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Triptych:

Three Books Between Two Covers

Authorship can be tricky. Intimate and personal, it forges a contract between utterance and sign. It is the signature of purpose. It gives heartbeat a page count. Yet, authorship is vagrant and provisional. It disdains age, change of heart, or death. Authorship can be paradoxical, as in Anonymous; fraught, as in the Bible; faked, as in Ossian; or contested, as in Shakespeare. Maybe authorship isn’t a real ship at all, only a Homeric clash of arms. Yet, there is the codex with all accoutrements: title, blurbs, launch, reviews, and sequels. Post-Gutenberg, the singular mark of authorship is the book. Triptych disrupts conventions of book authorship.

Between two covers are three books: The Three-Legged World by Peter Grandbois, In Time by James McCorkle, and Orpheus & Echo by Robert Miltner. They are bound by no prior agreement or collaboration. There is no aesthetic reason for the order (alphabetical by...wait for it...author!). Triptych is not the product of a contest, program, solicitation, or advertisement; it has no precedent with this publisher.

Triptych is not a means to package verse. It is not a selection or sampler. It is not a special issue. Peter Grandbois and James McCorkle are veteran Etruscans, and Robert Miltner is a valued colleague; but these authors had not colluded, discussed, or even met. Their books crossed the transom independently from diverse parts. Of course, books converse with other books, and poetry, rippling from unmeasured sound into rampant forms, is especially polyphonic.

“Poetry’s roots lie in the communal,” Peter Grandbois writes in his assessment of Triptych. “The first sceops, or shapers of words, recited their poems to an audience gathered about the fire, and later the mead hall, one poet beginning where the previous ended. Only recently has poetry shifted to an isolated activity written by a solitary writer and read by a lone reader. Hwaet! The communal origins of poetry have returned in Triptych! What a great joy to share this space with two poets whose mythological hauntings and metaphysical—musings dance so tantalizingly with my own. Buy a book. Take a seat, and welcome back to the hearth!”

A paean to a life never lived and the many selves that haunt us, Grandbois’ The Three-Legged World begins: “I wake and I am/ an unkowing” giving voice to the notion that the very act of being is a separation, an untying not just from the world but from everything we thought we knew.

Peter Grandbois is the author of nine previous books, the most recent of which is Kissing the Lobster (Spuyten Duyvil.) His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over one hundred journals. His plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is a senior editor at Boulevard and teaches at Denison University in Ohio. You can find him at www.petergrandbois.com.

“In these three distinct, discrete, and demanding collections within a single cover, what connects them all is the attention to the celebrant’s voice,” James McCorkle says of Triptych. He continues: “If poetry is anything it is the pleasure of the poet in their language—whatever the poem may mean is ancillary to the velocities of language, the inhabitations that language creates, formal or densely scattering, historical or local. Each of these collections offer readers a dwelling in language, the extension of voice across poems and into poetry-making / poiesis / formations. These are individual formations and velocities, yet as the collections become proximate, they are near to each other, sharing the pleasures of this work, this in/forming.”

These poems torque and jar, leave perceptions open, then coalesce into what is, perhaps at the liminal moment of sonic and sighted disappearance or at the moment of a dangerous transcendence. “Geography is song,” McCorkle writes in “Fox-Sparrow”… moments of revelation are not privileged rather the duration of soundings that distinguish these poems.

Born in St. Petersburg, Florida, James McCorkle is the author of Evidences (selected by Jorie Graham for the 2003 APR-Honickman First Book Award) and The Subtle Bodies (Etruscan Press 2014). He received an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and is a recipient of fellowships from Ingram Merrill and the NEA, he teaches at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.

“The poets in Triptych are experimenting with poetry’s innovative possibilities and unexpected potential,” Robert Miltner writes. “Peter Grandbois’ The Three-Legged World offers lyric meditations on stance, speech, and sonority.  James McCorkle’s In Time computer code-like lines explore the relationship between breath and line breaks. Robert Miltner’s Orpheus & Echo evokes fragments of lost texts that straddle the intimate distance between the prosaic and the poetic. Reading Triptych, a unique three-books-in-one collection, is like attending a seminar on twenty-first century poetics.”

Orpheus & Echo is a prosodically mysterious prose poetry collection re-envisioning the Orpheus and Eurydice story across time and space (Greek islands, recording studios, Las Vegas). Exploring the intersections between music and poetry, this collection mourns loss and celebrates rediscovering one’s muse through the timelessness of art, song, and poetry.

