Thanksgiving Is Ruined
April 30, 2014
Hopefully, it won't be, in the case of issue # 12, the latest, spring 2014 edition of Or, the "literary tabloid," edited by Paul Vangelisti, of the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art & Design.
Nevertheless, the ominous phrase above is emblazoned, unexplained, on the cover of #12.
TiR's glimpsing it caused us to put the new issue aside and leave it unread for days, then weeks, until a moment when we felt greater fortitude to open it and read the likely announcement of the death of yet another terrific print publication.
However: no such announcement! we are happy to (not) find, apparently, behind the cover and within the contents. Or on-line.
What a scare.
Would be a greater shame than ever to lose Or, given that, only last month, it published in # 11 a poem that TiR believes might be the most wonderful that we have ever read about a library:
It's downtown but it's in the mountains. It has no computers but there's a full bar (the bartenders double as librarians). The walls are solid books except for the plate glass facing the redwood groves. Late last night, or was it early this morning, they were serving Akhmatova gimlets while a chanteuse was scatting a remarkably long riff of Dewey decimals. . . . This place is a refuge at all hours, a shelter for those with no place else to go, and there's always entertainment, dead or alive. . . The barkeeps recommend books -- no bestsellers . . . These nights and days on the last barricades before paper is obsolete have the intense flavor of our final kiss, when we could savor Paradise disappearing. . . .
The above is approximately half of "My Dream Library" by Stephen Kessler.
[The latest issue, meanwhile, features Amiri Baraka's* fashion this, from the irony of the world (2003):
. . . Each night I fill my notebooks with formula
And instructions to myself and others on what to do of what to study of where to
Go who to talk to and when. I make lists of words, names, events, processes,
necessary stages of what we have come to realize is protracted. And what we do we
*now "lift[ed] into the outer waygonsphere"?
TiR often wonders whether the true ur- or sous-texte of this blog is the death, and survival, of print culture.