Sunday, December 25, 2011

No Tell Motel's best of 2011 poetry books

No Tell Motel has listed Tavern author Greta Wrolstad's book Notes on Sea & Shore as one of 2011's best poetry books. Click here for more info.

Notes on Sea and Shore was our best-selling book this year, and it will shortly enter its second printing.

Happy holidays, and check back with us in 2012 for several exciting new releases, including full-length collections by Nelly Sachs, William Stafford, Eunice Odio, Tomas Tranströmer, David Wevill, and Ferenc Juhász, among others!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Glowing Enigmas

We're just putting the final touches on one of our upcoming full-length titles, Glowing Enigmas by Nelly Sachs (winner of the 1966 Nobel Prize in Literature). We're particularly excited about this book because it's never before appeared in its entirety in an English translation. To make life all the sweeter, the translator is Michael Hamburger. If all goes as planned, we'll have this book off to the printers in early January. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rita Dove and the individual voice

The recent publication of poet Rita Dove's The Penguin Book of 20th Century American Poetry (see our last post) has, like all anthologies, brought out the best and worst in the critics. Dove's taste, editorial ethics, aesthetics, and championing of poets was recently (and shockingly) attacked in an article by critic and author Helen Vendler. Vendler's allegations and Dove's responses are highlighted in Dove's The New York Review of Books essay "Defending an Anthology." By all means, click here to read the essay in full.

One of the many (and there are many) conversations to be had in light of this recent attack is the role of the editor vs. the role of the taste-maker. At the heart of Dove vs. Vendler is a simple and important division that has enormous implications for anyone in the editorial world. Dove's editorial lens is that of the individual writer, reader, and admirer; her anthology is assembled through one set of eyes, those of Rita Dove. Vendler's stance is that of the self-appointed protector of the group, which, in this case, is a small handful of American poets Vendler considers the only worthy of exaltation and critical discourse. If poetry is the art of the individual voice and the world that voice represents, then it seems Dove has done excellent work. Vendler's attitude suggests something more sinister and colonial: that poetry is a gated community, a pay-to-play social club where only one opinion and attitude (and, so it seems, race) is favored. Vendler's attitude implies that the anthologist, editor, or critic has a kingly and elevated right and power to define what is worthy and, by omission, to define what is unworthy. Dove's attitude is that an editor is one voice tasked to highlight other individual voices, and that this representation is a leaping-off point into further conversation, not an arriving point of definition or ascension into the canon (whatever that is). Wallace Stevens knew all too well that there are not merely thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird, but that the avenues into perception and art are indeed numerous and numinous.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tavern authors in new Penguin Anthology

Congrats are in order for two Tavern Books authors, Adrian C. Louis and Charles Simic. Both poets are showcased in Rita Dove's new edition of the Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry.

When we think of Tavern Books, we think of it as an ongoing and expanding anthology, a catalog that represents the kinds of poets and poetry from around the world that deserve inclusion in what we've termed The Living Library.

Happy reading, and check back often. We have over a dozen exciting full-length paperbacks under contract and in the production queue.


Book Drive going strong!

Over the past few months, Tavern Books has been gathering poetry books and distributing them to some of  Oregon's more remote, underfunded, and small public libraries. Since we got the ball rolling on this project we've placed well over 1,000 books in libraries across the state.

Of course, we couldn't be doing this without all of the incredible support we've received from individuals, publishers, and institutions. Just this week we received 2 boxes of amazing poetry books in pristine shape from Lannan Foundation.

And we're just getting started. As this program continues to develop, we will add another page to our website with a list of libraries that are participating in our program, as well as a list of all the good folks who have donated books, time, and money to this very worthwhile cause.

We want everyone to have access to poetry books, no matter where they live or how small their local public libraries may be.

Click here for more information about this project. And remember, no donation is too small. Every book and every dollar counts.

