it. The opening poem, “To a Father, Lost” is about her father’s death when the small plane he was piloting crashed in water. The poem is neither sentimental nor angry, but clear-eyed, philosophical, and beautifully rendered. Subsequent poems entered the landscapes of Alaska, bringing them vividly to life and adding color and details to memories of my visit there in 2002 and also taking me far deeper into the forests, fields, and waterways than I had dared to venture. By the fifth poem I knew that this book deserved to be published. I had already accepted two books, however, to come out in 2005, and since Scarlet Tanager Books is a one-person operation, I felt that this was all I had sufficient time and funds to handle. I wrote back to Anne, saying that I loved her work, but also explained why I couldn’t publish the book. She responded promptly, offering to help by writing a grant proposal. How could I refuse?
Bone Strings came out in 2005. Poet and fiction writer Rosellen Brown wrote, “Anne Coray’s poems are deeply satisfying for their graceful combination of devotions, to the natural—animal/vegetable/mineral—and to the way nature resonates in us, the humans who live in a ‘sacred space.’ She is keenly observant, sensitive without swooning, and conveys both the loveliness and the brutality of her world in a complex and disciplined language.” John Haines, former Poet Laureate of Alaska, said, “Bone Strings contains some of the finest poems I have read by an Alaska poet in recent years. They are not the poems of a city visitor, but of a resident in the truest sense, one who can speak with a deep sense of place, of life lived and remembered in detail from day to day, season to season. The poems deserve many readers.”
Anne Coray was born in a log cabin on remote Qizhjeh Vena (Lake Clark) in Alaska, and she lives there today with her husband, author Steve Kahn. I had the pleasure of meeting Anne and Steve when they came to the San Francisco Bay Area for Anne’s Bone Strings book tour. Anne’s grace, sensitivity, and eloquence in person match those qualities of her poems so perfectly that one immediately knows that the voice of her poems is not a persona or literary construct: this is who she really is.
In the past year, Anne has published two additional poetry collections with other presses: Violet Transparent (2010) and A Measure’s Hush (2011). I reviewed Violet Transparent in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. My review begins: “Violet Transparent is a riveting collection of environmental poetry. Starting with the first poem, ‘Mirror of the Ages,’ Anne Coray identifies with all of Earth’s creatures—from sponges and reptiles to birds, predators, and prey—and suggests that such empathy is an important aspect of being human.” A Measure’s Hush contains meditations on death, fame, and visual art. Poet and editor Fred Moramarco said of this book, “Anne Coray’s poems are quiet epiphanies. She is at home writing about nature, art, mortality, history, and myth. Wind is her insistent metaphor—appropriately so for a poet who lives on a remote lakeside in southwest Alaska. She wants a language that can contain the wind, and often finds it—sometimes a gentle breeze, sometimes a tempestuous storm.”
In addition to being a poet, Anne is an editor. She co-edited Crosscurrents North: Alaskans on the Environment, a highly praised anthology that was published in 2008 by the University of Alaska Press. She is also the founder and editor of NorthShore Press (http://www.northshorepressalaska.com/) and has published poetry collections by Ohio poet Doug Ramspeck and such Alaskan luminaries as Mike Burwell and Gretchen Diemer.
Editor Profile: Gloria Mindock
Poet Gloria Mindock founded Červená Barva Press (www.cervenabarvapress.com) in West Somerville, Massachusetts, in April 2005. My relationship with her and the press started at the very beginning, when I entered my poetry chapbook manuscript, The Book of Answers, in the first Červená Barva chapbook contest. It was a finalist, and Gloria offered to publish it in 2007. Of course, I was thrilled. However, I was also in a quandary, because not long after I received Gloria’s letter, I received one from Leah Maines of Finishing Line Press, saying that she would like to publish the book in 2006.
I have been writing poetry since 1971, and I had never had two editors accept the same book at the same time. It was pretty much inconceivable to me that this might happen. What to do! I decided to go with Finishing Line, because they could bring the book out a year earlier, and I asked Gloria if she would consider publishing a different chapbook instead. I can imagine how many editors might justifiably respond to such a request, and it would not be, “Sure! Bring on the second manuscript!” It is a testament to Gloria’s flexibility and desire to support authors that she wrote back, “Sure, I’d be glad to look at it. Your work is wonderful. I can’t wait to read more.”
