We Have Published A New Book

and you are invited to the first reading to celebrate the existence of this book, a reading worth leaving your house for
 

by Nabil Kashyap & Miranda Mellis
at The Working Library
at 8836 N Lombard St, Portland, Oregon
on Friday, July 28, 2017, 7pm.

A sampling of topics covered in The Obvious Earth

-a year long van ride through Africa
-ice guiding in Alaska
-watching Twin Peaks with an ex while still living together
-dancing to Guns n’ Roses cover bands in India
-drunken bee stings
-the snack food known as Uncrustables
-the shadow created by shipwrecked cargo ships

The point is making this book has been a source of oxygen for us in a time when we could all use more oxygen. And the way that Nabil uses language to let us into these stories from around the earth reminds us that we are humans, living on the earth. Really, we can't wait for you all to experience this oxygen-giving earthly book too.

Also, MIRANDA MELLIS will be reading in a similarly real live human reading form and has written many tremendous books including one published by Carville, THE INSTEAD, a conversation with Emily Abendroth.

It will be summer and we will offer you refreshments and we will collectively bathe in these good good words that remind us how to see anew.

Posted on June 19, 2017 .

THE INSTEAD - OUR LATEST BOOK

Like all the things we make, this book helps us breathe, which is why we want to share it with you. Katie Aymar made an index for the book, and this part of "H" describes The Instead's range and depth:

Holbrook, Robert Saleem, 182

holistic storytelling, 108-109, 125-126, 144-146, 148-153, 188-189

holograph of facts, 83

homogenizing forces, 95, 113; see loss

Hopelessness of Changing Anything, 75

how to: balance a sense of peace with the chaos of others, 103, 109; escape from Eastern State Penitentiary, 94; renew the present, 111; sound out a question, 163; surpass gravity and death, 180; telepathically foment solidarity, 189; see swimming, see also toxicity

human rights monitoring, 150-153

human transgenerational response, 64, 78


This book reminds us that we are all in this together, asking questions, trying to find a way through. You can buy it here now. 

Posted on March 5, 2016 .

November 1: In A Cloud Forest

12 pm in the Redwood Grove in the SF Botanical Gardens!

MORE INFO ABOUT THE READERS

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Clandestine Occupations – an Imaginary history

When San Francisco activist Luba Gold goes underground in 1984 to support the Puerto Rican Independence movement, a far-flung network of women is confronted with the risks of prison, the terrible costs of betrayal, and the exhilarating possibilities of love through struggle.

Based on lived experience, Diana Block's new novel spans two generations of radical women, their lovers, children and friends, exploring their challenges from the passions of Solidarity to the awakenings of Occupy and even beyond--to an imagined insurgency of the Future.

Diana Block has been an activist since the 1970’s and a founding member of San Francisco Women Against Rape, Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, and California Coalition for Women Prisoners.  She is the author of the memoir Arm the Spirit: A Woman’s Journey Underground and Back.

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Books by Miranda Flower Mellis include Demystications, forthcoming from Solid Objects, and The Revisionist, among others. She is a co-editor with Tisa Bryant of The Encyclopedia Project, the final volume of which is forthcoming from Publication Studio. Currently she is team-teaching an interdisciplinary class on political economies, literatures, and histories of colonialism, slavery, and witch hunts at The Evergreen State College, the only experimental state school in the U.S. Raised in the city of San Francisco, she lives gladly in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.

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Emily Abendroth is a poet, teacher and anti-prison activist. Much of her creative work attempts to investigate state regimes of force and power, as well as individual and collective resistance strategies to the same. Her poetry book, ]Exclosures[, was released from Ahsahta Press in May 2014. Her writings are often published in limited edition, handcrafted chapbooks by small and micropresses such as Belladonna (New York), Horse Less Press (Denver), Little Red Leaves (Texas), Albion Press (Philadelphia), and Zumbar Press (San Francisco). Recent work can be found in Aufgabe, Hold: A Journal, Conveyor, XPoetics, Thermos, Women's Studies Quarterly, OmniVerse, Jacket2, and EcoPoetics.

Posted on October 19, 2015 .

Meeting Minutes with Dynasty Directors SF and KF

"Let's have a meeting for once."

"Okay."

"Should the next issue be "Labor"? Oh but wait, have we done that already?"

"Wait, we're actually reenacting what we already wrote about in the last letter from the editors, which is where we think of a theme for the next issue and then forget if we've already done it."