Cheers, and heartfelt thanks to those who have supported this book drive with the gift of books and financial donations.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Zubair Ahmed reading in San Francisco Nov 19th

Tavern author Zubair Ahmed will be reading from his book Ashulia November 19 at the Hungryman Gallery in San Francisco. Joining him will be Jesse Nathan and Yosefa Raz. This reading will mark the closing reception for the current exhibit at Hungryman, IMPACT. For more information, click here. The reading and closing reception run from 6 - 10 pm.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Congrats Jesmyn Ward!

Congrats are in order for Jesmyn Ward, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction. Jesmyn is a friend of Tavern Books, and we can't congratulate her enough for her stunning and well-deserved achievement. Here's to Salvage the Bones!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tavern author Di Piero publishes new poetry collection

Congratulations are in order for Tavern Books author W. S. Di Piero (Night of Shooting Stars). His newest collection of poetry, Nitro Nights, is just out from Copper Canyon Press. Click here for ordering information.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tranströmer's "Six Winters" broadside now available

To complement our publication of Tomas Tranströmer's For the Living and the Dead, we've published this broadside featuring the book's cover art (an ink drawing by our in-house artist Cecilia Yang) and an excerpt from "Six Winters." Click here for ordering information.


Tranströmer's For the Living and the Dead ready for pre-order

John F. Deane's translation of Tomas Tranströmer's 1989 collection For the Living and the Dead (För levande och döda) originally appeared with The Dedalus Press (Ireland) in 1994. Published in the United States for the first time, this new edition contains a revised translation as well as a new introduction and translator's note. For the Living and the Dead contains some of Tranströmer's most widely anthologized poems, including “Vermeer” and “Romanesque Arches.” At long last, this important work from one of the world's most celebrated poets is back in print in a single volume.

For the Living and the Dead is the fourth and final Tranströmer book we're publishing this year. This book is available for pre-order through our website--click here for more details. Also available is a broadside featuring an excerpt from Tranströmer's poem "Six Winters."

On For the Living and the Dead, translator John F. Deane notes:

Tranströmer's power with imagery is unsurpassed; a poem of his gathers disparate images from several sources and offers a poetry that is immensely rich, deep and wide-ranging. The imagery remains true to the actual world and yet discovers mysteries that touch on a universal human memory. His power emanates from such conjunctions, going beyond what he calls the “truth barrier.” His work honours his native Sweden and yet ranges the world... His is a deeply human and resonating voice, capacious, exciting, and immensely readable.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Tranströmer's Baltics available for pre-order!

We're particularly excited to be bringing you this long-overdue reprint of Samuel Charters' translation of Tomas Tranströmer's Baltics, a classic of Swedish literature and a masterpiece by any standard.

Tomas Tranströmer published this groundbreaking collection in 1974. In this book-length poem, Tranströmer creates a literal and figurative landscape where his family history becomes the psychological, perhaps even the spiritual, history of the poet himself. Time, geography, a family, an island, a country, the labor of seamanship - these elements, and so many more, show a voice whose multiplicities and conjunctions intertwine to resemble something like the layers of a symphony, a symphony of narrative, of the minimal, the liminal, the image, collisions, and fragments.

Baltics, as its plural name suggests, is an experiment in the conflation of time, a theme that has come to define Tranströmer's career as a poet. Out of print for nearly 40 years, this new edition contains a revised translation, a new afterword and translator's note, a series of photographs by Ann Charters, and the original Swedish text en face.

Of this new and expanded edition of Balitcs, Michael Burkard comments:

"It is especially moving to me now, with Tomas Tranströmer having just won the Nobel Prize in Literature, to have the generous and far-reaching Baltics available again, and in such a keen translation. Tomas Tranströmer leaves an indelible mark upon readers everywhere. The gifts of his poems are offered generously and without conditions. I cannot think of another poet who has left more lasting impressions - impressions which never cease, but instead keep creating new spheres of realities and imaginations. He is constantly a poet of nearness. We need Tomas Tranströmer's poetry as much, if not more, in this 21st century as we needed it in the last."

