Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Urbi et orbi

town 1 abercromby and hart

The corner of Abercromby Street and Hart Street, Port of Spain

A new project, but one I’ve been turning over in my head for some time: Town, a modest literary magazine, publishing poems, very short prose, and images in broadside editions, and also (of course) online.

This is partly (I will admit) a response to my continued anxiety and uncertainty about the future of the CRB; partly a way to experiment with different ways of no-budget, non-profit literary publishing; partly an opportunity to make things, attractive physical objects—in this case, simple 8½ x 11-inch broadsides run off on ordinary office equipment (huge thanks to my friend Sean Leonard for his help with this). We’ve printed a few dozen copies of each broadside, and begun posting them around Port of Spain on walls, fences, lampposts, and elsewhere.

I asked my friends Anu Lakhan and Vahni Capildeo, brilliant writers both, to be my co-editors. We agreed to include one poem by each of us in the first issue—if we’re going to ask other writers to let us stick their work up on public walls, we thought, we should be willing to do the same with our own. We also included a wry and very short fable by Kelvin Christopher James, a Trinidadian writer based in New York (whose work I’d previously published in the CRB), and three beautiful, haunting images by Nikolai Noel (1, 2, 3), excerpted from a larger work in progress.

Town launched last week: Anu and I traipsed round Port of Spain on Friday with a sheaf of broadsides and a roll of masking tape. We hope people will be surprised, perhaps delighted, perhaps confused by these fragments of poetry and art scattered through the city’s urban topography. We hope people will like them enough to steal the broadsides and take them home (by Saturday night one was already missing from the hoarding outside QRC). Those who don’t live or work in Port of Spain can read the full contents of the magazine at our website, and if you like what you find there, you can download PDFs of the broadsides, print them from your desktop, and post them wherever you please.

More about the hows and whys of Town here. Find out how to contribute here. See images of the broadsides posted around Port of Spain and elsewhere here. The first issue is all-Trinidadian, but for future issues there is no geographical restriction on contributing writers and artists: we simply want to publish good work, whether its effect is to surprise, to delight, or to confuse.

And here is my own contribution to the first issue of Town: a poem called “A Place to Start”.

town 1 outside qrc

Outside QRC, Maraval Road, Port of Spain

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What a lovely idea. Sadly I do not go into town anymore so I was happy to see that there was a website