The handmade books of Spork Press are spreading across the literary universe, leaving the Spork collective ‘more psyched than ever.’
On any given evening, in the middle of any given week, just off of Fourth Avenue, you might stumble across the editors of Spork Press as they dutifully work on their next set of printings.
They might have music blaring out of the carport in which they work while they press ink onto boards using a half-century-old machine. They might be sipping beers, mixing and transferring music mixes onto cassette tapes. They could be listening to audiobooks, evening out the edges of their work—literally, with a belt sander.
(…..from The Tucson Weekly, “An Analog Experience”)
Yes, Spork makes beautiful books and recently debuted their 6 newest creations (“artifacts”) at AWP here in my backyard (Seattle, which is just across the lake from Kirkland, home of Costco, etc). The Tucson Weekly reports that AWP was a “huge success” for Spork, selling “more than 400 books.”
So, anyways, here is a bit of a roundup of Spork’s 6 new books with a bit of verbiage about each book and/or the author. (and, yes, I’m one of these 6 authors so if you think this is uncool, well, go ahead and sue me).
March 24th, 2014 / 3:00 am
By Ben Fama
Wonder, November 2012
48 pages / $30 Buy from Wonder
Looking back now on the New York poetry world or “scene” in the year of the Mayan apocalypse, it remained, perhaps against all odds, a small one. Case in point: at a poets’ and small press publishers’ party in lower Manhattan I attended last year, somebody introduced me to a person (an older person, just old enough to be on the pre- side of the millennial age gap) who claimed they recognized me or had heard of me somehow via the Internet. They didn’t know my last name, but I had already told them I was a poet. It seemed we were friends on Facebook and had been for a long time. The person got out their smartphone and started scrolling through their contacts list, before asking me in complete earnest: “Are you Ben Fama?” I took it pretty well.
Mall Witch is an illustrated book of poems allegedly written in tandem by the poets Andrew Durbin and Paul Legault, ghostwriting as the poet Ben Fama. At least that’s what I was told, initially. It is the first full-length work to come out of Durbin and Fama’s mercurial publicity project called Wonder. You can read their first manifesto online in which they posit themselves as the reluctant saviors of poetry in our time. They discuss the doom of our Internet-oriented “content farm era” with MFAs, ageism, academic tyranny, and what amounts to a general lack of attention span unanimous today among an assumed readership. Taking such a fatalistic view of the contemporary landscape, they go on to promise Wonder will deliver “one last phase of innovation” or what they call “100% authentic buzz.”
About what exactly? Stylistically, Mall Witch is pure Fama all the way. For fans of Legault’s homespun ventriloquisms of John Ashbery and Emily Dickinson (some from Fence Books, or his latest from McSweeney’s) or Durbin’s precocious Frank O’Hara-style cosmopolitan lyric (Durbin is younger and a late-comer to this coterie, his poems have just begun to appear online and in some print journals) there is none of that here. It makes this reviewer truly wonder who or what actually did write Mall Witch, or what the point of any such alternative methods for the book or “buzz” really is, if all that comes out on the page in the end is the same anyway.
February 8th, 2013 / 12:00 pm
A couple of days ago, the latest installment of Action, Yes made its debut.
For those of you who aren’t already aware, Action, Yes is the online journal wing of Action Books, a pugnacious press operated by Johannes Göransson and Joyelle McSweeney, who happens to be the reigning brunette bombshell of 21st-century poetry.
Also, Action Books has published one of the most outrageous collections of poetry ever — a collection that manipulates language to enchanting extremes. This bold book is entitled Maxium Gaga. Its author is Lara Glenum.
Back to this edition of Action, Yes… it has many notable participants. I’m going to supply some of them with outfits.
First, I’ll dress the editors, Carina Finn and Jiyoon Lee.
“The Internet” by Eric Amling
Here are the names of some manuscripts I’m reading with observations about the content of each manuscript and sample poems (the picture above has nothing to do with this post, except that it’s a collage by Eric Amling that I like). It would be rad if other people blurbed about manuscripts they are reading (their own or their friends or whatever). Feel free to share poems from other unpublished manuscripts in the comments. Also, if any publishers would like to contact the poets mentioned in this post in order to read their manuscripts for possible publication, please let me know and I’ll forward your requests to them.