We hope to have this book printed by early January. Click here to make a pre-order. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Books in the works...

Just a quick post to keep you up to speed with our many exciting titles in the works. Poems from the German, Swedish, Spanish, Hungarian, and English. Reprints from Poet Laureates and Nobel Prize winners. Poems never before translated into English. 12 full-length collections and 1 hand-sewn pamphlet. Books currently in production: Winterward by William Stafford, Batlics by Tomas Tranströmer, Selected Poems by Ferenc Juhász. Stay tuned!

My Blue Piano by Else Lasker-Schüler,
translated from the German by Eavan Boland

Baltics by Tomas Tranströmer,
translated from the Swedish by Samuel Charters
with photographs by Ann Charters

The Wounded Alphabet: Collected Poems Volume I: 1963-1983
by George Hitchcock

Glowing Enigmas by Nelly Sachs,
translated from the German by Michael Hamburger

Collected Poems: Volume One by David Wevill

Fire Water World and Among the Dog Eaters
by Adrian C. Louis

Collected Poems: Volume Two by David Wevill

The Fire’s Journey: Volume One by Eunice Odio,
translated from the Spanish by Keith Ekiss
with Sonia P. Ticas and Mauricio Espinoza

We Women by Edith Södergran,
translated from the Swedish by Samuel Charters

Selected Poems by Ferenc Juhász,
translated from the Hungarian by David Wevill

Who Whispered Near Me by Killarney Clary

Winterward by William Stafford

The Wounded Alphabet: Collected Poems Volume II: 1984-2010
by George Hitchcock

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tranströmer's Prison broadside now available

To complement our release of Tomas Tranströmer's Prison, we've printed 5o promotional broadsides that feature the cover drawing by our in-house artist Cecilia Yang and a poem from the collection.


Tranströmer's Prison now available

Tomas Tranströmer's Prison is the second of three books we're publishing this year by the 2011 Nobel Laureate.

Tomas Tranströmer worked for several years as a psychologist for juvenile delinquents. In 1959 he visited his colleague Åke Nordin, who was also a poet, at the Hällby youth prison in the southern part of Sweden. Later that year he sent Nordin a sequence of nine haiku, giving his impressions of the prison milieu. These poems were rediscovered in 2001 and are presented here in a bilingual edition.

This book was first published as a limited-edition letterpress chapbook in Sweden by Edda Edition in 2001. In this new bilingual edition, we are proud to bring you the original text plus an additional essay by Jonas Ellerström that traces the roots of the poems as well as the relationship between Åke Nordin and Tomas Tranströmer. This unique and wonderful collection, translated by Malena Mörling, will add a new glimpse into the life and work of one of the world's most celebrated poets.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Tranströmer broadside

Our latest broadside, an excerpt from Tomas Tranströmer's Notes From the Land of Lap Fever, is now available.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Tomas Tranströmer's First Poems + Lapland Essay

Our 15th Tavern Books title!

In case you missed the great news, the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. The timing for this new Tavern Books title couldn't be better! We are thrilled that Tomas Tranströmer is the 2011 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and we are equally thrilled to be publishing this amazing book. Here are the details:

This book collects two separate but related works, each translated for the first time into English by the noted poet Malena Mörling.

Tomas Tranströmer’s First Poems is a critical study by Jonas Ellerström that examines the connection between the poetry Tranströmer wrote as a teenager and the poetry that appeared in his first book, 17 Dikter (17 Poems). As requested by Tomas Tranströmer, the ten poems featured in Ellerström’s essay are never to be included in Tranströmer’s Collected Poems, making this publication the only venue in English where one can read the Nobel Laureate’s juvenilia.

