Friday, February 18, 2011

Simic's Prodigy hot off the press

Great News! We got our copies of Charles Simic's Prodigy from the printers yesterday, stitched them up, and started filling orders. We're particularly excited about this title because it showcases both the poetry of Simic and the "Prodigy Drawings" of Charles Seluzicki, a veteran fine-press publisher who has designed and printed several high-end, limited-edition books for some of the greatest poets of the 20th century. This book is limited to a run of 200, so don't miss your chance to add this volume to your poetry library!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Broadsides now available!

Our broadsides are now available for purchase exclusively through our website.

Yannis Ritsos, David Wevill, Paul Merchant, Greta Wrolstad, Gwyneth Lewis, Jo McDougall, Ferenc Juhász, W. S. Di Piero, Leonardo Sinisgalli, Joseph Millar...and more to come.

All of these broadsides are printed on 8.5" x 5.5" 80# cardstock. These full-color keepsakes feature the cover art (the handiwork of our own Cecilia Yang) and sample poem from each of our Tavern titles. The best part: they cost a mere $4. A set of all 8 can be purchased for $20. Cheers!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Lucania" by Leonardo Sinisgalli

Here's a glimpse into W. S. Di Piero's translation of Sinisgalli's Night of Shooting Stars. See "Lucania" below.


To the pilgrim crossing its frontiers,
coming down through the Alburni pass
or following the sheep path on the slopes of the Serra,
to the kite snapping the horizon line
with a snake in its claws, to the emigrant, to the soldier,
whoever comes back from refuge or exile or sleeps
in sheep pens, to the shepherd, sharecropper, salesman,
Lucania opens its parched plains,
its valleys where rivers crawl
like rivers of dust.

The spirit of silence spreads everywhere
in my grieving province. From Elea to Metaponto,
sophistical and golden, baffling and shy,
it drinks holy oil in churches, goes hooded
in houses, dresses like a monk in caves, grows
with grass on the outskirts of old crumbling villages.

The sun slanting on laurel, the good
bighorned sun, tongue of sweet light,
sun greedy for children, here in the piazzas!
It slogs along like an ox, on the grass
and stones it leaves enormous stains
swarming with ghosts.

Land of huge mamas, of fathers dark
and radiant as skeletons, overrun by roosters
and dogs, woods and limestone, lean
land where the grain toils miserably
(wheat, corn, semolina)
and the wine is dark and chewy
(mint from Agri, basil from the Basento!)
and olives taste of oblivion,
flavor of sorrow.

In tinderbox volcanic air
the trees weirdly pulse and breathe,
Oaks fatten with heaven’s essence.
Rubble lies untouched for centuries:
nobody dares overturn a stone, fearing the horror.
I know hell’s navel lies under every stone.
It takes a boy to lean over the edge
of the abyss and scoop nectar
from shoot-clusters swarming with mosquitoes
and tarantulas.

I’ll come back, alive under your red rain,
I’ll come back, guiltless, to beat the drum,
to tie my mule to the gate,
to catch snails in the garden.
Will I see the smoking stubble, the brushwood,
the ditches? Will I hear the blackbird singing
under the beds, and the cat
singing on the tombs?

--Leonardo Sinisgalli

Translated by W. S. Di Piero

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good press for Tavern author Gwyneth Lewis

Former National Poet of Wales and Tavern Books author Gwyneth Lewis received some stellar press for her recent collection, The Meat Tree (Seren Books, 2010). Here are some choice words from the Times Literary Supplement:

"The bar is set high but The Meat Tree, Gwyneth Lewis's gripping and intelligent exploration of the fourth branch of the Mabinogi, Blodeuwedd's tale, does not disappoint."

"Gwyneth Lewis's astute handling to time... enables her to combine the archetypal themes of myth with concerns that preoccupy our twenty-first century consciousness. Power, morality, man and nature, gender relations, art and reality, and above all, notions of separation and exile, heritage and loss, are refracted through the prism of a spatially and temporally distant future, constantly in motion against both our own present and the mythic Blodeuwedd past. These temporal shifts are matched by Lewis's fearless mixing of the modes of poetry, prose and drama in her quest to conjure a world that will resonate long after the tale has ended, in the reader's mind."

"The successful recreation of myth requires a wiliness that exceeds that of the original mythmakers, and Lewis patiently and skillfully demonstrates that willingness in presenting to her readers 'the battle between meat and magic, between body and imagination.'"

"'What kind of being does a virtual world create?' asks Gwyneth Lewis's Campion. 'If two negatives make a positive, then can two virutals make an actual? Have we just conjured up a person who's real? Or one who is death?' Such thoughtful probing of existential and artistic issues shows a significant respect for the challenge that the Seren project presents to its writers."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Broadsides coming soon!

We have just printed a limited run of broadsides from each of our Tavern authors. These 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 broadsides will be available for purchase through our website in the next few weeks.

Greta Wrolstad NOTES ON SEA & SHORE

We are pleased to announce that we'll soon be printing Greta Wrolstad's Notes on Sea & Shore. This long, sequential poem is an absolute stunner, and we can't wait to get it into the hands of its deserving readers.