Friday, April 30, 2010
When I say there's no other time I'd rather be alive than now, it's because of poetry, and it's because of communities of poets, and it's because of their commitment to poetry, one another, and how they express themselves. And their magazines. One of my absolute favorite poetry magazines is TRY, out of the Bay Area. It reminds me of BLANK GUN SILENCER, and a few others from the 80's, fast, put together fast, lovingly, the urgency of YOU HAVE TO READ THIS NOW is all over what David Brazil and Sara Larsen are doing. And the Bay Area is an amazing home of poetry, which I love just about as much as Philadelphia and Baltimore!
The cover to issue 32 is above. Some AMAZING poems by Suzanne Stein, Alli Warren, Brandon Brown, Clark Coolidge, Julian of Nowherr, Gary Sullivan, and others! David and Sara agreed to a mini interview about TRY. One question I almost asked but wanted to keep my own answer for the question to myself was, why call it TRY. It seems obvious, but then some things which seem obvious are not at all.
Hats off to David Brazil and Sara Larsen, two marvelous poets putting out one of the best poetry magazines of our time!
Enjoy the interview below which we conducted via e-mail,
To contact the editors: firstname.lastname@example.org
TRY comes out twice a week, right? This obviously keeps you both busy for poetry, and do you do it for that reason? I mean do you do it to stay so absorbed for and in poetry? I think it's great whatever your reason!
BRAZIL & LARSEN
TRY comes out once every two weeks, so roughly twice a month. Every so often this nutty schedule might be interrupted for a week or so because we are out of town, or out of money!
We started TRY mainly because there were some things that we really wanted to see in the poetry world and that we felt we could contribute. One is that we wanted something that reflected the more or less immediate concerns and poetics of the multiple communities we know of or have access to. We wanted circulation that didn't take months to come out, that we could all use and talk about immediately in any way that makes sense to us (all of us, i mean -- david and sara and anyone who might read TRY). and we wanted HARD COPY EVIDENCE THAT STICKS AROUND, i.e. not something floating around the bowels of the internet. something we could touch. we looked at the artists and writers we are into and we realized that we had access to work they did, 20, 40, 60 years ago! you know, we could find their little mags and all the fugitive work they did (in some cases, this "fugitive work" many years later became their best known work). we wanted to be part of that. we wanted to express immediacy, as well as be of use hopefully somewhere decades ahead.
And now that we've been around for almost 2 years (it will be 2 years on May 30!), we definitely consider ourselves lucky to have access to and read and publish the many unbelievable writers that have come to our pages, both well known and not-as-known. the "known" part doesn't matter, as much as the work does and most of the work seems to reflect a poetic renaissance - or perhaps i should say the work reflects multiple renaissances - who's artistic impulses are both multifarious and often seemingly at odds - but the "at odds" part doesn't seem to play out as much as the solidarity of writerly & artistic experiences / vocations / impulses. it's rad! we find it really exciting. and luckily, we've been able to cull it into a little nexus.
The covers are always an exciting thing to study. What's the process behind the covers you put together?
BRAZIL & LARSEN
The covers often present themselves sometime in the two weeks before we sit down to cut and paste the next issue together. I'd say there is often a synchronicity to what we think of secretly as our reigning motif of the issue (which we don't announce ever, except maybe occasionally when drunk at parties) and our "discovery" of what the cover will be.
Tell us about some of the discoveries you've made as a result of doing this magazine.
BRAZIL & LARSEN
Whoa. We've (re)discovered that one can certainly be super-broke and still create something like this. You might struggle, but it's possible. Not only is it possible, it's an imperative. It's (part of) why TRY is called TRY! We live in a culture that is basically trying to kill us all creatively. and we have to find strategies to not let that happen. We just can't let it happen. It's amazing how the "little things" like making a bi-monthly poetry/art zine, turn out to not be so little in this regard.
It's difficult for us to get it out here on the east coast. Is there a way to get it? A subscription? Part of me loves how you let it migrate with the tides of poets coming in and out of the Bay Area, but it would also be great for people to get their hands on TRY all over the place.
BRAZIL & LARSEN
Yeah, how to circulate it to other places beyond the Bay Area has always been a little bit hard for us to figure out. I mean, even around here, you aren't going to get a copy unless you are at the reading or readings where we are giving it away. It's just a limitation we've come up against.
Initially, we were sending the magazine to people out there randomly, but we were too overtaxed and something needed to be cut out in order for us to continue having the energy to make the magazine at all - so the mailing was cut out. Also, it was costing us alot of money that we didn't really have. But we would love to figure out some way to make it work. So far, our best idea has been loading up visiting poets (and there are many!) with TRY's to distribute in their hometown. Sometimes this is somewhere on the east coast, sometimes it's Portland, or LA, or Cinncinnati, or Toronto or wherever. And we'll continue to do that because it's important to us that the TRY world both represent and reach other places beyond the Bay Area. And the responses to it are so wonderful. We love writers everywhere. But the limitations to sending it all over the place are basically temporal and financial, so it might just have to space travel in this bizarre zig-zag way. And the rebellious non-official punk rock part of us enjoys that zig-zag, we must admit.