The second piece in this volume, Notes From the Land of Lap Fever, is a lyrically driven personal essay written and published by Tranströmer in 1953. Like much of the poet’s work, this essay showcases a man in search of meaning, a writer whose journey into Lapland begins: “So, I’ve listened long enough to this timid cry from the wilderness. I am going back there perhaps to retrieve a part of myself I might have left behind.”

We've also printed a broadside with an excerpt from Note's From the Land of Lap Fever. Here's a link.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Congrats to Tavern author Tomas Tranströmer!

The Swedish Academy announced today that the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature has been given to Tomas Tranströmer! We have 3 Tranströmer books in the works here at Tavern Books, a reprint of Samuel Charters' translation of Baltics (which will include photographs by Ann Charters), and two books translated by Malena Mörling, Prison and Tomas Tranströmer's First Poems and Notes From the Land of Lap Fever. Stay tuned...these titles will be available in the next few months. Three cheers for Tomas Tranströmer!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book Drive for Rural and Tribal Libraries Going Strong!

Dear Tavern fans,

Many heartfelt thanks to those of you who have sent us books for our book drive for rural and tribal Oregon Libraries. To date, we have received over 1,000 books of poetry from poetry lovers of every stripe: book dealers, book collectors, poets, professors, editors, students, novelists, community activists, literacy advocates...and the list goes on.

If you're not familiar with this project, then please read on. Here's the gist:

Please join Tavern Books in building and sustaining the poetry collections in Oregon’s rural and tribal libraries. Paulann Petersen, Oregon’s current Poet Laureate, has made our book drive a priority for her upcoming term as our state’s poet. The libraries benefiting from this program are those who serve communities of 5,000 or fewer. You can support this book drive by sending us your used or new poetry books, poetry anthologies, and books pertaining to poetry and poetics. No donation is too large or too small. Every book counts! We will acquire these books and redistribute them to participating rural and tribal libraries. Tavern Books is committed to making great works of poetry available to the reading public. Thank you for your support.

Feel free to send your book donations to:

Tavern Books
attn: Carl Adamshick
20 NE 30th Avenue
Portland, Oregon

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tavern author Di Piero featured on Poetry Daily

Check out W. S. Di Piero's translation of Leonardo Sinisgalli on Poetry Daily!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hitchcock and Louis available for pre-order

Our next two titles, Adrian C. Louis's Archeology and George Hitchcock's Six-Minute Poems, are now available for pre-order. These titles should be back from the printer and stitched together by the end of the month. We are extremely proud to be publishing these major American poets. Throughout their careers, both Louis and Hitchcock have been defiant forces in the political / artistic landscape of American poetry and poetics. Louis opts for a hard-nosed, bitter realism that is damning, chilling, yet big-hearted. Hitchcock's vision is that of an absurd and surreal trickster. When asked to state his occupation in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee, Hitchcock replied:

"My profession is a gardener. I do underground work on plants."

Cheers, and happy reading!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Adrian C. Louis in the works

Just a quick note to let you know that Adrian C. Louis's Archeology is in production. This chapbook of new work is as heartbreaking as it is beautiful. We hope to release this book along with Six-Minute Poems by George Hitchcock sometime in the next month. Stay tuned!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tavern author Jo McDougall's new memoir

Great news. Jo McDougall, author of Under an Arkansas Sky (Tavern Books, 2010), has just published her long-awaited memoir, Daddy's Money, with the University of Arkansas Press. McDougall brings the same lyrical concision and truth-telling to her prose that she does to her poetry. We can't recommend Daddy's Money highly enough. Congratulations, Jo!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Blue Rust by Tavern author Joseph Millar

Tavern Books author Joseph Millar has just published his third full-length collection, Blue Rust, with Carnegie Mellon University Press. Join us in celebrating!

For those looking to buy a copy of Blue Rust, you can do so by ordering directly from Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Cheers, and congratulations to Joseph!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ashulia hot off the press!

