Different Styles: Solid Objects in The Brooklyn Rail

By Harriet Staff

Poet and translator Lisa Lubasch and writer and Fence poetry editor Max Winter have been interviewed in the current issue of The Brooklyn Rail about their newborn press, Solid Objects. So far so good: "Their trio of debut offerings includes Jim Shepard’s 56-page novella Master of Miniatures, Mac Wellman’s drama, Left Glove, of equal page length, and Randy Bradley, a 40-page hardcover debut by Jake Bohstedt Morrill." And they're publishing a new book by poet Miranda Mellis in the spring. Solid Objects has also got itself a an advisory board starring Barbara Epler, Editor-in-Chief, New Directions, Tim Griffin, Editor-at-Large, Artforum, and Darin Strauss, novelist. Winter says: "I think small presses can have a lot of different functions. One very important function is putting work out into the world by people who haven’t published before, people with whom the world is not that familiar. Another is to circulate good writing in whatever form or degree of reputation." More on the small press:

Rail: You launched Shepard’s book right around the time Soft Skull was acquired by Counterpoint. With sort of parallel beginnings, I’m wondering what your long term plans are for Solid Objects?

Winter: We started with smaller books. At some point we’ll probably try to start to print longer books. When you start something, you want to start manageably. Realistically. Electronic publishing, that’s something that could be introduced at some point, as sort of an adjunct to print publication. Right now we’re enjoying printing things.

Rail: So I’m sort of curious, Mac Wellman’s Left Glove, your second book, was a play. Randy Bradley, an epistolary novella. You have three such different styles.

Lubasch: We were interested in printing drama right from the outset. Not too many small presses print drama. Wellman was in a sense a really natural choice. His work combines dramatic and poetic elements, based on ideas of movement and the relationship between words often associated with poetry. You may not know why an activity is taking place, but you don’t really need to on some level. You just respond to it. It’s incredibly moving.

Winter: As far as Morrill’s Randy Bradley, that attracted us because of its great humor and eccentricity, its humanity. It’s a portrait of a … very peculiar character with a strange worldview, incredibly human. You follow a story with a Japanese film director with a play about a lost glove, with characters who are not really characters (one character in Wellman’s play is the article “the” and another is the conjunction “and”). Follow that with a tightly knit portrait, like Randy Bradley, then that, too, is a surprise. You have to keep things interesting.

Generous spirits, it seems! Read the full interview here.

Originally Published: December 13th, 2011