Editor Nii Ayikwei Parkes interviewed by Renaissance One
INTERVIEW WITH NII PARKES (original interview link
In March, we caught up with poet and creator/owner of flipped-eye publishing, Nii Parkes
, to get his views on the importance of independent publishing, his motivations for opening an independent press and his experiences as both a poet and publisher. What 3 words best describe you as a publisher?
Nurturing, pragmatic, bold.How would you sum up the ethos and approach of Flipped Eye?
We believe literature should be affordable so we price low and operate on a not-for-profit basis. We believe all that is written was first spoken so we acknowledge the value of oral influences in our editorial approach. We are dedicated to publishing work that is clear and true rather than exhibitionist. Why did you decide to start publishing independently?
In the simplest terms, I just couldn't see enough of the kind of work I enjoy reading out in the market and I had some time on my hands. When I considered it more carefully I became convinced that there was a class-related blindness within the UK editorial/publishing world that was preventing certain kinds of work from being recognised and published - unless they reinforced long-held working-class/gender/race clichés. What are your particular interests within publishing?
I'm a lover of language and its evolutions and transformations. I love to see language stretch itself on a page. That's why we publish primarily poetry. I'm interested in hybridity and the work it creates. What can independent publishers, such as Flipped Eye, offer emerging writers that other types of publishers aren't able to?
We are still free to look at their work primarily as art rather than product, so we are more patient. That's why small presses are so essential; without smaller presses publishing would be way too cautious. As well as running Flipped Eye, you also write yourself. Do your experiences as a writer inform your role as a publisher?
I think it's the other way round. My work as a publisher has helped me in my own journey as a writer - understanding the process, the politics, how much time things can take. I guess my being a writer has influenced the kinds of contracts we have with our authors; I understand the struggles, the need for a model that allows them to earn something sooner rather than never. What advice would you give to someone submitting their work to a publisher for the first time?
Make sure it's the best it can be - not just the work, but the entire package - you're better off having had at least something published with a magazine first, or a good series of live appearances under your belt. It's not a lottery; if you don't give your work a chance it won't stand a chance. Is there any creative masterpiece you wish you'd published OR if you could publish anyone who would it be?Drown
by Junot Diaz. I love the stories, the language in the book, and the language politics inherent in its publication in the form it is published. Are there any upcoming Flipped Eye projects that we should be looking out for?
Oh, the mouthmark book of poetry
, which will come out later this year will be huge. It's a collection of the pamphlets released under the mouthmark series (a groundbreaking series in UK pamphlet publishing) in hardback. I get chills just thinking about it.
Jacqueline Saphra's The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize
Jacqueline Saphra's delicious début collection The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions has been shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2011, one of the coolest, best-established and most in-touch poetry prizes in the UK.
The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions is one of five collections, out of the 74 titles that were submitted, to have reached the shortlist for the prize. The Poetry Trust has called the five shortlisted poets as 'ones-to-watch' amongst the next generation of UK poets.The other poets to make the shortlist are: Tom Duddy, Nancy Gaffield, Ed Reiss and Rachel Boast.
The winner will be announced at the start of the 23rd Aldeburgh Poetry Festival on Friday 4 November 2011. As huge fans of last year's winner, Christian Campbell, we're chuffed J's in the same company!
[We have a couple of offers on The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions
: it's half-price until the end of September on our site www.flippedeye.net/store
and if you buy Emma Hammond's tunth-sk
from our Amazon seller (flippedeye) you'll get a copy for FREE in addition)
flipped eye publishing completes residency on Incwriters.co.uk
flipped eye publishing's editors and authors have just completed a month-long blogging residency on the incwriters.co.uk
site. Some of the topics that came up in the shared musings include, the craft of writing, the place of short stories in the world as well as trends and best practice in editing and publishing work. To read the blogs, visit the incwriters.co.uk
site using this link
Q&A with Inua Ellams in Guardian
Inua Ellams: performance poetry for all
Young writer Inua Ellams is bringing performance poetry to London's National Theatre with his show The 14th Tale, which tells of growing up in Nigeria and London
Inua Ellams, performance poet.
How did you come to write the play?
There's this parallel between writing and martial-arts films: typically the young upstart challenges the old master and does several backflips then the master just stands there, makes one move and the kid's on the floor. You have to do something similar with writing: control your tongue and just show off a couple of times. When I was 19 I tried to show off as much as possible – all the backflips – then this astonishing poet, Kwame Dawes, ripped to shreds one such poem and I didn't write for about six months. Then my father had a stroke and I began to think about the lineage of troublesome men in my family and my role as the only boy. It's really a coming-of-age story.Does it feel like a real departure from your previous poems?
Before this, I'd written global poems and that was easy: you throw a pen and it bounces against something that's wrong with the world. It's more difficult to write about yourself and at the same time make it so that Joe Bloggs will be able to find something of himself in it.What made you write for the stage?
I've been known to write densely beautiful things with extended metaphors that require you to pay attention, but I so often go to poetry readings where half the audience are drunk or more interested in sleeping with the person beside them and there's chitter chatter – I just got fed up of that and wanted to write something where people come expecting to be quiet for an hour.Is there a growing enthusiasm for poetry in performance?
Yes, although part of me hopes the art form will never be that widespread, because as soon as something hits the mainstream it gets watered down.But aren't you worried about hitting the mainstream by having a show on at the National?
[Laughs] That's a good question, but I'm not worried because I'm far too much of a troublemaker and far too stubborn to make other people happy. I'm terrible at lying, I can never hide my emotions, it's ridiculous. My duty is to the beautiful: as long as I create that then I'll be true.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------See original article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2010/jan/31/inua-ellams-performance-poet-national
Labels: authors, projects