Tuesday, December 30, 2014

On Homes and Grading and California

Early this morning, I entered the grades for my second set of classes taught at the Fall Program or Freshmen. Done!

My course is focused on writing about place and how we connect to it, which resonates with these students who are often leaving home for the first time, though the typical freshmen experience doesn't really apply to Berkeley freshmen -- at least,  not the ones in my classrooms.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

In Which I Have Thoughts about Irish Publishing

Responding to Publishing PerspectivesIreland's Tradition of Small Presses

This came out in July, but I was busy writing, editing, and prepping for my course this fall (in which I taught a novel by Colm Tóibín, another lauded  Irish writer who has moved to the US and who is not published by an Irish house [though a quick search indicates that his first two houses were now defunct small Irish presses Raven Arts and Pilgrim Press, back in the '80s, before he moved to being published in England].)

I did an MA at UCD on Irish lit and a PhD on Irish poetry at UC Santa Barbara (so there are my bona fides), and one thing I became entirely fascinated by was the role of the publisher in Ireland. I can't recall the exact numbers off the top of my head, but the arts council report during the boom years showed that about 30% of what was in Irish bookstores was from Ireland, and that only about 30% of Irish authors were published in Ireland.

I spoke with the publisher of a great poetry press back in 2006 about this, and I remember that he -- and later, others -- told me that he felt the problem was not lack of demand, but lack of distribution for Irish titles in Ireland.