The manuscript I sent Gloria, God of the Jellyfish, came out in 2007, and I met her in the fall of that year when she invited me to read at the launch of her series at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, The two people who read with me, F.D. Reeve and Diana Der-Hovanessian, are both eminent poets. There was a wine and cheese reception afterward, and it was a well-attended, splendid occasion. Later Gloria and I and several others went out to a restaurant, and I began to get to know Glo, as she is known to her friends, on a more personal level as someone who radiates warmth, generosity, and love for the written word.
Since its founding, Červená Barva has already published 21 postcards, 29 books, 63 chapbooks, and 7 e-books, including my most recent full-length poetry collection, The Curvature of Blue, which was released in 2009. Gloria is extremely supportive of her authors and does a lot to promote the books, including announcing them on the Červená Barva website, sending out press releases, organizing author readings, and publishing author interviews on the website. Amazingly, she is also the Editor-in-Chief of Istanbul Literary Review, and she runs the press and edits the magazine while working as a social worker and counselor at CASPAR, an organization that helps alcohol and drug addicts recover and rebuild their lives. She is so busy that I once asked her when she finds time to sleep. She said, “I don’t. I’m an insomniac”!
Gloria has a special interest in Eastern European writing (“Červená Barva” means “red color” in Czech). Among the many fine writers she has published is Andrey Gritsman—a poet, essayist, translator, and physician who writes in English and his native Russian—whose poetry collection Live Landscape came out in 2010. About this book, poet Baron Wormser wrote, “Andrey Gritsman is quite literally a groundbreaking poet. From Moscow to New York is a steep distance but Gritsman makes us aware of the threads that link seemingly disparate occasions. Fresh perceptions create new styles and Gritsman’s is more than a synthesis of two cultures: it is an art that probes delusions and pleasures by a poet who has been around some daunting blocks.”
It is difficult to single out memorable books and authors published by Červená Barva, simply because there are so many, but I will mention one more author, Susan Tepper, who writes poetry, short fiction, essays, and novels. She has published two chapbooks, one poetry and one prose, with Červená Barva. In addition, she is the editor of a Červená Barva anthology entitled Valentine Day Massacre and co-author, with Gary Percesepe, of the Červená Barva novel What May Have Been: Letters of Jackson Pollock and Dori G. The novel unfolds in letters exchanged between Pollock and a fictional lover. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler said of this book, “In this extraordinary novel, Pollock tells his lover that things like paint and wives are very small in the scheme of things. Gary Percesepe and Susan Tepper show how the great scheme of things is, in fact, in literary art, captured in paint and wives and a Montauk surf and a silky scarf and narrow hips and a cold water flat and a used Ford. Brilliantly conceived, brilliantly executed, this is a stunning book about art and about life.”
Gloria Mindock and I are now friends as well as colleagues. We have chatted over tea, walked through Boston Common together, and talked about writers we like, publishing, and our own work and lives. Someday, we hope to visit Walden Pond together, and I look forward to spending that day and many others with Glo.
Editor Profile: Leah Maines
Leah Maines, an award-winning poet and former Poet-in-Residence at Northern Kentucky University, has been the Senior Editor of Finishing Line Press (www.finishinglinepress.com) since 2002. I would also say that she is the heart and soul of Finishing Line. Before I had any contact with Leah, I encountered some of the beautiful chapbooks that she has edited and published. Checking my bookshelves before writing this profile, I found ten Finishing Line books. No wonder, considering that she has edited more than 600 titles, both chapbooks and full-length collections.
The first time I saw a Finishing Line book was in 2005, when I heard Prartho Sereno read from her chapbook Garden Sutra at Cody’s Books in Berkeley. Poet Jane Hirshfield wrote about this book, “Poem after poem in Garden Sutra enters the sensual world of shared experience, singing their precise praises of dahlia and dragonfly, of peanut butter sandwiches and drizzle. Yet this is above all a poetry of openings, and so each poem goes further still, into the realms of insight and grace that can only appear when lushly liberated language and the wisdom-seeking mind come together.” Not only is the poetry first-rate, but the book is elegantly produced, with attractive, textured cover paper, a watercolor by the author on the cover, marbled endpapers, and a silk ribbon on the spine.
