A new poem up at Hazlitt today:
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.
Here I talk to William Morgan and Douglass Bolles somewhat coherently about a variety of things. Thanks dudes!
Some old poems have been newly published at Southern Humanities Review.
and … I’m still a wino.
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.