Against the Grain: Interviews with Maverick American by Robert Dana

By Robert Dana

Opposed to the Grain is a set of interviews with 9 small press publishers, every one characterised through power of get to the bottom of and a commitment to solid books. every one press displays, maybe extra without delay than any huge exchange writer may, the nature of its founder; and every has earned its personal position within the choose staff of significant small presses in the USA. This assortment is the 1st of its type to discover with the publishers themselves the ancient, aesthetic, useful, and private impulses in 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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No tuition. He found a room for me in the flat of an old German lady. Mornings he would work, mostly at his correspondence, answering letters from allover the world about his historical and economic ideas and about poetry and everything else. He used to say that postage was his highest living expense. Then we'd have lunch together with Mrs. Pound in the dining room of the hotel next to the building where their penthouse was. The instruction in the Ezuversity simply consisted of Ezra's monologues.

DANA: Would you say it was a democratic system of publishing? LAUGHLIN: Well ... DANA: Well, ultimately your say is final. LAUGHLIN: Through all the years, it was very autocratic. I mean, we did what I wanted to do. However, we are now in a period of transition at the office, because I've reached a certain age. I've got a wonderful staff, marvelous young people, and I am now insisting that at least two others in the office read and like what we do. One very practical reason, quite apart from my getting old, is that a book that the staff doesn't like is not going to get very far.

LAUGHLIN: I will say this regarding the magazines. I think many too many magazines are being published in this country now. When I started, there were about six literary magazines. The result was that the competition to get into them kept standards high. Nowadays there must be between a hundred and two hundred literary magazines. ] Anybody can publish anything. And that may not be so good. It may make it too easy for the aspiring writer to get published, and not put him on his mettle to try to write better.

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