That same year, Anne Coray, whose first full-length poetry collection I published, gave me a copy of her Finishing Line chapbook, Soon the Wind, which came out in 2004. As soon as I saw the book, even before I looked at the title page, I knew it came from the same place as Garden Sutra, because it too had that distinctive look that included a gorgeous cover, endpapers, and a ribbon on the spine. Also like Garden Sutra, it was highly praised for its poetry. Paul Roth, editor of The Bitter Oleander, said, “Reading Coray’s poems in Soon the Wind, one immediately feels her reconciliation of deep and oftentimes contrary emotions through a precise and nature based imagery. Not only does she see things as they are, but also the movements of the shadows of these things, as if nothing were taken for granted, and all were phenomenally alive.”
Although I already had one chapbook and four full-length collections of my own poetry in print, I felt a twinge of jealousy when I saw these two chapbooks. I too wanted to have a beautiful chapbook from Finishing Line! So I submitted my chapbook manuscript, The Book of Answers, and my interaction with Leah Maines began when she accepted it. It was a pleasure to work with her. Her author contract is fair and professional, and she gives poets a lot of say in the look of their books by allowing them to select the cover art and paper. She also helps ensure an audience for the books by advertising them on the Finishing Line website and designing attractive book-announcement postcards for Finishing Line and the authors to send out. Although I haven’t met Leah in person, I feel that in the process of working on my book together, we became friends. The Book of Answers came out in 2006.
I will mention two more Finishing Line chapbooks in my collection: Remembering the Walker and Wheelchair: Poems of Grief and Healing, by Eva M. Schlesinger; and Analog House, by Susan Gubernat. Remembering the Walk and Wheelchair tells the story of Schlesinger’s pain and ultimate healing after she suffered third-degree burns in an explosion. Linda Watanabe McFerrin said, “Eva Schlesinger’s poems track a courageous journey. Terribly injured in an explosion, she fights her way back to physical and mental equilibrium. An inspiring read.” Analog House takes the reader to Gubernat’s childhood home, evoking time, place, and emotions through tightly crafted poems that focus on objects. Penelope Scambly Schott said, “Like the Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities, Analog House holds evocative treasures. This skillful collection of sonnets imbues physical objects with emotional weight. The final poem about an Underwood typewriter burns on the page.”
Poets and readers are fortunate indeed to have Leah Maines usher books such as these into the world. Finishing Line books have won many prizes, including the San Diego Book Award, the Appalachian Book of the Year Award for Poetry, and the Paul Green Multimedia Award, and I’m sure they will win many more.
Editor Profile: Susan Terris
I first met Susan Terris (www.susanterris.com), poet and editor extraordinaire, in 2002 when she attended a poetry reading I took part in at New College of California in San Francisco. At that time, with CB Follett, Susan was co-editor of RUNES, a gorgeous annual journal/anthology of poems on selected themes. RUNES, which was published by Arctos Press from 2001 through 2007, was highly and widely praised. Literary Magazine Review reported, “RUNES is a truly superb journal of poetry. The editors take care in selecting poems, and the result is great issues of great poetry thoughtfully placed. There are well-established poets alongside new voices, and this is always a very significant and positive aspect to any literary journal…” Poet Molly Peacock said, “I received my copy of RUNES, and with no time to do so, sat down in spite of myself because the magazine was so compelling. I just love it.… The sequential arrangement is exquisite, and the voices all utterly individual. I wasn’t bored for a minute, which is the height of my praise-o-meter for literary magazines.”
