Category Archives: Press People

Since completing Sixty Morning Talks in 2013 (and seeing contemporary poetry increasingly shaped by political activism, social-media exchanges, performative affiliations of various sorts), I have sensed my reading practice shift away from an emphasis on individual texts and authors, towards an emphasis on collaborative literary communities. By focusing on Nightboat Books (respected for its heterodox output, both of new and reissued work, by a highly diversified array of authors), my recent literary interviews have examined the ongoing evolution of one progressive small press seeking to promote poetic plurality. Using Nightboat’s first 10 years as framing device for a comprehensive oral-history project, this “Press People” series has greatly expanded my sense of what might constitute a well-timed interview. Why should interviewers feel bound to discuss “new” (and presumably, for this reason, more exciting) books, especially within the noncommercial realm of poetry? Who actually picks what they want to read next that way? By Andy Fitch.

The Non-Expressible Part of Thinking: Talking to Etel Adnan

By Andy Fitch

This conversation focuses on Etel Adnan’s two-volume selected works To look at the sea is to become what one is: An Etel Adnan Reader and her more recent diptych SEA and FOG (winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry, and the California Book Award for Poetry). Just as Adnan’s work has spread widely across a range of artistic and intellectual practices (most consistently, perhaps, painting, poetry, journalism, philosophy), an adventurous and indefatigable disposition has taken her across the world many times over. Born in Beirut in 1925, Adnan studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, at UC-Berkeley, and at Harvard, and taught at Dominican College in San Rafael from 1958 to 1972. In solidarity with the Algerian War of Independence, Adnan began to resist the political implications of writing in French and became a painter. Through her participation in the movement against the Vietnam War, Adnan then began to write poetry and became, in her words, “an American poet.” Continue reading