Thursday, December 15, 2005

On TinFish Press

I think that this blog has been a tad too nice recently. What can I say? Blogging has at least slightly muted the angry persona that is the host of this blog. It's good to be nice in real life, but nice doesn't necessarily translate well to the blogosphere sometimes, especially when you've promised that your blog will offer "strange and outlandish takes" on the subject at hand. Unfortunately, for you lovers of mockery and power and self-loathing, this post will also be nice, but I'll have more oddness to dish out in my following post. Stay tuned...

This post must be nice, because I have to be honest here and give props to TinFish Press, run by Susan Schultz -- a hard-working and visionary editor who puts out arguably the most cutting-edge work in Asian American poetry today. Here is a description from the TinFish website (

A non-profit organization founded in 1995 by Susan M. Schultz, Tinfish Press publishes a journal of experimental poetry from the Pacific, including Hawai`i, New Zealand/Aotearoa, Australia, California, and western Canada. The press also produces books and chapbooks of poetry and experimental prose, some of it written in Hawai`i Creole English (Pidgin). Each publication is designed by artists living in Hawai`i, under the direction of cover-girl, Gaye Chan. Tinfish uses recycled materials, including tarpaper, weather maps, proof sheets, and hamburger sleeves to cover its always un-recycled poetry and prose.

As you can tell from the description, Schultz clearly has a specific and unique vision for TinFish Press, which I imagine has contributed to its relative longevity. It is peculiarly an interpretation of Hawaii, while at the same time, it acknowledges Hawaii's physical place in the larger, geographical landscape of the Pacific Ocean. It also negotiates all the territories around Hawaii. In a sense, I think that TinFish represents the Opposite of Europe. Reversing the more traditional narrative of space and time, Hawaii is central, while Europe is falling-off-the-edge-of-the-world.

Here are excerpts from an e-mail that Schultz recently sent out to publicize works that have been, or will be, published by the press:

I'm pleased to announce publication of _When the Plug Gets Unplugged_, by Kim Hyesoon, translated by Don Mee Choi. Kim Hyesoon is one of the most prominent poets in South Korea, and Don Mee Choi lives in Seattle where she translates the work of Korean women poets. Chapbook design by Mike Cueva.

These are poems about rats, spoken by rats...

Now at the printer is Barbara Jane Reyes's much anticipated volume, _Poeta en San Francisco_, so stay posted.

aloha, Susan, Tinfish Editor

PS Remember that rat books make fine holiday gifts.

This announcement sums up TinFish Press quite well. Really, come on now -- "These are poems about rats, spoken by rats..." Who else but Susan Schultz would publish poems about rats written by a Korean woman poet and translated by a Korean-American?! Under TinFish, the avant-garde becomes a ratty delinquency, exuded by the ugly visceralness of feminine hygeine. It's wild stuff, and in its own way, it's kinky in an increasingly kink-free world.


Blogger Jill said...

I love Tinfish!!!!!!

9:37 PM  

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