"Yeah, but even if we've done that, we should do it again. And talk about all of the labor that is happening everywhere to make our lives possible that no one thinks about."

"Yeah, but also that should be a book."

"Ugh, this is the problem - I just want to do this full time but how can we afford to?"

"Ugh I know."

"Okay, let's do an APQ like we did that one time where we just do it all by hand in one weekend. Let's do it at Case for Making and have anyone we want to interview come by and anyone we want to draw come by and do it all at the table at Case for Making on Saturday so we can deal with the time famine."

"Great."

"August 29, Saturday, all day at Case for Making."

"And we'll give away backstock issues of APQ for anyone who participates."

"Yes."

"And that will give us enough time for it to be ready by the fall equinox."

"Ugh, good meeting."

 

Posted on July 12, 2015 .

Q&A on LET'S HAVE DINNER AND TALK ABOUT MONEY

Questions by Sarah Fontaine | Answers by Jennifer Armbrust

 

What can we do in a group?

We can share, we can empathize, we can build compassion, we can feel connected, we can help each other, we can share resources, we can learn from each other, we can laugh, we can build relationships. We can make jokes, forge a shared history, we can build community, we can meet each others’ needs, we can grow and expand our minds and souls.

 

What do we have to lose?

We only have our stories to lose. The stories we tell ourselves and others about who we are. The stories that are a reflection of our ego, not our soul. The stories that we use to structure our friends and family and finances and work and day-to-day lives. The myth of who we think we are. The myth of who we’re afraid we are. The myth of who we pretend to be. One could lose their sense of power and efficacy, their identity in telling the truth about money. All that we have to lose is who we think we are or who we would like to be. We cannot lose ourselves. We can lose the people we were using to hold up the pillars of our narratives, though.

 

What do you want to say?

I want to say that it’s okay to be confused or to not know about money. It’s okay to be making mistakes. It’s okay to feel crippled by the weight of it. It’s okay to revel in abundance. It’s okay to have shame. It’s okay to have whatever feeling you have with money, whatever history you have with money, whatever future you have with money. Money is neutral. It’s not antagonistic. Money is a tool. Anything/everything is okay with money. The only thing that’s not okay is to keep going to sleep and staying unconscious. (And also, I believe that rampant greed is not okay. But I'm not sure the problem with greed is money. I think the root of it may be... something else.)

 

What do you NOT want this to be?

A drunken rollicking sarcastic feast where people’s fears step in and derail the conversation and turn it into a dinner party party.
 

Describe the feeling of what you want the dinner to be.

The feeling should be YES, wow, ow, oh, definitely, whoa, & thank you, friends. Also—warm, safe, inviting, grounded, cozy, friendly, loving, loved, provocative, surprisingly deep, honest, compassionate, empathetic, patient, accepting, not judging, open, communicative, thoughtful, heartfelt, energizing, inspiring. Guests should feel guided through an experience, taken care of, and empowered.

Posted on October 20, 2014 .

Emily Abendroth & Miranda Mellis: A Reading and A Conversation

Emily Abendroth's poetry book, ]Exclosures[, was just released from Ahsahta Press this past May. Her works are often published in limited edition, handcrafted chapbooks by small and micropresses such as Belladonna (New York), Little Red Leaves (Texas), Albion Press (Philadelphia), HorseLess Press (Michigan), and Zumbar Press (San Francisco). She is an active organizer with Decarcerate PA, a grassroots campaign working to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania, and is co-founder of Address This!, an education and empowerment project that provides innovative, social justice correspondence courses to individuals incarcerated in that state.

Miranda Mellis is the author of The Quarry (Trafficker Press, 2013); The Spokes (Solid Objects, 2012);None of This Is Real (Sidebrow Press, 2012); Materialisms (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2009); and The Revisionist (Calamari Press, 2007). This fall she is an artist in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. She teaches at Evergreen State College.

Posted on October 1, 2014 .

On Green River Magazine by Sarah Baugh and Nicole Lavelle

Sarah Baugh and Nicole Lavelle are designers, artist-designers, artists and designers. They kind of walk the line between artist and designer. They work together as Sincerely Interested, and tend toward publication projects about place and environment. They often travel for their work so they can immerse themselves at the site of their projects.

They recently completed a project called the Green River Magazine. 

