The last few months of 2017 brought out the first publications of The Green Violin, a small, independent publishing project for the free distribution of poetry, essays and prose. The website for The Green Violin went live before winter set in, and the press is expecting a few new releases in early 2018. A large part of the work on this press is done in the face of systemic silence from mainstream and independent, even “radical” presses, their editors and publishers. None of the work through this press is done for profit, no manifestos are written to sell anything; no grants, no fancy equipment or materials, no BS.
The first works made available through The Green Violin are:
A Ticking Does Not Absolve the Bomb, by Nathan Medema (117 copies, first printing Dec. 2017)
We are culpable in choosing speech, in choosing the form of collective memory. In a world that operates more through the violence of speed, discarding the concentration of intent, instinct demands that we speak with urgent brevity, through visible codes. The luxury of choosing what to speak of aligns us with stories we can profit from. We acquire social capital, pursue careerist motivations, by adapting the ’cause of the day’. Whose traumas do we adapt, in the accumulation of someone else’s memories? Who is left behind after rapid attention has dried?
The taste of language as it speaks truth is a bitter stone on a tongue that desires, needs water. Resistance is to insist on memory, in spite of the dominance of convenient narratives. It is to resist the traceless silence that is selective in its rupture. To give life again to worlds that we have left behind, that have departed from us, to give life again to words that have been at rest, exchanged for another form, another taste.
The To Justify Land essay series begins with a hydro-electric dam expansion and condominium development currently under construction on a few islands on the Ottawa River, between the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau. These islands have long been sacred to the Algonquin people who lived here before the establishment of the Canadian nation. The series examines the rhetoric and capitalist logic that justifies the continued development of such infrastructure, and the region’s history of economic and physical displacement of working classes.
The third section compares the hydro-electric development of Québec in the early 20th century, and continuing today, with that across northeastern and southern Siberia. The legacies of displacement of Indigenous peoples in the northern boréale as in the Central Asian steppes are the same, with similar structures and manipulation of ‘reserves’ and ‘savkhozi’. Many of the companies involved in resource extraction industries that benefit from dam development in Russia are familiar to the same struggles in North America. The later sections examine resource extraction and hydro-electric development in the province of British Columbia, Honduras and Bolivia; the language of ecological resistance in Peru through the work of Marisol de la Cadena; and a thorough look at the resource extraction and war industry money that is fueling the Board of Directors at Ontario Hydro and corporate interests in Asinabka.
A Draft for Asinabka, by Lital Khaikin (150 copies, first printing)
A narrative mirror of appropriation and erasure reveals the rhetoric of legal and public discourse around Windmill’s corporate ZIBI development on unceded Algonquin land. A vision of a nation sold – rivers dammed, water privatised, the sacred disremembered, the rich honoured. A project of documentary and archival reconstruction, A Draft for Asinabka references experimental poetics, where fragmentation tells a history on the precipice of past and present.
The earliest forthcoming works through The Green Violin will be published and distributed between January and March 2018:
Anecdotes of Indefinite Anarchy, by Abraham T. Zere
Abraham Tesfalul Zere is an exiled Eritrean writer and journalist who was one of the founding members of PEN Eritrea where he currently serves as Executive Director. Zere left Eritrea in 2012 and is now based in Ohio, USA.
Four Poems, by ko ko thett
ko ko thett is a poet by choice and Burmese by chance. In between he is a poetry editor, literary translator, and anthologist of contemporary Burmese poetry. Selections from his book, the burden of being burmese, have been translated into Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian and Finnish. thett’s poems are anthologised in Best American Experimental Writing 2016 [BAX 2016], CAPITALS: A Poetry Anthology (2017) and The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry (2017) among others. After a whirlwind tour of Asia, Europe and North America for two decades, thett happily resettled in Sagaing in his native Burma-Myanmar in 2017. thett writes in both Burmese and English.
Not Meant as Poems, by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Fiona Sze-Lorrain is the author of three books of poetry, Water the Moon (2010), My Funeral Gondola (2013), and most recently The Ruined Elegance (Princeton, 2016), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is also a zheng harpist and a widely published translator of contemporary Chinese, French, and American poets. One of her latest translations, Yi Lu’s Sea Summit (Milkweed, 2016), was shortlisted for the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. She lives in Paris.
More forthcoming titles will be announced soon. Also forthcoming are PDFs of the publications, and a list of some distribution locations. As something to look forward to after the winter months leave us, The Green Violin will be found in a mobile form outside (locations to be revealed at a later time), with first, second, or even third printings made available from all of these releases (and other goodies). That’s it for now.