This is Shanna Compton's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Shanna Compton's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Shanna Compton
Recent Activity
As readers of this blog surely know, there's a lot going on this month, poetrywise. I'm among the folks who find this exhiliarating, instead of somehow annoying or overwhelming. The bursting forth of poems in every nook and cranny of the internet (and bookstores, libraries, classrooms, radio) smashes through the last of my winter slumpiness as effectively as the first bright smears of forsythia when they pop. Come on, yellow! I need you. One of the things I'm most looking foward to this month is the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair. Smaller than the AWP Bookfair (in a good way) and more DIY- and book-arts-focused than many regional literary fairs, the BSPBF is a dreamy way to spend a weekend if you're a poet, book artist, or collector of the works of either. Last year was my first visit, and I've already decided I'll keep going as long as the Fair keeps happening. More than 100 small presses and book artists, free workshops, a documentary screening, readings, all for free? Absolutely I'll drive six hours to reach that. I interviewed (the very busy) Christopher Fritton, organizer of the BSPBF and Studio Director of the Western New York Book Arts Center, for a little context about this year's fair. Last year's opening night reception at the Western New York Book Arts Center included catering by local publisher & chef Geoffrey Gatza. Artwork by Chris Fritton. Shanna Compton: The BSPBF is in its eighth year, which means the first Fair was in 2007, right? What was that first year like, compared to its size and scope now? Did the idea for the book fair come together spontaneously at that time, or was it something you'd been thinking about for a while? Christopher Fritton: The first BSPBF was in March of 2007; the very first year we had 65 vendors from around the Great Lakes region, and there were 600–800 attendees. Since that time, the Fair has grown into a national event with participants from all over the Northeast, Midwest, Great Lakes, Midcoast, and Southern Ontario, and Quebec. In 2013, the Fair boasted 127 vendors and about 4,500 attendees over two days. The Fair was originally one day, but its growth really required that we expand its scope. I’d been doing zine and book fairs in NYC and Toronto since the late 90s. When I moved back to Buffalo in 2005 after being at the University of Maine at Orono, I got together with my friend Kevin Thurston, and we began roughing out the plans for doing a similar event in Buffalo. I’d always thought it was strange that we didn’t have a large-scale literary event in Buffalo, because we have such a rich literary history. Our city is steeped in DIY culture as well, so to focus on small press and handmade artist’s books seemed to be the way to go. I’d had the idea since around 2003. Kevin stayed on as an organizer for a couple years before moving to Baltimore,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
On a road trip about a decade ago, my spouse and I pulled our rental car over just south of Kerby, Oregon, along the Redwood Highway. We made a U-turn. Nobody spoke for a few minutes, as we made our way back. "What the heck is a burl?" "I'm not sure." We pulled into the gravel parking lot, already crowded with a bus and a dozen other cars, to park across from the yellow sign that had caught our attention: YES…IT'S A BURL! Indeed that turned out to be true. Pretty much everything in this bizarre little store called It's a Burl was, or had been, a burl. See, a burl is a weird outgrowth on a tree, a bulbous or knotty place where the tree grows against its own grain. Burls are highly sought after (I read in Wikipedia) by woodcarvers and furniture makers, for their peculiar characteristics, their beauty, and rarity. They are supposedly best suited to hand carving, because machine work is difficult, thanks to the way the grain is twisted and interlocked. < This is a burl. That was a good trip. We didn't buy anything, but we saw a bunch of funky stuff. Stuff that the woodworker owner had created with some mystical burl-transforming eye he'd cultivated, or been born with. Oddly winding torsos and elvish faces. Chairs with so many legs they were sort of creepy. Mirrors, bowls, dolphins, owls, benches, boxes, mermaids, pipes. All handmade, and unlikely to resemble anything anywhere else. < This is Berl's. I don't know the story behind the name of Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop. Presumably it has nothing to do with odd knobby wood. As the name does suggest, Berl's is a bookstore in Brooklyn. It's owned by poets Farrah Field and Jared White, who have probably been asked at least fourteen times if it's 'really a smart idea to open a niche bookstore, because, you know, Borders died.' (See the interviews with them in Publishers Weekly and Brooklyn Magazine.) But Berl's is not a typical bookstore. It's a weird outgrowth. The handmade and micropress poetry you'll find there is not likely to be found (all in one place, anyway) elsewhere. At Berl's each object is prized for its peculiar characteristics, its beauty, its rarity. The chapbook, which most bookstores won't even stock, gets face-out digs along spacious display shelves. The tiny-press poetry collection gets a handmade stand on a table. It's a gallery, a chapel, an experience. Nobody at Berl's cares about Nielsen BookScan or UPC codes or how big your print run is. At Berl's poetry is all. Farrah and Jared started Berl's as a pop-up, at the Brooklyn Flea, but always thought maybe someday they'd move into a permanent space. And now they have. How lucky is Brooklyn? Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop 126A Front Street DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (347) 687-2375 Hours & directions Facebook Twitter: @berlspoetry They're throwing a GRAND OPENING shindig on Saturday, November 2, with readings by Latasha N Nevada Diggs, Julian... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks, Emily! I'll have to check out Vine and will follow on Twitter.