1. Why Green River?

We came to Green River starting in 2011 and 2012, individually at first to take part in a visiting artist program called the Frontier Fellowship. We both became fascinated with the town, obsessed with its nuances. In the winter, it was the cold and the quiet. In the summer, it was the melon and the beach. We both left after a few weeks feeling like we had not given the town enough of our time. We had caught a glimpse, but there were many layers waiting just out of sight, trails that we had seen the beginning of but hadn't had the time to follow to the end. 

We returned again and again to make projects, and always people would ask "Why Green River?" Initially, logistically, it was because Maria and Jack from Epicenter had chosen it as their home many years before and had invited us to make work there. But as we returned time after time, it became clear that the place was magnetic. The mythologies that seep out of its cracks form a really compelling vision of a place that has been built up by factors common throughout the West—land use, frontier mentality, natural beauty, individualism and communalism, the relationship between guest and host, and so on. This place is unlike anywhere else. At the same time, it is exactly like everywhere else. 

The inevitable conclusion that we gather from the study of a place, with all of its constantly-changing factors, is that it is an unending process. We go back to Green River because it keeps on giving. Each time we return, there are new people to meet, new stories to hear, new understandings, new slot canyons, new controversies, new challenges, and new contexts.

 

2. Why did you choose the magazine form for Green River Magazine? What were you accessing in the form?

The Green River Magazine came out of a similar project we did in 2013 called the Green River Newspaper. The newspaper was completed in one month, from start to finish, and although it was a single, undated issue, there was an immediacy to it. It was intended to be a snapshot of Green River—we wanted to capture a particular and fleeting moment in the history of the town. We wanted to frame and elevate the everyday occurrences that take place in Green River and record them archivally.

For the magazine we wanted to take a deeper look at the town and explore its complexities. This was a year-long project with a larger number of contributors. We delegated authorship whenever possible and acted as facilitators. Instead of a snapshot, we sought to present something more holistic and layered. A lot of people who visit Green River are passing through to someplace else. They are only getting the snapshot. The magazine format lends itself to a more detailed and lasting account of a place. There is more space, the pacing is different, and it's more durable than a newspaper. And magazines traditionally have a wider range of distribution. While newspapers tend to be regionally focused, magazines bring a particular topic well beyond a single geographic location. The magazine is first and foremost for the people of Green River, but also we felt like there is a narrative in the past, present, and future of the town that is meaningful beyond Emery County.

 

Notes:

The Green River Magazine was produced with funding from a 2013 Sappi: Ideas that Matter Grant, and generously hosted by the Epicenter. Copies are available for free in the town of Green River, Utah. If you would like to receive a copy in the mail, the artists will send them out until they run out of shipping budget. You can order one here.

nicolelavelle.com

sarahbaugh.com

sincerelyinterested.com

sincerelyinterested.com/greenriver

ruralandproud.org

designonthedottedline.org/fellows

 

Posted on September 30, 2014 .

Amy Berkowitz on Publishing Ugly Chapbooks

TINY INTERVIEW 9

Why do you publish works of poetry and fiction in a disappointing way?

I started Mondo Bummer in the winter of 2009, when I was living in freezing-cold Michigan and working toward an MFA. While I was grateful for the full funding package the university provided and for the dear friends I’d made, I was feeling alienated from the poetry program. The story that best sums up my alienation takes place on our first day of workshop. Over the summer, a professor had invited students to email him with recent poetry books they liked, so that he could pick a few of them and have us read them together in workshop. I recommended CAConrad’s Deviant Propulsion, and he assigned it to the cohort.

So it’s the first day of workshop and everyone has their copy of Deviant Propulsion on the table in front of them. The professor opens up the discussion, and my cohort says: “I’m angry that I had to spend $14 on this. This isn’t poetry.” “No, it is poetry—but it’s not literature.” “It’s not poetry or literature. This is filth.” “There’s a whole poem about shit.” “The sex scenes are gratuitous.” “And they’re offensive.” “He’s just out to shock.” Flustered people blushing at the cuss words and the queer sex, flipping furiously through the book they hated so much to point out examples of this or that offense. “Here—page 7! Revolting!”

Finally the professor looks at me and says, “Amy, what did you like about the book?” And I say, “I don’t think my opinion of the book is relevant. If people didn’t like it, they didn’t like it. It’s not my job to tell people why they should like a book.”

I was shocked to find myself in such a stubbornly insular poetry program. How could people care about poetry if they weren’t interested in reading anything other than the kind of poetry they already liked to read? How could I care about poetry when I was only reading the kind of poetry that they liked to read?

