Since publishing our massive tenth anniversary issue, Drunken Boat
has kept at it, from populating our blog and Twitter feeds to publishing our first book, Radha Says
, the posthumous poems of Reetika Vazirani. We’ve been growing in a number of different directions, and this latest installment is in many ways the culmination of our collective vision.
You might notice our new logo, created by graphic designer and poet Claire Zoghb. You can see from our list of folios that we continue to intermingle the arts, bringing Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Art together with New Media and the Archival. Since the last issue we’ve become a biannual, which is a precursor to a move to become a quarterly in 2011. Each issue is so rich in content that we think splitting it up into four installments will only help you better absorb and reflect.
In addition to our usual genres, this issue features a few special folios. Celtic Twilight, curated by literary historian and critic Robert M. Dowling and designed by Brian Corrigan, is filled with original poetry, essays and anecdotes from over thirty distinguished Irish-Americans on the influence of the great dramatist Eugene O’Neill, who has enjoyed a second renaissance at the turn of the 21st century. The shadow of the stolid James Tyrone from Long Days Journey into Night
who “got rid of an Irish brogue you could cut with a knife,” is given substance and hue in essays and poems by such folks as Alice McDermott, Brian Dennehy, T.C. Boyle, Maureen Howard, and Ciarán O’Reilly. We see how heritage shapes our responses to the world and how O’Neill’s brilliant tragedies, while particularly Irish-American, continue to speak universally to us all.
Then in the figure of and folio for Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Franz Wright, we have someone not content just to be shaped by his predecessors, but who has shaped his own life in poetry, apart from academia and the poetry industry. His great curse and blessing was to be born the son of James Wright, yet his own work blazes a distinctive mark on the world of American letters. Wright has provided us with drafts of his poems in his own hand, some photographs, and some new, previously unpublished poems. We are also including his collaborations with the indie band, Ill Lit, as well as some of his Facebook Status updates. It’s not too often that you have such a distinguished poet willing to share such raw and personal artifacts with the world.
Desire & Interaction is the first folio co-curated by Drunken Boat’s new art editor, rob ray and the works respond to the ways in which web art, video, sound, photography, video games, and performance all conspire to create the very thing we crave, the artworks that created and consumed by interaction make us active collaborators in the production and dissemination of meaning. And Short Shorts, edited by Fiction editor Deborah Poe, is home to the thumbnail sketch, the miniature painting in an acorn shell, the brief burst of motes from a beaten carpet, all constellating around the theme of “Freedom & Belonging,” the ways in which we—socially, personally, sexually, ethnically—construct our identities in the world.
The issue also includes our normal offering of genres, our Fiction folio edited by Deborah Poe, our Nonfiction folio edited by Heather Bryant, our Poetics folio edited by Tamiko Beyer…except in this case the offerings are anything but normal. You’ll find, for instance, in Serge J-F. Levy’s “In A Stark Light,” a nonfiction essay composed entirely of photographs. Or in Jai Arun Ravine’s graphic poem “nausea of night,” the interplay of image, handwriting, and audio in a wholly new production with a few different interpretive trajectories we can follow discretely or simultaneously. Or in Karin Gottshall’s “Care and Feeding,” the Kafkaesque premise of a woman birthing an octopus, with “chemoreceptive sucker discs, meaning that they taste what they touch,” and the family drama that ensues.
If you enjoy this issue of Drunken Boat, we hope that you will consider making a tax-deductible donation
. You, our readers, are the reason we publish, and only with your generous support can we continue to bring you the best in contemporary literature, art and cutting-edge intermedia, while hosting events and participating in dialogues that immerse you in literary culture.
To that end, we would like to invite you to celebrate this issue with us at the American Irish Historical Society in New York
on Wednesday, September 22nd
, 2010, and to be on the lookout for other readings and performances throughout the coming year.
Drunken Boat#12 is the result of a massive collaboration and wouldn’t be possible without the many folks you see on the masthead and the exceptional writers and artists who comprise this issue. We hope you’ll dive into the work here time and time again, swim around with pleasure, stimulation, surprise and deepening enjoyment. Consider this the cool, reflective infinity pool that commemorates and will transcend the summer of 2010.
-The Editors, Drunken Boat