Robert Miltner’s prose poetry collection is Hotel Utopia (New Rivers Press), winner of the Many Voices Project poetry prize; his prose poetry chapbooks include Against the Simple (Kent State University Press), winner of a Wick Chapbook award, and Eurydice Rising (Red Berry Editions), winner of the Summer Chapbook award; his book of brief fiction is And Your Bird Can Sing (Bottom Dog Press). A recipient of an Ohio Arts Council award in poetry, he has been a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence, and the New York Center for the Book chapbook prize. An Emeritus Professor of English at Kent State University and the Northeast Ohio M.F.A. in Creative Writing (NEOMFA), Miltner edits The Raymond Carver Review. He lives in the historic Vassar Park neighborhood in Canton, Ohio, with his wife, the writer Molly Fuller.

Etruscan brings these three books together because they exerted upon our editors a gravitational pull, causing the shadow of one to fall across the reading of another.  When Grandbois, McCorkle, and Miltner were invited to read each other’s books, they sensed the congruence, and embraced the venture enthusiastically. In fact, without conspiring toward a collaboration which was not conceived, each poet seemed to have augured the triad. Triptych launches no school. It backs no cause. What these books share is not easily labeled. None follows narrative conventions. None dwells on confession. None abides predictable meter. None is easily parsed. Each climbs eerie heights where ego finds no purchase. Each takes a kaleidoscopic view of selfhood.       

Triptych will be available from Etruscan Press in May of 2020.
 

New Release from Etruscan


We are proud to welcome Sheryl St. Germain’s 50 Miles to the Etruscan Family.

50 Miles is a memoir in linked essays that addresses addiction and alcoholism. The book traces the life of the author’s son, Gray, a talented but troubled young man, and his death from a drug overdose at thirty, as well as the author’s own recovery from substance abuse. 
St. Germain is a poet and essayist whose work has received numerous awards. Her most recent book, a poetry collection, The Small Door of Your Death, was published by Autumn House Press in 2018. Sheryl is co-founder of the Words Without Walls program.
 

A Day in the Life of Etruscan Press

by Pamela Turchin

The people I’ve always most admired were my teachers throughout school, and far in the distance, the writers of my favorite books. But teachers were easy to look up to, they were everywhere. Authors, not really. The chance of meeting one seemed as possible as winning the lottery.

So if someone had told me one day I’d be working for the publishing company affiliated with a university, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. When I started working for Etruscan Press, my background was primarily as an elementary school teacher. On my first day in the creative writing office when I was asked to write a marketing plan for one of our authors, I almost wanted to cry. Not only had I never written a marketing plan before—wait for it—I didn’t even know what one was.

Initially, the only experience I had with authors was reading their manuscripts. The next thing I knew, I was emailing and making phone calls to them to confirm details about everything from their manuscripts, to the cover concepts for their books, to upcoming readings. As production editor, I am in daily communication with our authors, following their work as it progresses from their original manuscript to the final printing.

There is never a dull moment working for a small independent press because there are always other things simultaneously going on behind the scenes. Options for the front and back cover are designed until the final cover is decided upon by the editorial team, including Phil Brady, Executive Director, and Bob Mooney, Executive Editor. Materials like one-sheets and sales kits are created for promotional purposes. Constant contact is maintained with designers and reviewers and the people who write blurbs for the back cover. It’s exciting and rewarding to help our authors go from their first manuscript to holding the final printed copy of their books in my hands because I’ve experienced, and can appreciate how much work goes into the entire process.

Yes, I still write marketing plans. And I’ve even met several Etruscans and interviewed Patricia Horvath, Karen Donovan, Lynn Lurie and Dante Di Stefano. This position has also given me the kind of invaluable real-life editing and business experience I would have never been able to obtain from teaching elementary school.

Etruscan Press is housed in a beautiful old home on the Wilkes University campus in Wilkes-Barre, PA. As most of you know, a small press means a small budget. And in our case, a small office. Managing editor Bill Schneider and I sit right across from each other. If we have a question, we don’t pick up the phone or send an email, we just ask. Having that kind of direct communication makes us a strong team. Our staff is small but mighty, and we would never be able to publish a book without the hard work and dedication of our graduate assistants and interns. At any given time, they’re proofreading and editing, creating graphic elements for publicity and marketing materials, maintaining communication with our distribution network, and creating study guides for academic use.

One of the main advantages of our press is our accessibility. Can you remember the last time you dialed a number and didn’t have to navigate a complicated menu without punching in all kinds of numbers just to speak to a real person? No? Me either. If you call us you won’t hear press 1 for the marketing department, press 2 for the editing department etc., you just get us. And for me, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Pamela Turchin earned a M.A. and M.F.A. in fiction from the Maslow Graduate Creative Writing Program at Wilkes University, where she serves as the production editor for Etruscan Press.

About Etruscan Press:

Housed at Wilkes University and partnering with Youngstown State University, Etruscan is a non-profit literary press working to produce and promote books that nurture the dialogue among genres, cultures, and voices.

For the latest Etruscan events, please visit our website.
Copyright © 2020 Etruscan Press, All rights reserved.


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