Since taking over as editor of Spillway (http://tebotbach.org/spillway.html) in 2010, Susan, who grew up in St. Louis and now lives in San Francisco, has been carrying on the tradition of RUNES. Spillway, published by Tebot Bach, is a semi-annual, themed poetry journal. Like RUNES, it is garnering praise. Poet Robert Aquinas McNally wrote, “First RUNES, now Spillway. It’s superb. Sometime you’ll have to explain to me your great editorial eye and ear. However you do it, it works.” Suze Baron liked Susan’s first issue of Spillway so much that she read it four times. Baron wrote, “How I read Spillway: (a) I opened pages at random to read; the poems splashed on my face each time; (b) I sat and read Spillway from cover to cover; (c) I returned a third time and checked the Biographies of Contributors after the reading of each poem; (d) I read the Biographies of Contributors then looked for the poems.… Thank you, Susan Terris, for a prize of a literary magazine.”
Susan also serves as a poetry editor for two online magazines, The Pedestal (http://www.thepedestalmagazine.com) and In Posse Review (http://inpossereview.com), does freelance editing of book-length poetry manuscripts, teaches workshops on the chapbook, and, with CB Follett, hosts and coordinates weekend poetry workshops taught by David St. John. Watching her in action at the St. John workshops, I am always amazed and delighted by her perceptive criticism. “I try to be really respectful,” she says of her editing approach. “You can’t teach someone to write. But you can help them with the mistakes they make. Most of us make the same mistakes over and over again.” She has a great gift for selecting excellent poetry, creating meaningful arrangements of poems in journals and books, and critiquing poems that aren’t quite there yet.
She is a widely published poet herself, with six books to her credit. Recently, she was both a contributor to and the primary editor of Chapter & Verse: Poems of Jewish Identity (Conflux Press, 2011), a collection of poems by ten Jewish poets from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her father’s Polish Jewish family and her mother’s German Jewish family emigrated to the United States in the 1880s, and Jewish history, culture, and experience play an important role in her work.
About Chapter & Verse, Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D., wrote, “Carl Sandburg provides an elegant description of lyric compositions like the ones found in Chapter & Verse: ‘A poem is like an echo asking a shadow to dance.’ This rich volume, a pastiche of the dance steps that post-modern Jews engage in with sacred texts, modern culture and ancient traditions, tugs at the hearts and minds of the reader, inviting them to an invigorating and entrancing ball.” The other contributors to Chapter & Verse are Dan Bellm, Rose Black, Chana Bloch, Rafaella Del Bourgo, Margaret Kaufman, Jacqueline Kudler, Melanie Maier, Murray Silverstein, and Sim Warkov.
Before turning her attention to writing and editing poetry, Susan wrote for children and young adults and had 21 books published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, Macmillan, Scholastic, and Doubleday. But her life is not all writing and literature. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and kayaking, and is the grandmother of twelve.
Author Profile: Jack Foley
Jack Foley (www.jack-adellefoley.com/) is a literary jack-of-all-trades, master of all: poet, critic, historian, editor, translator, performance artist, and radio show host. As a poet, he is best known for his innovative poems for multiple voices and has been called a one-man literary movement. Indeed, Jack is such a prolific writer that no other members are necessary to sustain this movement. He and his wife, Adelle Foley, are popular performers on the San Francisco Bay Area reading circuit. In addition to performing Jack’s multiple-voice poems with him, Adelle recites her own haiku.
Jack is a contributing editor of the Berkeley journal Poetry Flash and the author of five poetry collections and three books of literary criticism. For many years he has also written a column, “Foley’s Books,” in The Alsop Review, and he is the editor of ALL: A James Broughton Reader (White Crane Books, Wisdom Series, 2006) and The “Fallen Western Star” Wars, which I published in 2002. Most of his books are accompanied by an audiotape or CD, and he might be the only author of a book of critical essays to include a CD on which he (and his wife) perform some of the pieces.
Jack’s oeuvre includes a small book of translations of the great French singer-songwriter, Georges Brassens. Poet Adrienne Rich wrote, “I’m grateful for all you do, but especially your introducing Georges Brassens to new listeners.” According to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the translations made “a great fusion of Parigot lingo and Amurrican idiom. Bravo!”
One of Jack’s most recent projects is historical: two volumes entitled Visions & Affiliations, A California Literary Timeline: Poets and Poetry, 1940-2005 (Pantograph Press, 2011). Another recent project is Sketches Poetical, a collaboration in which Jack’s poems about literary artists are paired with sketches of them by nonagenarian artist Helen Breger. The title Sketches Poetical is a turn-around of the title of William Blake's first book, Poetical Sketches.