National Poetry Month begins tomorrow, as readers of this blog surely know. It's also the tenth year of NaPoWriMo, during which millions (OK maybe hundreds) of poets attempt to write a poem every day during the month of April. Maureen Thorson started NaPoWriMo as a personal challenge, on her blog, back in 2003. (That's how we met: I read along as she posted that first year, and the next year joined her, as did several other folks.) And it's grown from there, unofficially, wildly, rhizomatically. I'll be posting my daily drafts at the Bloof blog, along with Bloof poets Danielle Pafunda, Sandra Simonds, Elisabeth Workman, Becca Klaver, Pattie McCarthy, Jared White, Kirsten Kaschock and Peter Davis. Catie Rosemurgy will also be joining the party. Some of us will be disappearing our drafts after 24-hours, so catch 'em while you can! You'll find hundreds of other participants at the main NaPoWriMo site. And if you're up for this challenge yourself, you can add your site here. We'll also be celebrating at the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair, founded by poet/printer Christopher Fritton. If you're within driving distance of the Karpeles Manuscript Library in Buffalo, start packing, because this year's fair looks amazing: readings and musical performances each night (starting Thursday, April 4), 150+ vendors at the book fair showing off their small press wares, book arts workshops, and more! And it's all free. Each of the associated events has its own Facebook page with more details, but here's the handy master schedule. If you spot me at the bookfair or this afterparty reading Saturday night, be sure to come say hi. (I'll be reading poems by Jennifer L. Knox and Peter Davis, as well as a few of my own.) To get ready for the bookfair, we're currently finishing up the last 20 copies of Jared White's This Is What It Is Like to Be Loved By Me and making the very first copies of Becca Klaver's Nonstop Pop. We also have a few remaining copies of Hailey Higdon's Packing, the first chapbook in our 2012-2013 handmade series, so we're bringing those too, along with all of our paperback titles. Also daily in April on the internetz, Sarah Blake Schoenholtz will be hosting the second annual NPM Daily series of mini essays on all things poetic, with pieces promised by Kimiko Hahn, Cornelius Eady, Susan Wheeler, Tracy Brimhall, Oliver de la Paz, Janet Holmes, Noah Eli Gordon, Ada Limón, and many more. So point your browsers there too. There are readings everywhere, too many to list, but the Academy of American Poets calendar is a good place to look for them, and certainly if you're in Boston or New York the Best of the Best American Poetry celebrations on April 4th and 11th are not to be missed. Enjoy! Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
New Release Bundle Our two newest releases, together. $20 + shipping $14.00 + free shipping Chapbook Subscription* All 6 chapbooks from our 2012 Open Reading Period. $45 + shipping $35 + free shipping The Whole Shebang Subscription* ** All 4 books + all 6 chapbooks in 2012-2013! $105 + shipping $75 + free shipping Bloof Bundles of 2, 3, or 4 Books of your choice! Multiple books for quantity discounts. Choose from any currently available paperbacks in our catalog. 2 books $30 + shipping $25 + shipping 3 books $45 + shipping $33 + shipping 4 books $60 + shipping $40 + shipping Currently available books ship now, and the rest throughout 2013. If your order is a gift, we can send an e-card to the recipient on request. * Because the chapbooks are limited to editions of 100, subscriptions including chapbooks may sell out. ** Yes, if you ordered Brink during our preoder sale, you may replace it with another paperback of your choice. Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Hi Michael! Just read your post too—good stuff. Thanks for letting me pop into your week. (That'll be my only pop. ;))
On vacation this August, I picked up a copy of Dean Young’s The Art of Recklessness, a book-length essay in which Young argues that “Civilization makes us ill,” by its repressions. His antidote? Art. And art is most meaningful, he suggests, when it undoes the civilizing effects of socialization. Poetry is best (most affective/emotive/imaginative) when it’s reckless, wild, receptive—not disciplined or finely crafted. “Poetry is when the animal bursts forth, inflamed. It ain’t always pretty.” It’s a good essay. But I still haven’t finished it. Because once he started talking about which artists he felt were sufficiently, amieloratively reckless, I couldn’t help laying aside the essay to go and find something of theirs to read (or look at): de Kooning, Stevens, Breton, Mallarmé, Ashbery, Keats, Rikyu, Picasso, Barthes, Duchamp, Verlaine, Whitman, Archilochus, Joyce Mansour. Who? Here was the first figure whose name I didn’t recognize immediately—and also the first woman I’d noticed, (up to this point, only p. 22, and there are many others later). “I’m struck not so much by a power of evasion to prolong desire or with language’s inadequacy to refer so much as [I am struck by language’s] overabundance and adequacy,” Young writes. He pointed, I went looking. It helped that he specified a title, “In the Gloom on the Left,” and quoted the first line: “Why my legs around your neck.” Laying the book aside, I hit the Google on my phone without having to leave the couch, where Wikipedia’s stub told me Mansour wrote in French (though born in England, and raised in Cairo), and none of the sources for further reading were in English. I ran upstairs and grabbed a popular anthology of 20th Century French poetry—nope, not in there. I googled some more, using “In the Gloom on the Left” with her name. Oh found it: in Poems for the Millennium: Volume Two, (Rothenberg & Joris, eds.) and back upstairs I went. OBSCURITY ON THE LEFT Why do my legs Encircle your neck Sticky tie dark blue bouffant Monotonous vestibule of a laughing creek Christianity’s white olives Why should I wait in front of a closed door Supplicant, timid torrid base fiddle Have Children Swallow rare vinegars on your gums The tenderest white spotted with black Your penis is softer Than a virgin’s face More irritating than pity Feathered tool of an unbelievable noise Adieu au revoir it’s over good-bye The envy of the fantastic wilted blossoming Will return Livelier more violent Mauve candies of devoted swoons Pressing and paralyzed Vehement afternoon nightmares Without you Whoa, I thought. More please. This is not the translation by Molly Bendall from PotM, which she titles “In the Gloom on the Left,” since I do not have permission to reprint that, but that version is well worth looking up for her alternative phrasing, especially through lines 10-13. (Ahem. I think I may have actually grunted aloud.) Bendall’s version originally appeared in American Poetry Review and you can read it online (with ugly formatting) here. The... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Shanna Compton is now following The Typepad Team
Nov 5, 2012