Nic Sebastian's new chapbook, Dark and Like a Web,edited by Phoenicia Publishing's Beth Adams, has just been published under the Nanopress model that Nic invented. Under this type of publishing, the author partners with an editor to work closely on the manuscript until it is ready for self-publication. The book is then made available in various forms, including an e-book, a free .pdf download, an audio book/CD, and an inexpensive print edition sold at cost through Lulu.
When Nic first asked me to edit these poems, I was excited because they speak to me personally, and were already close to being ready for publication. I would have been happy to publish the chapbook at Phoenicia. These are "via negativa" poems, looking at the divine obliquely, and through obscurity. The book includes process notes from both Nic and me, and an explanation of how we came up with "Broiled Fish and Honeycomb Nanopress." We both hope you enjoy this project as much as we did! Here's one of many favorite poems from the collection, but I urge you to read the whole chapbook, where a greater meaning emerges as one poem and one experience is followed by another.
the girl and the hours
the girl lives in an iron shack
her homeland is red
it is dry the passing of the first hour is rich
blue salt, the second
the girl pulls up
a rough wooden chair
in hot wind
she observes the sleek hours
passing in single file before her
on a catwalk
one is smoking vermillion
another dream black and muscled
dark whale song
the striding hours are elegant
they have a fine sense of color
and they are not afraid
the girl watches deeply
under constant sun, never feels
she is alone
As I wrote in my editor's note:
"When we create, I think we all long for the close reading, the deeply attentive listener or viewer. Making our work public is an act of courage, risking not only dismissal or rejection, but also intimacy. Editing, by its very nature, requires an intimate engagement with the text, closer perhaps than anyone’s but the author. I see that intimacy as both a responsibility and a great privilege.
I’m changed each time I enter deeply into the words and world of other writers who have asked me to edit their work. Certain phrases and ideas enter me, and they stay. In one of my favorite poems in this collection, Nic asks, “how have you sharpened/into this thin bright hook/pulling me after you still/as though you were some great moon and I/some helpless tide.” This stunning image speaks equally to me about the pull of the divine, and the pull of the creative impulse, two forces not so separate as they may seem."
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