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Interview with Susan Briante
Finally, this is your second book with Ahsahta, after Pioneers in the Study of Motion several years ago. That kind of relationship with a press is pretty rare these days. I wonder if you could close by saying a few words about Ahsahta and your experience working with them on two different projects now.
It has been a great gift working with Janet Holmes at Ahsahta. She’s not only a fantastic editor and incredibly smart about the publishing business, but she’s an amazing poet. (See: F2F and Ms of My Kin for a sense of the intelligence and diversity of her work.) In every part of the publishing process, I had the privilege of collaborating with someone who cares for the poems line by line. When we were working on Pioneers, she sent a first set of galleys with the explanation that she thought Futura would be a good typeface for the titles because of its association with William Carlos Williams. Swoon.
I am going to start a fundraising project to clone Janet. Then we can still get more books from Ahsahta and more poems from her.
In all seriousness, this brings me back to economics. So much of the best poetry that is happening today comes from people like Janet who have always worked incredibly hard and are working harder still in the grip of the Great Recession. But I don’t know how long we can continue to count on these extraordinary efforts. We are all tired and working too hard and worrying about our job security and our health insurance and the kinds of opportunities that will be left to our kids. But on top of all of that heavy lifting, we have to imagine a different economic future. We must refuse to accept the narrow possibilities offered by our current political and economic system. If we the poets, researchers, rabble-rousers can’t imagine it, who will?
Go read the rest. There’s a video and text of a poem, too!