As the shock wore off, it melted into low-grade anger and depression. I was tired of being asked to engage with poetry that I found inane and lifeless. And I was tired of feeling far away from poetry that mattered to me. I started Mondo Bummer because I wanted to make a space for the kind of poetry I cared about.

There were two reasons for the super-low production values. First, printing books on my printer, corner-stapling them, and folding them was easy. I didn’t have to buy special envelopes or postage; they fit in letter-size envelopes. But this wasn’t the whole reason. The other reason for the “brilliant, deadpan production values” (thanks, Robbie Dewhurst!) was that I was making a statement against pretension. Against poetry (or literature) taking itself seriously.

Another professor in my MFA program spent the majority of a class telling us that there was only one road to success as a poet: The Academy. “I challenge you,” he said to the class, “to name a single famous poet who’s not a professor.” I was too taken aback to speak, but I was heartened to hear one of my classmates say “Alice Notley” without missing a beat.

So Mondo Bummer was taking a stand against this false and dangerous belief that there was only one road to success, that a poet needed the approval of some venerated institution—a university, an established press—to be a Real Poet.

That’s why Mondo Bummer books are so ugly. Sure, you can be a Real Poet and have a couple collections published by Copper Canyon—and that’s great, they’ve put out some great books. But you know what? You can also be a Real Poet and have a shitty-looking chapbook published by some DIY press that nobody’s ever heard of.

Plus, in my fury, I simply did not have the time or the patience to fold, to sew. I wanted to print those chapbooks and get them out there. In that stifling town where CAConrad was considered a talentless pervert desperate for attention, I couldn’t run to the post office fast enough to distribute copies of his Mondo Bummer chapbook, Touch Yourself for Art.

What would it be to publish in a non-disappointing way? Will you ever do that?

I think it would be hard to publish things in a more disappointing way than I do now, so any slight improvement would push Mondo Bummer in a less disappointing direction. After publishing 41 books, I’m starting to get kind of bored with the format. And we’ve already been experimenting with less disappointing books: #35 is a gorgeous full-color broadside by Paul Ebenkamp, #36 is a multi-author chapbook that’s actually bound like a chapbook, and #39 includes ASCII art. Our current approach is about being open to any ideas an author has about how they want their book to look. What I like about the classic Bummer aesthetic, though, is that it makes people feel at ease with their newly acquired chapbooks. I like it when I hand someone a book and they say, “Oh no, I don’t want to get burger on it!” as they’re eating or “Oh no, I don’t want to fold it!” as they try to fit it in their bag, and I can say, “Come on, it’s a Mondo Bummer, it’s fine,” and they’re like, “Oh, true.” I don’t ever want to totally let go of that.

What connections do you see between baby dolphins and Mondo Bummer?

I was eating a burrito at Taqueria Vallarta the other day (after a reading at Alley Cat across the street), and I admired, as I always do, the eatery’s haphazard collection of murals. That place is full of art. On the walls, on the ceiling. Peasants, eagles, an illuminati pyramid, a guitarist who is possibly George Harrison. The tour de force is the large mural on the left wall: A painting of the Golden Gate Bridge, featuring baby dolphins gracefully jumping through the Bay and a handful of 49ers sort of hovering above the water as they throw and catch passes. It’s clear that the 49ers were an addition to the original bridge and dolphins painting. None of these murals make sense together, but on the whole, they create a rich and gently psychedelic tapestry. In a way, Mondo Bummer’s catalogue produces a similar effect. The books are so varied (conversational meditations on gender, a very strange play about a guy who gets a Q-tip stuck in his ear, poems mocking Rod McKuen that are good in spite of themselves, etc.) that together they produce kind of a cacophony. But in a good way, like the murals at Taqueria Vallarta.

What's the best things you've gotten as barter in exchange for Mondo Bummer titles?

Barter makes me so happy. I love getting surprises in the mail. When I put out Thurston Moore’s chapbook, I got a lot of noise cassettes from Europe! My favorite genre of bartered item, though, is the classic letter-size envelope full of weird shit.

I got one in 2010 in exchange for Kendra Grant Malone’s chapbook that was so perfect I preserved it almost as carefully as if it were a time capsule. The highlights include: a plastic card with an image of a hamburger and perforations so you can punch out guitar picks with images of parts of a hamburger on them, a torn piece of paper with a “failed idea for a story” about a hospital where everyone smokes hundreds of cigarettes and has to guess what's wrong with them, and a Blockbuster membership card belonging to someone named EAT, MY FUCKING ASS.

