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“The end of the Mayan Calendar, the end of the world.”

December 21 Are you aware that a Shift in human consciousness is occurring even as you read these words that employs celestial triggers such as supernovas and Earth’s alignment with Galactic Center in the years leading up to 2012 to trigger the evolution of our species? The Maya had an understanding of mathematics and understood the value of zero long before its discovery in the Eastern parts of the world. Their understanding of numbers and astronomy gave us the Mayan calendars of the Long and Short Counts. So why

pg. 72

does this calendar attract so much attention now? The Mayan calendar ends on the Gregorian calendar date of December 21, 2012, which most people believe is the total end of civilization, as we know it, while others believe it is simply a change of enlightenment in this current time. Many theories have sprung up about this end date, ranging from the laughable, to the religious, to the scientific. There are actually three Mayan calendar systems, the 365-day Solar year, the 260-day Ritual year, and the 5,128 years of the World Time calendar. The Haab

or Solar year was broken down into an 18 month plus five days cycle. 18 months of 20 days and the 5 soulless days which were thought to be of ill omen, kind of like 5 days of Friday the 13th. The Tzolkin or Sacred Round was the 260-day ritual calendar was broken down by days, not months. This religious calendar was the basis on how the people, singly and collectively, went on with their day-to-day lives according to destiny.


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interview with

Daniel Slager

Interview with


Publisher and CEO of Milkweed Editions

Texas based writer and teacher Alex Lemon is a master of lighthearted heaviness and dark candor. Through his poems he grants readers passage to a visceral world of death, cynicism, and disjointed vignettes that shuffle through time and space—not to bring his audience down, but rather to show how much hope there is to gain. He is the author of Happy: A Memoir (Scribner) and several poetry collections, most recently Fancy Beasts from Minneapolis publisher Milkweed Editions.

PD: You have said that you felt “pretty clueless about writing” before you entered the MFA program at the University of Minnesota. Though you’ve stated that you do not believe in defining poetry, can you describe the experience of finding confidence in your poetic voice?

alive while I revise. It’s always a push-pull but mostly it’s like working in a mine. Digging out revisions as the mine collapses—only to wake up in the rubble and start digging again. Sometimes 50 revisions. It’s like Sisyphus with an enormous wordboulder. Or Groundhog Day.

so, but it’s also boundary-less and active. It didn’t create a fluidness of perception and imagination in me but it helped cultivate a sense of springing life. I didn’t have to do the work of breaking down or through whatever sorts of limits my “normal” “healthy” perception had solidified in me because my medical issues took all of that away PD: Illness is a major theme in your writing. from me. AL: I’m not sure confidence is the right word. When reading literature about sickness, At some point I started to realize that there what is your gut reaction? Who writes PD: Would you recommend readers check was no real “right” way to write—that it about illness well? out your nonfiction writing to gain some was about learning to be OK with the many failings that are needed to reach a decent AL: My gut is both elated and slightly sick. context for your poetry? poem. I guess the more I write, the more Elated because writing about sickness can comfortable I get inside my words—but that be incredibly powerful—it’s often potent, AL: Sure, why not? I think a certain context comfort comes and goes depending on what visceral and reading it, for me, combats that might not be clear in some of the poems I’m working on. It’s always a huge and varied some of the loneliness that can be created can be found in Happy, but I’m allergic to mix of feelings for me. Pick your poison: wild by sickness. I guess it often feels like a lot is the easy, clean answer. I’m interested in the and fun and scary and sad and beautiful and at stake for the author. But it also makes me muck of it. I’m pretty sure my poems and horrific and over-thinking and not-thinking a bit seasick and sorrowful. I would make a nonfiction are often in conversation—and so the widening panorama is sure to fill in some and undercooked and rotten and then a dash terrible nurse. blind spots (both ways). of ambrosia. PD: Aside from providing subject matter, PD: Does your poetry come to you with how has your disability shaped your immediacy, or is your writing process more writing? labored? AL: I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. AL: It’s pretty labored. I revise endlessly, My visual disability (nystagmus and diplopia) sometimes to the point of killing a poem. I’m destabilizes the world. I see two of everything continuously trying to get better at harnessing and it’s all shaking, all of the time. Around a certain energy and making sure it stays me, the world is vibrant, sometimes painfully

“the more i write, the more comfortable i get inside my words.”