I became aware of Jack’s work as a poet and editor in the early 1990s, when I submitted my work to Poetry USA, a magazine that he was then editing. He accepted one of my poems, but, alas, the magazine folded before it came out. Nevertheless, Jack and I started attending each other’s readings and following each other’s work.
When Jack proposed editing a book of responses, both positive and negative, to Dana Gioia’s provocative essay, “Fallen Western Star: The Decline of San Francisco As a Literary Region,” I knew I wanted to publish it. Prominent California literati had been quick to defend the San Francisco Scene and wrote articles attacking Gioia. Others wrote articles attacking the attackers. I loved the idea of giving everyone his or her say in a single book, and in The “Fallen Western Star” Wars,” Jack pulled together the whole exhilarating, sometimes hilarious exchange, including his own essay “The Black Hole of Criticism.”
Visions & Affiliations, whose two volumes run to more than 1,200 pages, is an extraordinary piece of scholarship that took Jack about ten years to research and write. Poet Jerome Rothenberg responded, “This is absolutely stunning, overwhelming…so much so that I hardly know where to begin or how to end…probably never. I expect that I’ll continue to pore through this for years to come,” and poet Andrew Joron said, “What a towering inferno of a project. Your timeline brings home the fact that the creative ferment in this period, in this place, rivals any world-changing cultural conjuncture (such as occurred in Paris, Berlin, London, New York…) in modern times.”
Jack and Adelle live in Oakland, California. Their son Sean, an Assistant Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University, specializes in the Middle East and religious and political trends in the broader Islamic world.
Author Profile: Zack Rogow
Zack Rogow’s accomplishments are many. He is the author, editor or translator of eighteen books and plays, including six collections of poetry, three anthologies, four volumes of translation, and a children's book. Twice he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry. One of his plays, La Vie en Noir: The Art and Life of Léopold Sédar Senghor, was performed in San Francisco by the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre.
He is the editor of a recent anthology of U.S. poetry, The Face of Poetry, published by University of California Press, and the editor of two volumes of TWO LINES: World Writing in Translation, distributed by University of Washington Press. His translations of George Sand, Colette, and André Breton have won numerous awards, including the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Award and the Northern California Book Award in Translation. His children's book, Oranges, was a Junior Library Guild Book-of-the-Month. I first met Zack in 2003 when I heard him read in San Francisco. That night I bought his chapbook, Zack Rogow Greatest Hits, 1979 – 2001 (Pudding House, 2002), and I was smitten by his poetry. The next time I saw him we met for lunch, and he told me an amazing love story that was the subject of his in-progress poetry manuscript The Number Before Infinity, his sixth poetry collection, and I thought I would be nuts not to want to publish this book.
The Number Before Infinity came out from Scarlet Tanager Books in 2008. It reads like a novel or memoir in verse. Each poem is a chapter in the story of two lovers united by passion but separated by previous commitments. In lyrical, accessible poetry, the book follows the lovers as they choose between their deepening connection and their existing loyalties. Poet Cornelius Eady said, “Reading Zack Rogow’s The Number Before Infinity, I was reminded of young Neruda’s love poems; here is that passion, tempered and informed by the briars and grace of marriage and family. Bravo Love. Bravo Poetry.” Poet Bill Zavatsky wrote, “Very few poets have the courage to open themselves as fully as Zack Rogow does as he pours out, in passionate poetry, the story of a love affair and the family fallout it radiates. These poems are hot, honest, propelled by the skill of a first-rate worker in words to serve what William Carlos Williams said poetry was all about—feeling. Any reader who opens this extraordinary book and begins reading won’t put it down. That’s a guarantee.”
Zack is the devoted father of two daughters and a son. He currently teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and at the University of Alaska. He has also taught in the writing programs at the University of San Francisco and at San Francisco State University.
