Friday, February 10, 2012

FU Weekly! And: An Interview with Stone Bird Press Founder Rose Lemberg

According to our little poll FU WEEKLY is what y'all want for a title in this section of weekly tidbits from the world of song and tale. Well, no Problem! We like to please!

This week's offering is a little interview with Rose Lemberg of Stone Telling, who recently branched out with first acquiring the minimalist spec poetry zine inkscrawl (read an interview with inkscrawl's new editor, Samantha Henderson), and then founding a micro press dedicated to a world of verse.

AS: Why "Stone Bird Press"?

RL: I love birds! Many of my poems feature bird imagery, and I’m currently writing fiction set in a fantasy world with a Bird deity. Stone Bird Press seemed like an appropriate way to reference birds and Stone Telling – plus, it’s a nod to an experimental poem of mine, “Marginalia to Stone Bird.”

AS: The SBP slogan is "Poetry Matters." Tell us why.

RL: Why poetry matters? Or why it matters to me? I was born in the Soviet Union. When I was in my early twenties, I had the honor to briefly meet a Nobel Prize laureate, Czesław Miłosz, who accidentally is one of my favorite poets. He has a poem, “You who wronged.”

Który skrzywdziłeś człowieka prostego,
Śmiechem nad krzywdą jego wybuchając (...)
Nie bądź bezpieczny. Poeta pamięta,
Możesz go zabić – narodzi się nowy.
Spisane będą czyny i rozmowy.

You who wronged a simple man
Bursting into laughter at the crime,
Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
You can kill one, but another is born.
The words are written down, the deed, the date.

(Here’s the whole piece, translated at the Poetry Foundation:

That line, poeta pamięta ‘the poet remembers’ – that is one of my favorite lines. Milosz talks about the poet’s power to resist an evil regime. Poetry is compact; if writing is forbidden, it can be memorized, and thus, you cannot destroy it; it is a perfect vehicle for resistance. Poetry is memory – the poet remembers - not just the wrongs, the wars, but beauty past, and mythic times and epic deeds, awe and heartbreak. Poetry can remember forward and sideways too – and the best speculative work does that. Poetry is not a lucrative pastime, but there will always be those who write and promote it out of love. I realized, back when I started Stone Telling in 2010, that I want not only to create my own worlds, but to enable others to do so, and to bring their work to an audience that may not be large, but for whom this work matters. Poetry matters.

AS: What kind of work will SBP publish? And when can we expect the first SBP book to come out?

RL: Baby steps! We are starting small. I want to see how this will develop. We will publish poetry, and perhaps other things that engage me that are at least tangentially poetry-related. We’ll start with a collection of queer poetry, bringing together the excellent and groundbreaking queer poems published in Stone Telling from its inception, including poetry in the upcoming queer issue. The book will come out in May 2012.

AS: What formats will you be using?

RL: The queer collection will come out as a physical book, and also as a pdf, since poetry is notoriously hard to get right in other e-formats.

FU Weekly thanks Rose for answering our questions. We are looking for that first publication of SBP!