Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Small Press Review: From Print to Online

The November/Dec. 2008 is the last print issue of The Small Press Review. According to an announcement:

"Beginning with the Jan/Feb 2009 issue SPR will be an online magazine only. The online edition is a pdf and looks exactly like the print version of the magazine. It will be downloadable. If you are a subscriber to SPR you will have access to the magazine go to: Your password and username are on the mailing label of the print magazine, for instruction see p. 2 of SPR

Well, in these times of recession I can certainly understand why Len Fulton had decided to nix the print edition. In my neck of the woods, in Harvard Square, Cambridge, our much-loved news kiosk "Out of Town News" will be hitting the dust. Hudson News, the owners, reports that the demand is way down for physical newspapers, and it just isn't a viable business anymore. With me, my hands are still stained with ink, my eyes still search for the scream of the headlines on the newsstand each morning, and my cup of coffee needs the rag as much as the perfunctory bagel. I write for a community newspaper "The Somerville News," and although we have an online presence our main gig is still the printed page. Every Wednesday I go down to the office to pick up the new edition, my face becomes veiled by the front and back page. But for a new generation (I am 53) the internet is the first place they go. Not to mention the fact that the old gray lady (The New York Times) herself is a buck fifty for the daily and five bucks for the Sunday (in Boston). With the Globe, I spend nine bucks on newspapers every Sunday. But I am an addict, a newspaper is the monkey on my back, and welcome aboard!

In the final print edition of the Small Press Review, edited for the past 40 years by Len Fulton, we have an editorial by Fulton concerning small press icon Hugh Fox. Fox has a new book out by the World Audience Press " Collected Poetry by Hugh Fox 1966-2007." Fulton writes of Fox: "For Hugh Fox the reach must be always for the grasp to be ever. He takes memory, mixes it with imagination, imagery and an almost Teutonic lexical arsenal, and flings it into the cosmos for the delectation of anyone who cares to listen." I am proud to say that Steve Glines, myself and the Ibbetson Street Press published a controversial autobiography of the man: "Way, Way Off the Road" ( 2006) that Fulton mentions in his article.

Fulton also mentioned Poesy Magazine, that has an interview by Brian Morrisey ( Founder of Poesy) with Len Fulton, not to mention an interview by the Boston editor Doug Holder with Afaa Michael Weaver.

There is a great piece by Linda Lerner "A Flunky Blues Riff- On Hayden Carruth" about the late, and much celebrated poet. I just finished a memoir of Carruth's about his experience with James Laughlin, the founder of the "New Direstions" Press . Lerner, an accomplished poet, recounts a visit she had with Carruth. She writes;

" He cared for language, and struggled over the choice of words as a worker cares for his tools." I was surprised and pleased that Lerner got a note from Carruth about her book " A Koan for Samsara" ( Ibbetson Street Press 2003) that was published after her partner's death.

I was also glad to see that " Ten Songs from Bulgaria" was reviewed ( and on the front page). It was published by the Cervena Barva Press, Gloria Mindock's brainchild and fellow Somervillian.

It was also a pleasure to see that Bagel Bards 3, the anthology edited by Molly Lynn Watt, and designed by Steve Glines, was reviewed in this last issue. Mike Amado, Bagel Bard scribe, was the focus of the piece, the reviewer wrote: "Maybe Mike Amado's "Word Catcher Poem Four" a prose poem, suggests their tack:"

"The coming autumn was felt in the lazy morning wind, blowing summer afar, and in it's place, leaving conversations of foot fetishes, and broadsides that lack substance. Besides our dismantling of the Mr. Rogers enigma, we discussed how a poet should be a vessel for universal expression."

I am thankful that the Small Press Review is still around in any shape or form. They have and will provide a forum for the small press... and God knows we need it!

Doug Holder/Ibbetson Update/ Dec. 2008

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