We just received Zubair Ahmed's book from the printer, and we're excited to announce that it's now available for purchase on our website. Ashulia is Mr. Ahmed's first book publication, and we're thrilled to bring his work to its deserving audience.

"Zubair Ahmed is the kind of poet that reminds me to keep my heart open and the door to my soul unlocked. In one poem Mr. Ahmed writes, 'I walk these hallways with an arrow in my tongue.' I would follow this poet down any hallway in the world."

-Matthew Dickman

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Visit us at Wordstock, Oct 6-9

If you find yourself in Portland this October, please stop by the Tavern Books table at Wordstock, Portland's annual celebration of books, writers, readers, publishers, and literary activists. We'll be at the Tavern Books table October 6-9. We're sharing a space with Airlie Press, an Oregon cooperative publishing house that specializes in poetry. Our founding editor, Carl Adamshick, will be on hand, so stop by and pick his brain about the press, future titles, and whatever else strikes your fancy.

Cheers, and happy reading!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

4 new broadsides just out

Just a quick note to let you know that we received 4 new broadsides from our printer here in Portland--"Be Careful" by Natan Zach; [The rat can't resist] by Yosa Buson; "Shaving" by Zubair Ahmed, and an excerpt from "Notes on Sea & Shore" by Greta Wrolstad. We love these broadsides. They showcase the talents of our authors as well as the vision of our in-house designer, Cecilia Yang.

Also, we'll be getting proofs for Zubair Ahmed's book Ashulia this week. We'll let you know when this hits the shelves.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Many many thanks!

Dear Tavern fans--just a quick thank-you note for the support you've given the press lately. There are many myths in the book world that we've always found ridiculous. One of the big ones is that nobody buys poetry books. Well, the proof is in the pudding--this is just one mail day at the Tavern Books home office. And most of these are limited-edition pamphlets. We have faith in the books we publish, and we're delighted to see that you do, too! Cheers, and many thanks!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book drive for rural libraries, 501(c)(3), and the future!

Greetings, Tavern fans. Just a quick update to let you know that, as of last week, we filed our 501(c)(3) application for charitable, not-for-profit status with the IRS. We're excited to transition into the nonprofit world, and we have a ton of plans for both future publishing and community outreach.

One project we're particularly excited about is building and sustaining the poetry collections in rural Oregon libraries as well as the libraries and/or community centers of Oregon’s indigenous peoples. You can help us get these projects rolling by sending us your used or new poetry books, poetry anthologies, and books pertaining to poetry and poetics. No donation is too large or too small. Every book counts! We will acquire these books and redistribute them to rural libraries and indigenous communities. Tavern Books is committed to making great works of poetry available to the reading public.

Feel free to send your book donations to:

attn: Carl Adamshick
20 NE 30th Avenue
Portland, Oregon

Many thanks! Feel free to forward this link to anyone who might take an interest. Cheers, and happy reading!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

George Hitchcock, The Last Poems

George Hitchcock (1914-2010) is one of the true inspirations in the landscape of postwar poetry in the United States. If you haven't already, head down to your local antiquarian bookseller or rare books librarian and check out some back issues of Hitchcock's kayak magazine (1964-1984). Take a seat, because these issues of kayak are, bar none, the most forward-thinking and brilliantly edited (and decorated) magazines in recent poetic history.

We are thrilled to announce that we'll be printing Hitchcock's posthumous work 6-Minute Poems sometime this fall. 6-Minute Poems will collect the final poems George was writing as he entered his 96th year.

For further reading, check out the Hitchcock omnibus One-Man Boat edited by Robert McDowell and Joseph Bednarik (Story Line Press, 2003). Click here to read Mr. Hitchcock's New York Times obituary.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Notes On Sea & Shore flying out the door!

