Joshua Kleinberg for Word for Word Poetry, July 21, 2015
Featuring Song Cave Press
There’s no use resisting it: at some point, someone’s going to submit a PhD dissertation on the American literary landscape of the early 21st century (it’ll probably be written in some kind of emoji-hybrid language). And somewhere between the Alt Lit moment and that year the cicadas were shedding and every manuscript submission included the word “carapace,” I like to think this intrepid scholar-of-the-future will make mention of the special poetry corridor between Northampton, Massachusetts and New York.
With UMass Amherst’s renowned MFA, the annual Juniper Conference, the ubiquitous (and sadly departing) non-profit Flying Object, and a slew of boutique presses churning out some of the prettiest books in the country, Northampton has garnered something of a reputation for being the other place on the east coast that a poet might go. If the poet, for instance, liked trees or reasonable rent.
Ben Estes and Alan Felsenthal launched The Song Cave in Northampton in 2009. The non-profit press, which moved this past year to Brooklyn, began as an intermittent chapbook publisher with a stultifyingly cool roster including poets like Dana Ward, Peter Gizzi, Dara Wier, Monica de la Torre, Ben Lerner, Amaranth Borsuk, Geoffrey G. O’Brien and C.D. Wright, to name a few. The imprint’s grown in recent years to publish special edition art prints by the likes of Kim Gordon and Guggenheim fellow Nathaniel Dorsky and full-length poetry collections by authors like Todd J. Colby, Thomas Meyer and Emily Hunt, whose Dark Green was called a “standout debut” as well as “beautiful, funny, painterly, and terrifying” by Publishers Weekly this past April.Hunt was one of three readers at Word for Word Poetry’s Song Cave showcase on July 21st, a windy evening that bulged with the electric touch of a forecasted rain shower that never quite broke. Sharing the stage with Hunt were Song Cave pressmates Hannah Brooks-Motl and Jae Choi. The feeling in the park was decidedly eye-of-the-storm as the breeze rustled patio umbrellas and made shy, sporadic pops in the microphone.
|Hannah Brooks- Motl|