Friday, October 12, 2007
I have an announcement, and I have a question.
The announcement is that Michael Steven at Soapbox Press has just published my sequence of versions from Sappho in a limited edition of seventy signed chapbooks. It's called Papyri, and it's the second in a series which already includes his own first book of poems, Homage to Robert Creeley.
Further titles are promised later in the year ...
If you'd like to buy a copy, they're available in Parsons, Jason Books and Moa-hunter books, but they can also be ordered directly from the publisher at:
The question is, what's your opinion of single-author collections of essays?
Bronwyn says she thinks essays are better off jostling with other kinds of writing in a magazine or anthology.
Scott Hamilton, on the other hand, claims that unless our critical statements, manifestoes, reviews etc. are collected in some kind of permanent form, then literary discourse remains entirely in the hands - or between the covers - of the establishment.
I'd like to agree with him. I 've read plenty of interesting books of that sort by the likes of Leslie Fiedler (No! In Thunder) and George Steiner (Bluebeard's Castle), not to mention collections of tarted-up reviews by writers I admired for their poetry or fiction.
However, I do wonder how many essays can really survive transplantation from their original contexts? This especially applies to reviews, of course, but also to pieces written for a particular magazine at a particular time, to combat some particular injustice or misapprehension.
Anyway, what do you think? Do you think it would be useful if more essay collections came out in New Zealand? At the moment it's mainly Victoria University Press that issues them, and their list is generally reserved for big guns such as Wedde, Manhire and O'Brien ...