Editor Profile: Charles Entrekin
Gail Rudd Entrekin
In 1969 Charles Entrekin (www.charlesentrekin.com) cofounded the Berkeley Poets’ Cooperative, an organization that held free poetry workshops on Wednesday nights at his house on Oregon Street in Berkeley. I met him when I started attending the workshops in 1972. The Co-op published a magazine, as well as chapbooks by individual authors, under the imprint Berkeley Poets’ Workshop and Press (BPW&P), and Charles served as managing editor. When Gail Rudd (www.gailruddentrekin.com) appeared on the scene in 1981, she took over production responsibility for the magazine and chapbooks. Many of my early poems appeared in Berkeley Poets’ Cooperative magazine, and BPW&P published my first poetry collection in 1982.
Charles and Gail married in 1986, had a son and a daughter, and raised them in Nevada City, a town in the Sierra foothills, as part of a large family that included their three sons from previous marriages. To support the family, Charles founded and ran several computer software companies, and Gail taught English and creative writing at community colleges. They moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007.
Today the Entrekins run Hip Pocket Press (www.hippocketpress.org), which has published anthologies, as well as books by such authors as Thomas Farber and Molly Fisk. Charles is the managing editor of the press, and Gail is the poetry editor. Here is their mission statement: “It is our belief that the arts are the embodiment of the soul of a culture, that the promotion of writers and artists is essential if our current culture, with its emphasis on television and provocative outcomes, is to have a chance to develop that inner voice and ear that expresses and listens to beauty. Toward that end, Hip Pocket Press will search out those undiscovered poets and writers whose voices can give us a clearer understanding of ourselves and of the culture which defines us.”
In addition to being the bedrock of Hip Pocket Press, Charles and Gail both edit online literary magazines. Gail’s magazine, Canary (www.hippocketpress.org/canary), publishes poetry on the worldwide environmental crisis: pollution, global warming, and losses of species and habitats. Charles’ magazine, Sisyphus (www.hippocketpress.org/sisyphus.php), focuses on contemporary issues surrounding art, culture, and language.
Both Charles and Gail are highly praised, widely published writers themselves. Charles is the author of five poetry and prose collections, including Listening: New & Selected Work (Poetic Matrix Press, 2010), as well as a novel, Red Mountain: Birmingham, Alabama, 1965 (El León Literary Arts, 2008). About Red Mountain, Sands Hall, author of Catching Heaven, wrote, “Charles Entrekin writes with an unflinching yet poetic eye, exploring the parallel courses of a nation and a young man forced into maturity. As America's South is plunged into racial insanity, Eddie Anderson must grow beyond the confines of his narrow upbringing; his coming of age includes the tragic descent into madness of his beloved wife. A gripping and enlightening read from someone who lived and breathed and wrote his way through one of America's most tumultuous times.”
Gail is the author of three poetry collections, John Danced (BPW&P, 1988), You Notice the Body (Book 1, New California Voices Series, 1998), and Change (will do you good) (Poetic Matrix Press, 2005). In praise of Change, poet and critic Alicia Suskin Ostriker said, “Never the same river twice, and life keeps moving on. These are the truths that Change celebrates, mourns, puzzles over, and explores in language that is so accurately beautiful, and so beautifully accurate, that it leaps off the page. Once again, Gail Rudd Entrekin digs into reality and comes up with glory.”
Lucille Lang Day (http://lucillelangday.com), is the author of a children's book, Chain Letter, and eight poetry collections and chapbooks: The Curvature of Blue, God of the Jellyfish, The Book of Answers, Infinities, Lucille Lang Day’s Greatest Hits 1975-2000, Wild One, Fire in the Garden, and Self-Portrait with Hand Microscope, which received the Joseph Henry Jackson Award in Literature. Her memoir, Married at Fourteen, will be published by Heyday in 2012, and her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including The Atlanta Review, Calyx, The Hudson Review, River Oak Review, River Styx, RUNES: A Review of Poetry, Tar River Poetry, The Threepenny Review, September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond (Etruscan), and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Heyday).
She received her M.A. in English and M.F.A. in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and her M.A. in zoology and Ph.D. in science and mathematics education at the University of California at Berkeley. The founder and director of a small press, Scarlet Tanager Books (http://www.scarlettanager.com), for 17 years she also served as the director of the Hall of Health, an interactive children's museum in Berkeley. She has two grown daughters and four grandchildren, and lives in Oakland, California, with her husband, writer Richard Levine.