What are you wearing and how did you decide to wear it today?

I had to get dressed quickly because I was late for work. My favorite jeans are high-waisted dark-wash Urban Outfitters jeans that only cost $11 because one of the seams is weird. I’m wearing a grey t-shirt and a vintage oatmeal-colored cardigan with lace panels that my friend Esmé gave to me. I’m wearing a silver ring with 4 out of 7 tiny rhinestones missing that my friend Anne gave me because nobody bought it at the going-away garage sale she had before she moved to Brooklyn. My friend Claire gave me these faded navy blue Keds and my dad gave me these socks for Chanukah. Finally, I’m wearing a necklace my best friend from high school made. Tasha was helping clean up after Hurricane Sandy, and she was working near a glass bead factory that had been destroyed by the storm. Amidst the disaster, there were beautiful glass beads scattered on the ground. She gave me the necklace, a pink / orange / red bead on a tan string, and said, “This was the best one.”

 

Amy Berkowitz is the editor of Mondo Bummer Books and the author of Listen to Her Heart. She lives in San Francisco, where she recently started the Amy's Kitchen Organic Reading Series. She doubts the frozen food company will threaten legal action. 

 

Posted on September 30, 2014 .

We Have Actually Wept Several Times Already

Here is the introduction that Katherine Fontaine read in the redwood grove on March 15, 2014

The Carville Annex is a small press. It is a commune of sorts, where we embezzle time from ourselves to have meetings over the internet and make a magazine and publish books and take walks. The three of us are the CEOs without the salaries. Sarah, Alexis, Katherine.

We publish words and drawings. These words and drawings come out of conversations. And sometimes lead to more conversations. And conversations are the way that we commune. We print these things on actual paper for a couple of reasons: Recently while driving to Oakland, we saw a bunch of billboards for what appeared to be a new fancy tech company that we do not know anything about. Upon seeing the billboard, Sarah said: “maybe, we should get into the data cloud server business. They probably make $60 an hour.” The phrase “data cloud server business” should clarify why we stick to actual paper. Paper is what we know. When we print on actual paper, it feels real. We get to hold it in our hands and send it to people in the actual mail. So thank you for holding these things with us. You are making them real.

Today we are releasing two books to you, the masses.

For the past couple of years Jordan Karnes has written essays for our maga, Actually People Quarterly. We would tweet her the theme of the issue and she would write. (We don't understand twitter so when we say tweet we really mean text or say.) At a certain point, before we even said it out loud, those essays started to become It Hasn’t Stopped Being California Here. Eventually we all said it out loud to each other and with the help of Molly Prentiss, Ryan Funk, Sarah Fontaine, and Junior Clemons (the editors), and Alexis Petty (the designer) it became a book of essays. And we feel so honored we could weep forever and actually have wept several times already at the fact that Jordan let us publish it.

Actually People Quarterly, the place where It Hasn’t Stopped Being California Here began, is the place where most things start for the Annex. It is a place for conversations and question asking. It is a place for advertisements for things that cannot be bought or owned. It is the place that seems to connect everything we are doing, even though most of the time we are unable to articulate how.

While we were working on the last APQ issue of 2013, Sarah started a series of interviews with people from our community who grew up on communes and small-scale farmers and people who have fantasies about living on communes. That interview series became bigger than we imagined. So we created a new form for it, which we are calling an Inquiry. It is more than a maga but not quite a book. This special edition Inquiry is taking the place of the Spring APQ issue this year. It is called This Eventual Future Amazingness.

It feels really special that these two things, It Hasn’t Stopped Being California Here and This Eventual Future Amazingness, are coming out at the same time because the process in creating them feels so connected. They both have come out of conversations with Actual People. Which is the communing that happens through everything at the Annex.

So thank you all for coming here today and communing with us.

This event is supported by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it received from The James Irvine Foundation.

Posted on September 30, 2014 .

Leithian Shore on The Release of Blah Newspapers

TINY INTERVIEW 8

I explained to Leithian what an interview was and then we did one on her new project, BLAH NEWSPAPERS. She was eating apples while we talked. "My new rule is instead of looking at Blah Newspapers, what you do is, create your own. And you can choose what a Blah Newspaper is to you."

Posted on September 30, 2014 .