DRUNKEN BOAT, ISSUE 8, 2006

"I'd rather work for Drunken Boat than for Time magazine"
-Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief

Sometimes it's hard to hear the sound of gongs for the static, but here are eight mallet blows! To rouse awareness, vibrating timbres to announce Drunken Boat# 8. A triple issue. Presenting winners from the inaugural Drunken Boat PanLiterary Awards, and introducing two special folios, one on the OULIPO edited by Jean-Jacques Poucel, and one on the Canadian Strange edited by Sina Queyras. It's alpha and omega for our journal and signifies a certain watershed moment in our existence. Perhaps an appropriate moment to turn back to our patron saint, Rimbaud, who wrote triumphantly Je pisse vers les cieux bruns, très haut et très loin,/ Avec l'assentiment des grands héliotropes. His revelry in his bodies' ejecta revolutionary as the web organisms that through natural selection persist. The end of the summer of 2006 signifies our sixth year in existence, a parallel lifespan to the start of the millennium itself. In six years, while the world has gone from being dangerous and misunderstood to being more dangerous and misunderstood, we've gone from being a biannual to nearly a biennial, the logical inverse of how one might assume a journal should evolve. Isn't the paradigm of many magazines the monthly? Yet in our case, we're wed to aesthetic plenitude, issuing missives that take more than months to delve into deeply. The drive towards frequency has been tamped down by the need for depth. Much instead of more. That and we have day jobs.

So when a friend of the journal forwarded on the following quote from Susan Orlean's interview in Identity Theory , it was a mixture of delight and dismay that propelled us. Delight, for Orlean is one of our favorites and someone we'd be thrilled to collaborate with, not to mention the recognition that we don't toil in a vacuum obviously energizes, dismay because we'd rather have her - and you - work for us than for Time magazine as well. Unfortunately, if you prefer to eat and to have doctor visits, you'd probably choose to work for Time magazine. Our journal, in spite of our tenure, in spite of being a 501(c)(3)(k) non-profit organization, remains, like many of our sister entities, very much a labor of love. From design to editing, our glories are on screen, not in hand. Therefore on the eve of our sixth anniversary it's wise to look at sustainability. How much has changed in the climate of literary publishing to include web publication? Has the profusion of new online magazines begun to saturate a fragmented collective attention span or is that explosion of media exactly what is needed to combat the closed circuit and too-often myopic world of print? Are the fledgling forms of web art and cybertext being recognized as canonical or commercial?

These questions are more than just an urgent plea for readers to support the magazine and journals that they frequent with even a minimal contribution (they are that as well of course) but aimed at measuring how much and how quickly the internet qua Guttenberg is changing consciousness.

Evidently, not quickly enough.


In numerology, the number eight is ruled by Saturn, ringed planet of Destiny and Retribution, Shani in Sanskrit, how sorrow in the Vedas tinges the cosmic dance yet when turned on its side, in the context of a topological space, still signifies liberation, the infinite. Take the eight auspicious gifts conferred on Shakyamuni at his enlightenment, including matsya, the fish, chamaru, the tantric fly-whisk, and srivatsa, the karmic knot. It's too abstract and self-aggrandizing to claim that even the shadow of destiny and infinity can describe an editorial process, but perhaps the knot is a potentate figure, since it's been nearly eight seasons since the last issue of Drunken Boat was launched. Tugging to loosen here, another part of the knot would tighten. Our inaugural PanLiterary Awards judged by such luminaries as DJ Spooky, David Hall, Sabrina Murray, Alexandra Tolstoy, Annie Finch and Talan Memmott was such an unmitigated success that our staff found a cadre rather than a couple of finalists (a third of whom will appear in our next issue) yet the process was so intricate--the Panliterary Awards in Seven Genres--as to require the intervention of travel agents and spiritual gurus. We received work via email, in the post, posted online, hand-delivered, in a variety of file extensions and formats. We worked to winnow the field down and found such disparate, excellent materials that we decided to make the panLiterary Awards a two-part feature. After we screened the work, we found that one of our judges was moving to Sweden, another was in Kyrgyzstan for a time and unreachable by mail, yet another had the judging materials immaterialize. Then came the intrusion of the quotidian: other projects to deliver, babies to grow, new jobs to take. We experienced server problems, we implemented a new email system to help mitigate spam but spam won. All events that must have been brushed by Saturn's whisk.


At long last, then, with fanfare and shiny brows, we have the public announcement of the Winners, published in this issue. Congratulations to all of Drunken Boat's Inaugural PanLiterary Awards Finalists!


Poetry
Peter Conners  Fady Joudah  Karla Kelsey  Clay Matthews   Kevin McFadden   Leslie McGrath Maura Payne   Christian Peet   Deborah Poe   Mark Rudman   Deema Shahabi    
Sean Singer   Stephanie Strickland    Rebecca Tassi    Barbara Tran   Liliana Valenzuela  
John Vincent    Donna Weaver    Scott Withiam    Terri Witek


Fiction
Debra Diblasi    Masha Tupitsyn   Gretchen Van Lente    John Briggs    Joan Frank
Stephan Clark    Ahmad Saidullah    Liana Scalettar    Christiana Langenberg     
Chandra Prasad    Leland Pitts    Thomas Hodge   Julia LaSalle    Inderjeet Mani      
G.K. Wuori   Robert Vivian