Tavern Books has been filling book orders and marching to the Post Office every day (literally!) in July since we released Greta Wrolstad's Notes On Sea & Shore. We are thrilled to have Greta's book in our catalog, and, as with all of our titles, we will keep this book in print for all to enjoy. Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Zach, Wrolstad, and Buson books hot off the press

We've just added three great new titles to our catalog: Greta Wrolstad's Notes on Sea & Shore; Yosa Buson's Buson : Haiku (translated by Franz Wright); and Natan Zach's The Countries We Live In (translated by Peter Everwine). All three titles mark a first. Notes on Sea & Shore is the late Greta Wrolstad's first book publication. Buson : Haiku is the first time any of Franz Wright's Buson translations have been in print. And The Countries We Live In, in addition to being the most comprehensive Zach book in print, is the only book of Natan Zach's poetry available in English.

Also added to the catalog are new broadsides by Natan Zach, Zubair Ahmed, and Yosa Buson.

Currently in the works are books by Else Lasker-Schüler (Eavan Boland, trans.), Tomas Tranströmer (Samuel Charters, trans.), and David Wevill.

Cheer's and happy reading!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Congratulations Tavern author Zubair Ahmed!

Congratulations are in order for Zubair Ahmed, whose first full-length collection, City of Rivers, has recently been accepted for publication by McSweeney's and will appear as a title in their forthcoming McSweeney's Poetry Series. Zubair's chapbook, Ashulia, is soon to be published with Tavern Books. You can find some of Zubair's handiwork in forthcoming issues of The Believer and Tin House.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Many titles just around the corner!

The months of June and July will be big for Tavern Books. Among our forthcoming titles is the book featured here, Buson : Haiku, a collection of 39 Buson poems (including the last poem Buson wrote) translated by Pulitzer Prize winner Franz Wright.

Hot off the press is Peter Everwine's translation of Natan Zach's early selected poems, The Countries We Live In. We should receive those books from the printer in the next two weeks.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Red Dragonfly Press

For those of you looking to get your fine-press fix, check out Scott King's handiwork at Red Dragonfly Press. Scott casts his own type at an on-site foundry, sets all of Red Dragonfly's letterpress titles, and showcases literature in the way it's meant to be seen. What's striking about Red Dragonfly, and what sets them apart from most high-end printers, is the shocking affordability of their titles. Where else can you buy a hand-made, hand-set book for a mere $15?

Among the Red Dragonfly roster: John Balaban, Marianne Boruch, Stephen Crane, Abderrahmane Djelfaoui, Louise Erdrich, Albert Goldbarth, Dorianne Laux, Barry Lopez, W. S. Merwin, Yannis Ritsos, and Michael Waters.

Featured here is Bestiary, a book from Tavern author Joseph Millar.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let us now praise the life of Peter Howard

Peter Howard, the mastermind behind Serendipity Books in Berkeley, California, died quietly on Thursday evening, March 31. Peter was and will continue to be a giant--a superhero--in the antiquarian book field. Browsing the seemingly unorganized stacks at Serendipity was a rite of passage. The poetry section alone contained nearly half a million books (on crank-driven, mobile shelving). And God only knows how many nooks, crannies, and warehouses of poetry Peter had in addition to the poetry titles at the book store. I once asked Peter what, as a bookseller, had been the most interesting poetry book he'd had the pleasure of selling. He said something like, "I hope you're not really asking me that! How could I choose!? Maybe some ephemera signed from Whitman to Emerson? This is an impossible and pointless question..." Peter was gruff, humorous, enigmatic, and ridiculously passionate. His encyclopedic knowledge and historical grasp of printed culture was astounding, to say the very least. Scanning my shelves and framed broadsides, I can spot some great gems that I picked up from Peter over the past four years. Among them are three copies of a Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer broadside (signed by both authors) called "Along the Lines." I never knew Peter as a friend, I knew him as a bookseller and a fellow book nut. I never left Serendipity without a book or some piece of random poetry ephemera. And I never paid for a book without Peter glancing over his glasses, grumbling in my general direction, then crossing out the listed price only to replace it with something far lower. I mourn his passing, celebrate his legacy, and raise my glass.

