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.

No Single Kind of Discourse Will Be Believable By Itself: Talking to Susan Gevirtz

By Andy Fitch

This conversation focuses on Susan Gevirtz’s hybrid critical collection Coming Events. From her childhood experiences on the Universal Studios set, to her graduate-school assignment TA-ing for Norman O. Brown in UC-Santa Cruz’s History of Consciousness program, to her incisive editorial trajectory at HOW(ever), her pedagogical engagements at California College of the Arts, and her current residency at Headlands Center for the Arts, Gevirtz has participated within and helped to shape some of California’s most influential interdisciplinary institutions. As a result, it seemed only fitting for our discussion to track philosophical, scholarly, cinematic, novelistic, poetic, performative, and architectural concerns often within a single exchange. Gevirtz’s publications include Nightboat’s Hotel abc, as well as the poetry books Aerodrome Orion & Starry Messenger (Kelsey Street, 2010); Broadcast (Trafficker, 2009); Thrall (Post-Apollo, 2007); and Hourglass Transcripts (Burning Deck, 2001); and the critical study Narrative’s Journey: The Fiction and Film Writing of Dorothy Richardson (Peter Lang, 1996). Amid these ongoing omnivorous explorations, Coming Events’s deft assemblage of a wide-ranging inquiry, combined with Gevirtz’s lucid, generous, engaging live presence, couldn’t help but prompt constructive conversation. Continue reading

Already Intertwined: Talking to Daniel Borzutzky and Brenda Lozano About Lit & Luz

By Andy Fitch

This conversation focuses on Nightboat author Daniel Borzutzky’s work with novelist Brenda Lozano on organizing the 2017 Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art. Held each fall in the U.S. and each winter in Mexico, Lit & Luz offers a unique series of readings, conversations, performances, and multimedia presentations featuring renowned authors and visual artists from Chicago and Mexico City. From October 17th to 21st, more than a dozen Lit & Luz events will take place in Chicago galleries, college auditoriums, classrooms, bookstores, and museums. The festival will conclude with its “Live Magazine Extravaganza Show” finale at Co-Prosperity Sphere, featuring debut multimedia collaborations between the Mexico City-based and Chicago-based participants. This year’s festival theme of “Belonging” celebrates the richly diverse sustained interconnections of custom, community, and culture between Chicago and Mexico City. At the same time, “Belonging” poses questions about what it means to be excluded from a community, a city, and a nation.  Continue reading

Inextricably Interwoven: Talking to Brenda Iijima

By Andy Fitch

Amid a recent stretch of ominous, climate-change inflected environmental disasters, and amid an ongoing history of environmental imperialism intensifying the impact of such disasters upon communities of color, economically marginalized communities, and interspecies communities, it feels especially pertinent to return to Nightboat Books’s )((ECO (LANG) (UAGE (READER), edited by Brenda Iijima. Iijima’s public engagements occur at intersections of, and amid mutations of: poetry, animal studies, ecological sociology, histories of activism, and submerged social histories. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, and numerous chapbooks and artist’s books. Her most recent book, Remembering Animals, was published by Nightboat in 2016. Iijima is the editor of Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, located in Brooklyn. Continue reading

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