SAFE IN THEIR ALABASTER CHAMBERS

On this day in 1862, Emily Dickinson’s poem “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers” was published in the Springfield Daily Republican. This was the second of only a handful of poems published in Dickinson’s lifetime, all of them anonymously and, most think, without her knowledge.

Safe in their alabaster chambers,
Untouched by morning and untouched by noon,
Sleep the meek members of the resurrection,
Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.

Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine;
Babbles the bee in a stolid ear;
Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadence, ——
Ah, what sagacity perished here!

Grand go the years in the crescent above them;
Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row,
Diadems drop and Doges surrender,
Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.






A stained and sun-damaged treasure from The Art of Google Books — The Tale of Reddy Woodpecker by Arthur Scott Bailey kept in original at the New York Public Library.

A stained and sun-damaged treasure from The Art of Google BooksThe Tale of Reddy Woodpecker by Arthur Scott Bailey kept in original at the New York Public Library.


The Thing Quarterly is an “object-based publication” based in San Francisco, the mindpup of artists Jonn Herschend and Will Rogan. Each issue is some useful thing, as conceived by the nimble imaginations of a shifting line-up of artists — a shower curtain by Dave Eggers, a pull-down window shade by Miranda July, a set of ceramic wine cups by Chris Johanson.

The latest edition of The Thing is the Fabric of Events 2013 Calendar by our esteemed colleague and friend, artist and filmmaker Mike Mills. The edition combines a series of half-toned images of historic persons, things, animals and events culled from Google Image searches and accompanied by text, some more obviously inter-related than others — with a notebook for planning your next calendar year. In Mike’s own words: “The idea of a historical fabric points to a non-hierarchical, non-linear way of understanding how moments, events, laws, things external and ‘real’ and things internal and subjective can shape our present story of who we are and how we love and are alone, how we are controlled and attempt to be free, and our relationship to different kinds of people and plants and animals.” The Mike Mills’s edition of The Thing Quarterly is available starting today at Project No.8 at Ace Hotel New York.

The Thing Quarterly is an “object-based publication” based in San Francisco, the mindpup of artists Jonn Herschend and Will Rogan. Each issue is some useful thing, as conceived by the nimble imaginations of a shifting line-up of artists — a shower curtain by Dave Eggers, a pull-down window shade by Miranda July, a set of ceramic wine cups by Chris Johanson.

The latest edition of The Thing is the Fabric of Events 2013 Calendar by our esteemed colleague and friend, artist and filmmaker Mike Mills. The edition combines a series of half-toned images of historic persons, things, animals and events culled from Google Image searches and accompanied by text, some more obviously inter-related than others — with a notebook for planning your next calendar year. In Mike’s own words: “The idea of a historical fabric points to a non-hierarchical, non-linear way of understanding how moments, events, laws, things external and ‘real’ and things internal and subjective can shape our present story of who we are and how we love and are alone, how we are controlled and attempt to be free, and our relationship to different kinds of people and plants and animals.” The Mike Mills’s edition of The Thing Quarterly is available starting today at Project No.8 at Ace Hotel New York.




Mementos from the New York Art Book Fair this last weekend at MoMA PS1 in Queens.

Mementos from the New York Art Book Fair this last weekend at MoMA PS1 in Queens.


We’re very excited for the book launch of Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit — published by Placement Books — at No. 8a, the Ace New York branch of Project No. 8 and Various Projects, tonight at No. 8a off our lobby from 7-9pm.
Lafayette Park, an affordable middle-class residential area in downtown Detroit, is home to the largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the world. Today, it is one of Detroit’s most racially-integrated and economically stable neighborhoods, although it is surrounded by evidence of a city in financial distress. Through interviews with and essays by residents, reproductions of archival material, new photographs by Karin Jobst, Vasco Roma and Corine Vermeulen, and previously unpublished photographs by documentary filmmaker Janine Debanné, Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies examines the way that Lafayette Park residents confront and interact with this unique modernist environment. 
Lafayette Park has not received the level of international attention that other similar projects by Mies have. This may be due in part to its location in Detroit, a city whose most positive qualities and cultural power are often overlooked in the media. 
This book is a reaction against the way that iconic modernist architecture is often represented. Whereas other writers may focus on the design intentions of the architect, authors Aubert, Cavar and Chandani seek to show the organic and idiosyncratic ways that the people who live in Lafayette Park actually use the architecture and how this experience, in turn, affects their everyday lives. While there are many publications about abandoned buildings in Detroit and about the city’s prosperous past, this book is about a remarkable part of the city as it exists today, in the twenty-first century.
We’ll see you tonight for a signing and launch party in one of our favorite shops in the world — we’d live in a glass house with them any day.

We’re very excited for the book launch of Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit — published by Placement Books — at No. 8a, the Ace New York branch of Project No. 8 and Various Projects, tonight at No. 8a off our lobby from 7-9pm.

Lafayette Park, an affordable middle-class residential area in downtown Detroit, is home to the largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the world. Today, it is one of Detroit’s most racially-integrated and economically stable neighborhoods, although it is surrounded by evidence of a city in financial distress. Through interviews with and essays by residents, reproductions of archival material, new photographs by Karin Jobst, Vasco Roma and Corine Vermeulen, and previously unpublished photographs by documentary filmmaker Janine Debanné, Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies examines the way that Lafayette Park residents confront and interact with this unique modernist environment. 

Lafayette Park has not received the level of international attention that other similar projects by Mies have. This may be due in part to its location in Detroit, a city whose most positive qualities and cultural power are often overlooked in the media. 