Nonfiction
Kevin Clark   Alfred Corn   Ouyang Yu   Jacques Leslie    Ricardo Miranda Zuniga
Ken Autrey    Kat Meads   Brandon Schrand    Alex Sheshunoff    Eileen Albrizio
Dan Oppenheimer   Art Saltzman


Sound
Matthew Burtner   Ken Urban    Sawako Kato   The Night Collective    Doug Theriault
Philip Blackburn    Joan Schuman    The Phonographers Union    Gordon Monahan
Krista Franklin & Alison Chelsey    Maxime Tanaka   Abinadi Meza    Eric Bunger     
John Hudak   Bill Fontana    Peter Yummi


Video
John Fillwalk    David Bernard Ambrose    Rosemary Bodolay    Daniel Shifman
Keith Tuma/jUStin katKO     Justyna Latek    Megan Sproats    Ethan Ham   Steve Gibson
Joy Garnett    Jonathan Zalben   Ryan Gibson   Rotem Tashach   Mariana Ellenburg
Dene Grigar   Pete Gomes


Photo
Jim Provenchar   Melanie Wilhide    Dede Norungolo   Floris Andrea  Caroline Moore
Jennifer Steensma Hoag    Abeer Hoque    Bill Vaccaro    Ellen Jantzen      
Geoffroy Demarquet    Matthew Gamber    Harlan Erskine    Kristopher Grunert
 Jean Van Cleemput    Jillian Lochner   Ross Hillier

WebArt
Travis Alber     Jason Nelson     Bioteknica    Exquisite Copse (Neil Jenkins)    
Jessica Gomula    Sally Prior Juliet Davis    Mark Marino   Thomas Peterson    
Edward Folger    Reynald Drouhin      Brad Brace    Andres Manniste   J.R Carpenter     
Maria Miranda and Norie Neumark


Additionally this issue features two ground-breaking folios, one on the Oulipo and one on Canadian Strange, the new modalities and forms germinating in the northern climes. The first dossier, edited by Jean-Jacques Poucel and designed by Shawn McKinney, reveals a panoply of potentialities, indeed stresses the latent to include the Ou-X-Po, where variable X is a medium of composition, the Para-Oulipians who inherit the utilization of constraint but manifest it in strikingly dissimilar ways, and the first and second generations of the Oulipians themselves, from Marcel Duchamp to Raymond Queneau. from Harry Matthews, the only American invited to the group, to Michelle Grangaud, one of the few women represented in the movement. The discussion of the movement is timely for a number of reasons and we can turn to Jacques Roubaud from his introduction to The Oulipo and Combinatorial Art. Here are three points from his manifesto:


21. The aim of the Oulipo is to invent (or reinvent) restrictions of a formal nature (contraintes) and propose them to enthusiasts interested in composing literature.


28. The Oulipo's work is collaborative and its products--proposed constraints and their illustrations--are attributed to the group, even if their constraints are invented by individuals.

32. So what are the relationships between constraints, combinative procedures, and potentiality? Describable, definable, available to everyone, Oulipian constraints provide the rules of a language game (in the Wittgensteinian sense) whose "innings" (texts composed according to its rules) are virtually unlimited and represent linguistic combinations developed from a small number of necessarily interdependent elements.


And a definition: An Oulipian author is a rat who himself builds the maze
from which he sets out to escape.


Those principles seem at a premium today; collaboration, one of the bastions of Drunken Boat, remains too little undertaken and the collectivism that verges on socialism, that values the group over the individual, was thrown out, baby and bathwater, in the favor of individualism and consumerism, though there's still much to be gleaned in its ideological stance. Finally,
a literature that calls to enthusiasts, that proposes innings, that conscripts mathematicians and artists alike, is a pastime that could help reinvigorate the over-sincere or drunk-on-irony kinds of literature that clog popular imagination, while images and sounds continue to hurtle the
words clear off the tracks. What this collection shows is that the inventiveness that proceeds from setting rules can be liberating, can bring together disparate media, rekindle image and sound to word, that the rat can transcend his murine inner essence by finding the way out of the very self he has constructed.

The second dossier on the Canadian Strange speaks for itself and memorably, showing that the work coming from America's northern neighbors is every bit as compelling and in some cases, weirder, more oscillating, the sort of exploration into the human psyche than we're not apt to find on the East or West Coast. There is painting, video, poetry, photo, sound, fiction and essay represented, carefully culled and presented by Sina Queyras. The output is disparate and well-designed, forms and reformulations showing the leading edge of the Canadian avant-garde, even while repossessing tradional representational models. All told succor enough to last well into the hibernating months.

There are plenty of people who need to be thanked in the production of this issue, including curators Sina Queyras and Jean-Jacques Poucel, and especially Shawn McKinney who designed the Oulipo folio while going through a arduous patch, plus the dedicated staff of Drunken Boat who have seen fit to make the eighth iteration our best one yet. If you agree, we ask that you show your support with a tax-deductible donation of any amount to help support the arts online.

In the coming months we'll announce a few launch events, a celebratory performance of the PanLit Award winners, and note a few changes to our editorial staff and purposes. It's worth mentioning here that until Spring 2007, Drunken Boat will not be accepting unsolicited
submissions.Vive le Canada et l'Oulipo! Wreaths for the PanLit Winners! We hope you
enjoy the 2006 edition of Drunkenboat.com


-The Editors



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