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 strong books. each one press displays, maybe extra without delay than any huge exchange writer may well, the nature of its founder; and every has earned its personal position within the pick out staff of vital small presses in the United States. This assortment is the 1st of its variety to discover with the publishers themselves the old, aesthetic, functional, 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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Extra resources for Against the Grain: Interviews with Maverick American Publishers
I think this is the result of having been under the influence of three truly great poets: Williams, Pound, and Thomas. You know, when you have had to do with poets of the absolutely first-rate, it is very hard to get excited about the ordinary poet. DANA: I suppose so. LAUGHLIN: I'd say I'm also very devoted to Rexroth, who had a tremendous influence on New Directions and on me. And also I'm very devoted to Denise Levertov, who I think writes the best free verse around. DANA: Is there a contradiction in what you've said?
He was the famous man who wrote that there was no character development in Ulysses. " That puzzled him, and he said, "Well, maybe you're right. " So that's how I became a publisher. DANA: That must have rung some kind of a bell for you. LAUGHLIN: Well, it was books. You know, it was books and authors. Literary. It meant escaping from working in the family steel mill, which I hated. Terrifying place. DANA: Did you have experience with the steel industry? LAUGHLIN: Every Thanksgiving my father would take my brother and me down to the mill.
They go out of their way to try to review at least one poetry book every other issue. DANA: Well, when you were the young fireball editor, the maverick publisher, you often, in your prefaces to the New Directions anthologies, offered suggestions, directions, as to how things might be improved. You don't do that anymore. LAUGHLIN: No, I stopped writing introductions to the anthologies a good many years ago, and there were two reasons for that. I thought, first of all, that it was a little bit ostentatious and vain to do it, and secondly, since I seemed to be getting nowhere with my appeal for Social Credit, I got discouraged about it.