Against the Grain: Interviews with Maverick American by Robert Dana

By Robert Dana

Opposed to the Grain is a suite of interviews with 9 small press publishers, each characterised by way of energy of unravel and a commitment to sturdy books. each one press displays, might be extra at once than any huge alternate writer might, the nature of its founder; and every has earned its personal position within the decide upon staff of significant small presses in the US. This assortment is the 1st of its variety to discover with the publishers themselves the old, aesthetic, sensible, and private impulses at the back of literary publishing. The publishers incorporated 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 can be, their encouraged mulishness crackle at the web page.

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Williams had had a very checkered publishing history. The only way that he was able to get his first books published (those very interesting experimental books which are totally unlike anything he did later-Kora in Hell, Spring and all, A Novelette, Descent ofWinter, The Great American 18 AGAINST THE GRAIN Novel-which are very experimental and very interesting in terms of the influence of Gertrude Stein) was by doing them through Ezra's friends in France. Now this is one of the big mysteries. What was the real influence of Gertrude Stein on Williams?

LAUGHLIN: Because he had this blinkered vision. " DANA: Did Pound connect you to Williams? LAUGHLIN: Yes. Williams received a letter from Pound, and he then invited me out to Rutherford to see him. I think he wanted to look me over. Because, you see, he had ready at that time the first volume of the Stecher trilogy, White Mule. He had that all ready and waiting. He had poems ready and waiting. Williams had had a very checkered publishing history. The only way that he was able to get his first books published (those very interesting experimental books which are totally unlike anything he did later-Kora in Hell, Spring and all, A Novelette, Descent ofWinter, The Great American 18 AGAINST THE GRAIN Novel-which are very experimental and very interesting in terms of the influence of Gertrude Stein) was by doing them through Ezra's friends in France.

My brother went into it. But he was lucky. He became a salesman, so he didn't have to work in the mills. DANA: Now, you actually launched New Directions while you were still a student at Harvard. LAUGHLIN: Yes. I went back to Harvard and picked up my work where I'd left off. DANA: What year was that? LAUGHLIN: I think it was, maybe, the fall of '35, because the earliest date in New Directions books is 1936, which would have been the second term of that year. " But the funny thing about my starting was that I didn't know anything about how to become a publisher.

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