The West Behind Us @release party

If you’re in Portland, Oregon on May 30th please join Lisa Wells and Bobby Abrahamson for the release of The West Behind Us. This is the limited run collector’s edition made possible by Clark College and The Regional Arts & Culture Council. (Stay tuned for the trade edition)

Volume I Brooklyn gave us a nice shout out today. Read more HERE:    Volume I Brooklyn

 

Please join photographer Bobby Abrahamson and writer Lisa Wells for a book release party for their new book — The West Behind Us — at Newspace Center for Photography on Friday, May 30th, from 6-8pm. The authors will talk about the project, have copies of the book for sale, and sign copies. Abrahamson will also have a selection of prints from the project on display and for sale.

The West Behind Us documents four small, rural towns in Oregon – Fields, Mitchell, Long Creek and Halfway – investigating the challenges faced by rural communities in an age of increased urbanization and economic depression. In the tradition of WPA era collaborations like James Agee and Walker Evans’ Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, the book includes 44 striking black and white photographs by documentary photographer Bobby Abrahamson, along with extensive interviews with residents, and first-person narrative by author Lisa Wells. As Dave Blanchard of Oregon Public Broadcasting writes about the project: “The two Portland-based artists understood the challenges of accuracy and exploitation inherent in documenting the lives of others. They traveled to the locations separately, not wanting to come across as offering a definitive account of the towns. They instead focused on their personal connections with the towns and the people who live there.” The results are two independent, complementary visions of life in rural America on the cusp of the urban millennium.

 

Talking to Emilia Phillips @ OmniVerse

Lisa: I don’t think there is a moment that feels extraneous in Signaletics, or ‘put on’, which can be a danger in that kind of braiding. You’re also agile in terms of form. There are many different forms in this book, which seems unusual for a debut. There are prose poems, and blank verse, there’s a “Ghost Sonnet” … can you tell us a little bit about the forms?

Emilia: Sure. What’s so weird about the forms in the book is that… in one way I’m very conscious of it, and in another way I’m not. It’s not like I set out to say ‘I have to have a prose poem, I have to have this fake sonnet that is not fourteen lines but is close to 140 syllables.’ But I think I ended up picking poems that formally ran the gamut, because if I am going to write on a similar subject in a lot of poems I want the form to rework it, so that the excessive tendencies in subject matter don’t seem so overwhelming.

I think form does a lot to mediate that. It distracts us visually and distracts us sonically, so that we inhabit the subject matter in very different ways. I was trying to provide different landscapes for the reader, and the landscapes may have the same foliage but the view is changed.

Read the whole interview online.

Gen Feminista! Talking Literature & Feminism with the New Rabble-Rousers

Over at VIDA’s HerKind today, I interview several bright young female-identified writers….

 

“The other night, on our floor of the dorm, I listened to a girl’s passionate rant about the pressure to write “cisgender teen romance stories” about vanilla dudes who fall for quirky girls. “That’s how you win the contests,” she said. She wants to write about weirdos via hybrid text, but fears there’s no market for stories like that. It was a lament I’d heard from adult writers on countless occasions, in public and private, only this time it was delivered by a seventeen-year-old girl from New Jersey. I’ll admit, it floored me. She was born in the mid-90s for christ’s sake and already feeling commercial pressures? The limits of her gender? Yes and yes, as it turns out. The naiveté was all mine.”

 

READ THE INTERVIEWS HERE

Talking to Daisy Fried @ The Rumpus

“… what I get a little anxious about is talking too much about motherhood. This is not to say you shouldn’t ask. But am I going to be typed as a Mommy Poet? I don’t think I am one—motherhood and politics and sunlight and sex and work and money and weather and, good god, even kittens, are all what we have always with us, so why exclude them from poems?”

 

Read More Here:

http://therumpus.net/2013/06/the-rumpus-interview-with-daisy-fried/?fb_action_ids=10151666519844658&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

Y.N.T. @ Late Night Debut

Vanessa Veselka & Lidia Yuknavitch chose to discuss Yeah. No. Totally. for Late Night Debut, and I’m pretty much over the moon about it.

Here’s the show: http://latenightlibrary.org/lisa-wells-yeah-no-totally/

I admire Vanessa’s book Zazen very much (so do the folks at PEN: http://redlemona.de/richard-nash/blog/vanessa-veselkas-zazen-wins-the-penrobert-bingham-award-for-best-first-novel)

and Lidia’s groundbreaking memoir, A Chronology of Water (so do the folks at PNBA: http://www.pnba.org/2012BookAwards.html)

They’ve been teaming up on other fronts including this great conversation on women and violence over at the Believer:  http://believermag.tumblr.com/post/17562504296/vanessa-veselka-author-of-zazen-pictured-above

Thanks for reading!

xo — Lisa

I Interview Cynthia Cruz @ The Rumpus

“Cruz: Well, regarding the “big, mythological words living next door to convenience store words,” the idea, in other words, of incorporating both the “high” and the “low” in my work: I love to do this, have always done this, exhibit this in my own life, and am a product of this. For example, when I was a child and we didn’t have much money but still, my parents saved up so we could go to the ballet in San Francisco, my mother still brought us to museums, and they saved their money all year round so we could travel to Europe summers. So I experienced beauty and what would be considered “high culture” from a very young age despite the fact that we didn’t have much. I grew up with piles of fashion magazines on our living room floor and so I saw, early on, the possibilities: haute couture, fantasy, art, painting, literature—it was all in these European fashion magazines my mother brought home. So, though I was growing up in a Northern California beach town (beaches, bikinis, skateboarding, etc.), I had access to this other end of the spectrum.”

 

http://therumpus.net/2012/08/the-rumpus-interview-with-cynthia-cruz/