--Michael McGriff

Support indie print culture--underwrite a Tavern title!

A few months ago Tavern author Paul Merchant (translator of Yannis Ritsos's Twelve Poems About Cavafy) asked us if he could underwrite the publication of Charles Simic's Prodigy. We were delighted! As a thank-you we printed the note "This edition of Prodigy was generously underwritten by Paul Merchant" on the inside flap. This has now turned into a bit of a tradition at the press. David Wevill is underwriting our forthcoming Zubair Ahmed title, Ashulia; Joseph Millar and Dorianne Laux are underwriting Peter Everwine's translation of Natan Zach's The Countries We Live In; and Matthew Dickman and Britta Ameel are underwriting Greta Wrolstad's forthcoming book, Notes on Sea & Shore.

If you're interested in underwriting a title, please contact us for more info: If you would like to support the press, but only have the few crumpled dollars you pulled out of your Levi's before doing the laundry, then you can donate ANY amount, no matter how small, via the secure donation button on our website. Everyone at the press works for free. We run Tavern Books out of our love for print culture, poetry in translation, and the revival of out-of-print works. It's been our rule from the get-go that each and every penny we get will go exclusively and entirely into the printing costs of our books.

Cheers, and continued thanks for your support!

3 Tavern titles to go into a second printing

If you're the type who likes to buy first editions and first printings, then you better act fast. Jo McDougall's Under an Arkansas Sky, Ferenc Juhász's The Boy Changed into a Stag Clamors at the Gate of Secrets, and Joseph Millar's Ocean are all headed into their second printings!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Simic's Prodigy hot off the press

Great News! We got our copies of Charles Simic's Prodigy from the printers yesterday, stitched them up, and started filling orders. We're particularly excited about this title because it showcases both the poetry of Simic and the "Prodigy Drawings" of Charles Seluzicki, a veteran fine-press publisher who has designed and printed several high-end, limited-edition books for some of the greatest poets of the 20th century. This book is limited to a run of 200, so don't miss your chance to add this volume to your poetry library!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Broadsides now available!

Our broadsides are now available for purchase exclusively through our website.

Yannis Ritsos, David Wevill, Paul Merchant, Greta Wrolstad, Gwyneth Lewis, Jo McDougall, Ferenc Juhász, W. S. Di Piero, Leonardo Sinisgalli, Joseph Millar...and more to come.

All of these broadsides are printed on 8.5" x 5.5" 80# cardstock. These full-color keepsakes feature the cover art (the handiwork of our own Cecilia Yang) and sample poem from each of our Tavern titles. The best part: they cost a mere $4. A set of all 8 can be purchased for $20. Cheers!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Lucania" by Leonardo Sinisgalli

Here's a glimpse into W. S. Di Piero's translation of Sinisgalli's Night of Shooting Stars. See "Lucania" below.


To the pilgrim crossing its frontiers,
coming down through the Alburni pass
or following the sheep path on the slopes of the Serra,
to the kite snapping the horizon line
with a snake in its claws, to the emigrant, to the soldier,
whoever comes back from refuge or exile or sleeps
in sheep pens, to the shepherd, sharecropper, salesman,
Lucania opens its parched plains,
its valleys where rivers crawl
like rivers of dust.

The spirit of silence spreads everywhere
in my grieving province. From Elea to Metaponto,
sophistical and golden, baffling and shy,
it drinks holy oil in churches, goes hooded
in houses, dresses like a monk in caves, grows
with grass on the outskirts of old crumbling villages.

The sun slanting on laurel, the good
bighorned sun, tongue of sweet light,
sun greedy for children, here in the piazzas!
It slogs along like an ox, on the grass
and stones it leaves enormous stains
swarming with ghosts.

