Against the Grain: Interviews with Maverick American by Robert Dana

By Robert Dana

Opposed to the Grain is a set of interviews with 9 small press publishers, each characterised through power of unravel and a commitment to solid books. each one press displays, might be extra without delay than any huge alternate writer might, the nature of its founder; and every has earned its personal position within the choose staff of significant small presses in the US. This assortment is the 1st of its style to discover with the publishers themselves the ancient, aesthetic, sensible, and private impulses at the back of literary publishing. The publishers integrated are Harry Duncan (the Cummington Press), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (City Lights), David Godine (David R. Godine), Daniel Halpern (the Ecco Press), Sam Hamill and Tree Swenson (Copper Canyon Press), James Laughlin (New Directions), John Martin (Black Sparrow), and Jonathan Williams (the Jargon Society). Their ardour for books, their trust of their person visions of what publishing is or might be, their encouraged mulishness crackle at the web page.

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LAUGHLIN: When the summer was over, I went up to Paris for the fall and lived in a tiny rented room in an insurance office. My rent was seven dollars a month, and I ate around in small restaurants in the quarter and walked a great deal. 8 AGAINST THE GRAIN From that period comes my story "The River," about a young writer trying to adjust to life and decide what he is going to write about. After some months in Paris, I wrote to Ezra, not really expecting to get any reply, asking if I could see him.

DANA: In the sixties, you made a comment on the "literary underground" that I found interesting, if not startling. " LAUGHLIN: I think that's true. There was a period there where poetry got awfully difficult, and I'm not sure why. I don't know what forces were operating on young poets. There was a period when the stuff that came into the office was unbearably difficult, where it seemed as if they were just trying not to be understood. I think that's passing. In the manuscripts that have been coming in in recent years, there is more James Laughlin 33 readiness on the poet's part to open himself to his reader on a fairly comprehensible level.

Not only the books published, but he wrote over a hundred and fifty of what they call "Conferences," or sermons on tape, which were sent to other Catholic religious institutions for the nuns and monks to listen to. DANA: What happened to those tapes? LAUGHLIN: They're all at the Merton Studies Center at Bellarmine College in Louisville. DANA: Have they ever been published? LAUGHLIN: Many of them, yes. Of course, they are only interesting to someone who's interested in Catholic theology, because that's what most of them are about.

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