This book is a reaction against the way that iconic modernist architecture is often represented. Whereas other writers may focus on the design intentions of the architect, authors Aubert, Cavar and Chandani seek to show the organic and idiosyncratic ways that the people who live in Lafayette Park actually use the architecture and how this experience, in turn, affects their everyday lives. While there are many publications about abandoned buildings in Detroit and about the city’s prosperous past, this book is about a remarkable part of the city as it exists today, in the twenty-first century.

We’ll see you tonight for a signing and launch party in one of our favorite shops in the world — we’d live in a glass house with them any day.


The Unified Field is an arts and literature journal inspired in part by the spirit of Wallace Berman’s Semina series. Bringing together disparate elements — high/low, academic/primal, sound/page, image/word —  each issue unites a wide array of contributors under an overarching theme. 
Inaugural ISSUE 01 transition features 60 full-color pages of contributions including Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, SPIN Editorial DirectorCharles Aaron, music photographer Autumn de Wilde and a clear vinyl 10” featuring unreleased tracks by Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, Bonnie Prince Billy, Amen Dunes and Department of Eagles. 
You can score this limited edition of 1000 hand-numbered copies of The Unified Field magazine ISSUE 01 now on our online shop. And better yet, all proceeds are donated to 826 National, a writing, publishing and tutoring non-profit serving under-resourced youth. 

The Unified Field is an arts and literature journal inspired in part by the spirit of Wallace Berman’s Semina series. Bringing together disparate elements — high/low, academic/primal, sound/page, image/word —  each issue unites a wide array of contributors under an overarching theme. 

Inaugural ISSUE 01 transition features 60 full-color pages of contributions including Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, SPIN Editorial DirectorCharles Aaron, music photographer Autumn de Wilde and a clear vinyl 10” featuring unreleased tracks by Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, Bonnie Prince Billy, Amen Dunes and Department of Eagles

You can score this limited edition of 1000 hand-numbered copies of The Unified Field magazine ISSUE 01 now on our online shop. And better yet, all proceeds are donated to 826 National, a writing, publishing and tutoring non-profit serving under-resourced youth. 


INTERVIEW : URSULA K. LE GUIN

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At 81, Ursula K. Le Guin has published over 80 pieces of literature including books, poetry, essays and one translation from classical Chinese. She is most noted for her groundbreaking work in science fiction and has been awarded the Hugo and Nebula Awards multiple times, and the Locus Award 18 times — more than any other writer in the universe. Her presence in a room could bend steel — she reads, walks and talks with a sly exuberance that seems to set an electric hum in the air.

We’re honored to have had a chance to speak with Ursula in anticipation of her appearance at Wordstock in Portland this weekend. We promised her a couple of thin little questions, and even the much more complex ones we posited to her were a fraction of what we would like to know about her mind. Find her gracious answers below, and see her speak this Sunday.

You’ve been working and living in Portland since 1958. How have you seen the local literary culture and community change over the years? Do you think Wordstock has shifted the literary culture here at all, or that it serves the community in some special way?

Hey, I thought you said this interview would be short and simple. The literary history of Portland since 1958 is short and simple? The literary scene here was never simple. Maybe the biggest change in it is that women count for more than they used to. Due partly to a major societal shift, but also, specifically, to people like Judith Barrington and Ruth Gundle and many, many other activists working to get women writers out of the margins and into the middle of the page.  

During the first few years after Brian Booth energized us to get Oregon Literary Arts going,  the literary community, writers and readers, came together at the Oregon Book Awards for real celebrations. They were great. But it’s hard to keep that much pizzazz going. The current Literary Arts does a terrific job of outreach to all of Oregon.

The old book fair at ArtQuake in the Park Blocks was a hoot. Talk about keeping Portland weird! Wordstock is ever so much more respectable and outward-looking and success-oriented, bringing best selling authors from the East Coast and all. That’s probably a fair reflection of what people want. 

Tell me about how your “source” — internal, creative or otherwordly — for writing finds its expression in such varied iterations as children’s books, poetry, essays and stories. Do you work on one project at a time or many at once, and do they feed each other in any way? 

I can’t tell you anything much about my internal, creative, or otherworldly sources, or how they work. I just sit around and wait for them to tell me what I’m supposed to be writing next, and then I write it, if I can. Good work if you can get it. 

I’m sure you’ve answered more questions about being gender and writing than you can stand — but, here’s one more. You have been publishing books for over forty years. Tell me about your experience of gender — personally and professionally, as well as how creating science fiction expresses, changes or anticipates social evolution around gender.

I made out better in some ways than most women writers of my generation, because I wasn’t competing for the big time awards and glittering prizes (still reserved for male writers at a fairly standard rate of from ten to one to four to one.)  My work got shunted off into the slums of genre, where I won lots of awards, and made friends, too. The poor are always more generous than the rich.  

Now that genre seems to be eating mainstream, and men seem to be less afraid of being eaten by women, things could get even better. If only they can figure out how to make writing e-books pay writers, before stupid Amazon and the stupid pirates destroy the system, and all the writers starve, and THEN what’ll you read? Huh? Aspirin labels?

Imaginative fiction is a great place for people who feel society could use a few changes. Science fiction is particularly good at showing what a different society would actually be like to live in, whether it’s the macho utopias of space opera, or the mean streets of cyberpunk, or the stuff writers like me come up with, like re-inventing gender, or giving Portland a subway out to Reed.



Portrait by Benjamin Reed


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