December 29, 2010

X again?

Looks like Table X is returning to AWP, at least as an offsite...

The lineup has changed slightly this year, which makes me wonder how you get in, though like most things my gut says it's just friends and friends-of who have awesome presses.

I am seriously in love with most of the presses involved, but last year's "barricade" approach made my eyes roll. It's not clear yet if they'll cordon off at the bookfair in D.C. with trashbags or if the reading is just a convenient marketing throwback for recognition purposes. Because I love these presses so much and for other becauses, I'll get over it either way.

But still, seeing the event pop up in my newsfeed today brought up some questions which linger from Denver. Like, if Versal were asked "in" would I say yes? Should I applaud Table X for being explicit about in-crowd(edness)? Is it a "problem" that they have marked themselves "off" from the rest? Do I actually care? Or is the momentary throwback to the high school cafeteria just an annoying re-realization that this is how we congregate--posturing tall with our hands flat on our chests, pointing "me" and this is "us", hello to all of you.

Certainly they're not the first to do it at AWP, which like most of the world has its ins and outs and is, in and of itself, part of a larger machine that writers and presses may or can or do use to build their profiles. And even Versal is doing that, by being there in its own little unaffiliated way, and after just two years of attendance we've noticed a marked increase in submissions (and submission quality), sales, and subscriptions--so we'll keep going there. So that's another because, because we're all in this machine, in fact we make the machine, and it would be dishonest of me to condemn their efforts (though I think a little healthy criticism is ok)--which in the end are just ways to profile themselves and each other in a communal way.

In high school, I was an awkward and stressed out poet-slash-closet-lesbian who wore tie-dyes and fell in love with girls in the in-crowd. Now that that's all over, I apparently still have the habit of falling in love with things I perceive as in the in--which means I think I'm in the out, which is stupid.

Anyway, blah blah blog. Here's some kids having a lightsaber fight in their school cafeteria:

December 27, 2010

Beyond Times New Roman: The Literary Journal as Object

Join 1913 a journal of forms, 6x6, The Lumberyard Magazine, Ninth Letter, and Versal for this ridiculously beautiful AWP panel . . .

Thursday, February 3, 2011
4:30pm - 5:45pm
Nathan Hale room, Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Road NW
Washington, DC

From curatorial art teams to the hand-bound letterpress, to pages upon which art and words are nearly indistinguishable, the literary journal is so much more than paper and font choice. Attention to design will turn a journal into an art object that sets it apart from the masses. Editors from five innovative journals share concrete strategies for incorporating art and design: getting submissions, working with an art editor, and how to redesign the literary journal from scratch.

The literary journal as art object goes back at least to the Pre-Raphaelite The Germ, but the subtleties of art and design can be daunting to many literary editors. A journal that does not pay attention to good design practice lessens the pleasure of the reading experience and increases the perception that journals are mere vehicles for publication. This panel shows editors how to be sophisticated about art and design choices, and how it is possible without much added effort.

Sandra Doller, 1913 a journal of forms
Shayna Schapp, Versal
Jodee Stanley, Ninth Letter
Jen Woods, The Lumberyard Magazine
Matvei Yankelevich, 6x6

Travis Kurowski of Luna Park Review will moderate.

And stay tuned for news on our offsite event Thursday eve . . .

December 03, 2010

Congratulations to our 2010 Pushcart nominees!

The Versal editorial team has nominated the following pieces from Versal 8 for the next Pushcart round (does anyone else lose track of the years?):

The Sociology of Containers, Stacy Elaine Dacheux
Here is a Photograph of the City, Colleen Hollister
Aleatory Prayer of Gold Bees, Karen An-hwei Lee
Jugni, Kuzhali Manickavel
Dominoes — Opening, Daniele Pantano
Yellow Picnic, Brandon Shimoda

Congratulations to all of our nominees!

December 01, 2010

A shameless, self-promotional note from Megan who thinks this is really cool so she's blogging about it

The other week I received word that I had been selected as one of 50 "power Amsterdammers" by Time Out Amsterdam. This for my literary community work here, which has evolved since I moved to town in 2001. I haven't seen the write-up yet but I hope it's cool.

What's remarkable about this is just the recognition.
Our organization has struggled for years with the cultural black hole we find ourselves in, which has forced us to develop self-sustaining activities as a result of the border tendencies in (cultural) funding. So in recognizing my work, Time Out is actually recognizing all of the people who have worked with me over the years to build a supportive, inclusive and accessible international literary community without the funding to do so. And it's recognizing too the importance of that community for the city as a whole.

Indeed, as Poets & Writers wrote in its last issue, Versal is the most visible manifestation of all of that community. If we had all of the money and time in the world, we would do so much more. But as it is, we are doing a lot with very little, and I am so proud of us for our achievements. I inclu
de not only my fellow editors, but also all of the writers in and around the Netherlands, who connect into the international community and help us build and sustain it. Whether you're working alone in your attic or biweekly in a writing group, whether you're trekking from The Hague to get to a reading in Amsterdam or submitting your work to Versal, you have helped make our literary community one that is, simply, community. We're not waving flags about ourselves or dead-dropping manifestos, we're simply writing and working to write, and working with each other to write. It pretty much rocks buckets.

And to think it all started with this little flyer in 2002: