Poetry. ALASHKA is a lost book. It was first published as half of a very large, well-printed volume in 1979, spliced together with Tarn’s Selected Poems up until that point. The publisher was a new outfit in Boulder, Colorado, called Brillig Works and born in an eponymous bookstore. Distribution was limited, and fitful, and copies were notoriously hard to come by. This ensured that what was, in effect, Janet Rodney’s first collection, vanished from view. Also, although it was a valuable expansion of Tarn’s anthro- and eco-poetics, this hardly registered in the wider world, whether in Alaska or in the lower states.
The book finally gets its own set of covers here, and a chance to find its own niche, and will soon be joined by some other long out-of-print Tarn volumes. Although some 40 years old, this book has scarcely aged, and its themes are as apposite today as they were in the 1970s.
poetry, Alaska, ecology
Nathaniel Tarn was born in 1928 in Paris of British- Lithuanian and French-Romanian parents, educated in France, Belgium and England, obtaining degrees from Cambridge, the Sorbonne and Chicago; he emigrated to the United States in 1970, where he taught at American universities until his retirement. His first collection of poetry was Old Savage/Young City (Cape, London,1964), which was followed the next year by his appearance in the seventh volume of the Penguin Modern Poets series. Three more collections followed in London, during which time he also became editor of the remarkable Cape Editions series of seminal modern texts: poetry, prose, anthropology, drama, many of them pioneering translations. After he emigrated, only two more collections—the important volume A Nowhere for Vallejo and the ambitious book-length poem Lyrics for the Bride of God—were to appear in the UK. Thereafter, with the exception of his Shearsman publications and one other single volume, all of his work has appeared in the USA, most significantly: The House of Leaves (Black Sparrow), Atitlan/Alashka (with Janet Rodney, Brillig Works), At the Western Gates (Tooth of Time Books) and Selected Poems 1950- 2000 (Wesleyan University Press). There is also a significant volume of essays in Views from the Weaving Mountain (University of New Mexico Press).
Janet Rodney was born in Washington D.C. in 1941. At the age of nine she moved with her mother to Paris; there followed a lot of travel, learning languages, different schools. In Madrid she worked as a reader for publishers, as translator, interpreter, editor and journalist. She left Spain in 1974 to go to graduate school, where she met the poet, Nathaniel Tarn. They married in 1983 and later moved to New Mexico. In 1987 she founded The Weaselsleeves Press. Her work as a letterpress printer is in fine print and art book collections across the USA.
Author City: SANTA FE, NM USA