In these interviews, writers who also teach discuss publishing, teaching, the business of editing and managing literary journals, and, of course, their own work and process. They offer advice and hard-won wisdom for burgeoning writers and their teachers. We also ask them about their favorite music, and who knows, maybe a favorite writer or two, and a great coffeeshop or beer to add to your "must try" list.
As presses age, as it were, the major problem is dealing with boards of directors and the eternal fundraising problem, and it’s cyclical, and it’s infinite, and it’s consuming, and it really isn’t very healthy, this perpetual begging for money. I’m not opposed to it—I’m a good Buddhist—but I also think you need to work in the garden. The “garden” is the labor- and time-intensive investment in our future, whether as working artists or as publishers. What I plant and nourish this year may bear fruit five years down the line. It’s work done for its own sake, for investment in one’s convictions.
Ironically, this is an era in which books are not prominent in the culture. But they remain of utmost importance to a diverse subset of the population—and no doubt will rise again. I don’t know if the physical book will ever dominate as it once did. But the book in the wider sense, the edited thing that is put together and stays together—we’re living through a momentary, experimental time when technology has made us particularly hungry for new forms, but nothing can displace our need for objects consciously built, for words, images, and characters chosen and assembled into works of art. The problem with a world that publishes 100,000 books is the same as the problem with a world that has an infinite number of websites. You need some help negotiating the variety.