May 15, 2010

Versal is BOOM

or, notes from the Versal hoedown at my house today...

Since we don't have an office, everything goes down in our houses. Editorial meetings, mailouts, brainstorming sessions. Today we spent like 800 euros shipping copies of Versal around the world. Not like we have 800 euros but whatever, there's no cheap way to get them anywhere.

Jennifer and Anna are struggling over a little blurb about Versal as I type this. Shayna's surfing. Robert's trying to figure out how to get us a website that isn't built in frames. Sarah and Terri have left now but were variously here doing various things.

Is exciting better than vital
How do you pronounce "mileau" or "Eyjafjallajökull"
The loveboat
Online feedback forms
Peter Gizzi
You stay there
Do the
Why buy a copy of Versal
Maybe you need headlights

May 10, 2010

Versal 8 is here!

We are very excited to announce the arrival of Versal 8, our largest and most daring issue to date.

With new work from widely celebrated poets Chung Ho-seung, Laura Mullen and Brandon Shimoda, prose writers Kuzhali Manickavel and Selah Saterstrom, artists Michael Genovese and Kerri Rosenstein, and many many more.

Your support, buying a copy or a subscription, will help keep our little journal alive&well. We hope you'll consider:

May 09, 2010

Birthday wishes

I’ve just finished a visit with my 74-year old father and on leaving, had the curious feeling that I won’t see him again. This, coupled with being on the eve of the launch of Versal’s 8th issue (in fact the party in Amsterdam is probably just finishing up) I’m feeling retrospective.

Versal began in 2002, the same year the “war on terror” was launched. Now, I wasn’t there for the production of the first three issues of Versal, but I was in Europe in 2002. Seen from the lens of an ‘American’ in Europe, I watched as the US seemed to go crazy about weapons of mass destruction, European ‘obstinacy’ in the UN in relation to invading Iraq to pre-emptively strike a sovereign nation that, it turns out, didn’t have such weapons. Anger in the US was particularly strong towards France, with fries being renamed and wine being poured in gutters as protest.

Does all this have a point? Yes, indirectly. It shows the context in which Versal came to be in Amsterdam. It shows the place in which wordsinhere began a little literary journal to highlight work from around the world. Translocal Americans living outside the US, it felt to me at the time, weren’t infected with the insanity that seemed to spread over the US. For example, groups of people burned albums of the Dixie Chicks, a country western band, for speaking out against the tide of fear and war in which the US seemed enshrouded. It reminded me of what I’ve heard about McCarthyism in the US of the 1950s, or living in Germany or Italy during the second world war. Or the ultra-nationalism in the Balkans during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Examples are legion.

If a population goes crazy—for whatever reason—who is there to stand up for reason? If a government one day declares that two plus two equals five, and has primed people in the country through fear or coercion to believe it and silence those who say it equals four, where do the voices go that express two plus two equals four?

I’d like to think that voices of people who are outside the pockets of insanity could provide that voice of reason. Could provide, at the least, a plurality of viewpoints during periods of widespread hysteria and fear. I’d like to think that Versal is such a place: that in providing a forum for story, poetry and artwork from contributors around the world, it shows us the reader that—in this world at least—there are a multiplicity of voices, that hegemony bred from ignorance and fear need not dictate to the world.

Hmm, perhaps this entry doesn’t have a point after all. Perhaps I’m just musing about death and life, decay and birth, and celebrating eight years of Versal as well. Happy birthday, Versal.

May 06, 2010

Read poetry. Eat your vegetables.

Come drink Bloody Marys with us this Saturday!

Date: Saturday, May 8
Place: Nachttheater Sugar Factory; Lijnbaansgracht 238, Amsterdam
Time: 20.00; doors open 19:00
Entrance: 5 eur
Language: English

On Saturday, May 8, Versal will release its eighth edition, and we would love for you to be there.

Versal 8 is the largest issue of the journal to date. With widely celebrated poets like Chung Ho-seung, Laura Mullen and Brandon Shimoda, prose writers Kuzhali Manickavel and Selah Saterstrom, and artists Michael Genovese and Kerri Rosenstein, this issue once again breaks linguistic, national, and cultural borders to bring together the wide range of artistry happening in our contemporary milieu. Copies of the new edition, plus past issues, will be on sale courtesy of The English Bookshop.

Anna Arov (RUS/CAN)
Controllar (NL)
June Melby (USA)
Sarah Ream (UK)
DJ SawSeeSon (AUS/FR)
Mia You (USA)

And for the first time ever:

You get 2 minutes to strut your literary stuff. All forms of poetry and prose welcome. Sign up at the door. The winner will be chosen by the audience, and will receive a free drink and copy of Versal, past or present!

Not in NL? You can preorder now and get free shipping!

Only two days left to preorder Versal 8 and take advantage of our FREE SHIPPING offer. Just click on the link below to get your very own copy of Versal's biggest and best edition yet.

May 01, 2010