Land of huge mamas, of fathers dark
and radiant as skeletons, overrun by roosters
and dogs, woods and limestone, lean
land where the grain toils miserably
(wheat, corn, semolina)
and the wine is dark and chewy
(mint from Agri, basil from the Basento!)
and olives taste of oblivion,
flavor of sorrow.

In tinderbox volcanic air
the trees weirdly pulse and breathe,
Oaks fatten with heaven’s essence.
Rubble lies untouched for centuries:
nobody dares overturn a stone, fearing the horror.
I know hell’s navel lies under every stone.
It takes a boy to lean over the edge
of the abyss and scoop nectar
from shoot-clusters swarming with mosquitoes
and tarantulas.

I’ll come back, alive under your red rain,
I’ll come back, guiltless, to beat the drum,
to tie my mule to the gate,
to catch snails in the garden.
Will I see the smoking stubble, the brushwood,
the ditches? Will I hear the blackbird singing
under the beds, and the cat
singing on the tombs?

--Leonardo Sinisgalli

Translated by W. S. Di Piero

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good press for Tavern author Gwyneth Lewis

Former National Poet of Wales and Tavern Books author Gwyneth Lewis received some stellar press for her recent collection, The Meat Tree (Seren Books, 2010). Here are some choice words from the Times Literary Supplement:

"The bar is set high but The Meat Tree, Gwyneth Lewis's gripping and intelligent exploration of the fourth branch of the Mabinogi, Blodeuwedd's tale, does not disappoint."

"Gwyneth Lewis's astute handling to time... enables her to combine the archetypal themes of myth with concerns that preoccupy our twenty-first century consciousness. Power, morality, man and nature, gender relations, art and reality, and above all, notions of separation and exile, heritage and loss, are refracted through the prism of a spatially and temporally distant future, constantly in motion against both our own present and the mythic Blodeuwedd past. These temporal shifts are matched by Lewis's fearless mixing of the modes of poetry, prose and drama in her quest to conjure a world that will resonate long after the tale has ended, in the reader's mind."

"The successful recreation of myth requires a wiliness that exceeds that of the original mythmakers, and Lewis patiently and skillfully demonstrates that willingness in presenting to her readers 'the battle between meat and magic, between body and imagination.'"

"'What kind of being does a virtual world create?' asks Gwyneth Lewis's Campion. 'If two negatives make a positive, then can two virutals make an actual? Have we just conjured up a person who's real? Or one who is death?' Such thoughtful probing of existential and artistic issues shows a significant respect for the challenge that the Seren project presents to its writers."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Broadsides coming soon!

We have just printed a limited run of broadsides from each of our Tavern authors. These 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 broadsides will be available for purchase through our website in the next few weeks.

Greta Wrolstad NOTES ON SEA & SHORE

We are pleased to announce that we'll soon be printing Greta Wrolstad's Notes on Sea & Shore. This long, sequential poem is an absolute stunner, and we can't wait to get it into the hands of its deserving readers.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tavern author Di Piero publishes new essay collection

Tavern Books author W. S. Di Piero, translator of Leonardo Sinisgalli's Night of Shooting Stars, has just published a new collection of art writings with Pressed Wafer. When Can I See You Again?, Di Piero's fourth collection of nonfiction, is available directly from Pressed Wafer or from Small Press Distribution. Keep your ear to the rail for Di Piero's forthcoming poetry collection, Nitro Nights, due to be released in 2011 from Copper Canyon Press.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Welcome to Tavern Books

There's a lot coming down the pipe here at Tavern Books. We have 8 new and forthcoming titles, so check here for news and updates regarding all-things-Tavern. At the moment we're working on both our trade and fine editions of Charles Simic's "Prodigy." Our latest addition to the catalog is Peter Everwine's translation of Natan Zach's The Countries We Live In, Zach's selected early poems. The publication of this volume will mark the only volume of Zach's work in any country.

Cheers! --The Editors