Jacob Steinberg's translation of Mario Bellatin's Jacobo el mutante in the works at Phoneme Books
Poet Jacob Steinberg has a new volume of poetry coming out–in Spanish–and you can read about how he came to choose Spanish as his language of literary creation, as well as his forthcoming translation of Mario Bellatín’s theatrical work Jacobo el mutante here in conversation with poet, translator, and editor David Shook at Molossus.
Steinberg’s Ante ti mi silencio se arrodilla was produced by Kodama Cartonera in Tijuana,whose work you can check out here.
Check out David Shook’s editorial activity and other titles from Phoneme Media over at the Molossus world literature blog.
CPPC: Tell us about your debut poetry collection, The Crystal Palace. It’s about the building designed by Joseph Paxton at the 1851 Exhibition in London, but where else do the poems take us?
CT: The book is organized into sections, the first of which is more architectural, describing the building and setting the scene, if you like, while the remaining sections function like departments. That makes the poems exhibits, I guess – a cabinet of wonders with various people, plants and animals tucked into nooks and crannies. And there’s time travel!
CPPC: You’ve sent a photo of your two supermodel cats. Have they done a lot of modelling before? If you were to compare your cats to human supermodels, who would they be?
They are pretty regular models on my Facebook page, yeah. Moyo (black, white bikini) is very social, very talkative, a bit OCD. Layla (tortoiseshell) lives for chicken treats and tummy rubs, and throws up quite regularly. I’m not familiar with many human supermodels, but if there are two that fit that description…
Diminutive lit, how do we love thee? David Shook measures the pages…
Out of Riverside, California, Pat Sweet is publishing miniature (less than three inches in any direction) and micro-miniature (less than one inch!) books. Sweet is the proprietor of Bo Press, whose catalogue is as diverse as any proper wunderkammer — it even includes its own curio-cabinet-in-a-book called Small Wonders.
Bo is an obsessively bibliophilic enterprise. Case in point, Bo’s This Is Not A Book, which celebrates the invented tomes lurking in real novels, such as The Phantom Tollbooth’s Rules and Traffic Regulations Which May Not Be Bent or Broken,;The Man in the High Castle’s The Grasshopper Lies Heavy; andAn Attempt at a Uniform and Pragmatic Classification of the Neuroses taken from Tender is the Night. And, of course, the Borgesian History of the Land Called Uqbar. Like Uqbar, each fastidiously designed fake-out threatens to leap from the miniature page.
Each year, San Diego’s Miniature Book Society hosts a miniature book enthusiasts’ convention, or conclave. For their 2004 event in Bath they commissioned a paradoxical souvenir: miniature broadsides. Released from 25 different presses in editions of 100, the broadsides are produced through a variety of techniques, including letterpress and woodcut. Among my favorites are reproductions of a Thoreau quote (“If a man does not keep pace with his companions…”) by the Shoestring Press of Orinda, California, and a 19th-century theatre bill from England, hand-set by Claire Bolton.
Now for some major news for all tiny book lovers passing through Dublin (or staying) this weekend: the Miniature Book Society is holding its Grand Conclave XXIX from July 29th through August 1st at the Davenport Hotel near Trinity College.
David Shook is a poet and translator, as well as the co-founder and managing editor of Molossus: an online broadside of world literature, where his interview with Pat Sweet of Bo Press will appear on August 1st. For a broader look at the world of miniatures, see Geoff Nicholson on Will Self, Slinkachu, short stories, and toy business models this week on our Tumblr site.