PD: How is publishing a book with Milkweed Editions* different than with other publishers? AL: I’ve been fortunate to have great experiences with all my publishers, but Milkweed has been amazing. Great people who have an intimate connection to the stellar books they publish—I feel lucky to publish with them. They work incredibly hard and deeply care about the books they publish. I could go on and on about how different publishing with a non-profit publisher (Milkweed) is from a large publishing house (Scribner) but the core of my experiences has been the same—I’ve had good experiences in publishing because I’ve worked closely and often befriended, hilarious, big-hearted people.

Milkweed Editions Publisher and CEO, Daniel Slager, migrated from New York City to Minneapolis in 2005. While living on the East Coast Slager honed his eye for new talent and built his editorial repuation by editing, reading, and translating for Grand Street Magazine and Harcourt Trade Publishers before bringing his extensive experience to the Twin Cities.He recently worked with writer Alex Lemon on Fancy Beasts, a haunting collection of poetry published by Milkweed in 2010.

“I can hardly imagine Milkw in ano

aversion carries most simply, I self to be distas that one gener began working and I’m particu language litera read fairly widel vast and endle contemporary A

Paper Darts: Can you briefly describe your role as the editor of Grand Street Literary Magazine and how that shaped you as an editor and publisher for Milkweed Editions? Daniel Slager: I worked for Grand Street for years—reading and translating on a freelance basis, while I was in graduate school at NYU— before taking the position as editor. And the entire experience was very formative for me. We had the resources we needed to make a stunning piece of art several times each year, and to publish the work of many of the most interesting writers and artists from around the world. This meant working with more writers than would have been the case were I working in book publishing at the time, albeit with shorter pieces of work. Taken along with a series of connections I made while I was there—connections with writers, artists, and editors that are still important for my work— the experience was invaluable. And, I should add, a very good time. It was a great group of extremely interesting people. PD: Where do you feel literary magazines sit within the publishing world today? Do you read literary magazines now? What are some of your favorites? As a publisher, where are you looking for new talent? DS: As has been the case for a good long time now, I love literary magazines, and I read a good number of them regularly. I do like some of the established magazines—The Paris Review, Granta, Poetry, The Believer, The Literary Review—but I also read Pleiades religiously, along with Fence and A Public Space. I have found a number of writers I later published in magazines, and they’re still a great source in that sense. But I also simply like the notion of a vision—artistic, editorial,

PD: What is yo editing poetry?

what have you—being given expression in a collection of diverse work that is published periodically. PD: If you could move Milkweed to any other city in the world where would you take it? Why? DS: Honestly, I can hardly imagine Milkweed being in another city. Yes, we publish writers from around the world, and in many ways we could be anywhere. But so much of our community—from writers to readers to donors and so on—is here, and our community has been astoundingly supportive over the years. There is simply no doubt about the fact that Milkweed would not be what it is today without having been in Minnesota over the past few decades. So much so that even the thought of a move feels a bit like a betrayal to me, actually. PD: Do you have a list of favorite poets? DS: Not really. I don’t keep a list. My interest in poetry is relatively eclectic, and I find myself drawn to widely various work. If I have an aversion of any kind it would be to what is commonly, and often mistakenly, called “confessional” poetry. But for me this

DS: For me ed collections of p you, is very mu hard to general of poems that the manuscript process, but I’v take apart and r often engage de line, and form. writer we’re pub reputation in th but I’m also very in the end. As I to give them m do what is right individual case.

PD: Which on resonated with read his manus his work shifte to work with hi

DS: Rather than let me just say dazzling and alm of the more ap in reviews), I th can lead to a intelligence and poems that giv some kind, be it you. And on a most when the political, really—

weed being other city.”

s over to all literary work; put find incuriosity beyond the steful and boring. Other than ralization, I would add that I in publishing as a translator, ularly interested in Germanature, including poetry. But I ly, and try to keep up with the essly fascinating world that is American poetry.

our personal philosophy on ? Are you very “hands on”?

diting books, whether they be poems or fiction or what have uch case-by-case, and I find it lize. I’ve published collections were close in every sense to accepted at the outset of the ve also worked with poets to reassemble a collection, and I eeply on the level of language, I was told this morning—by a blishing, in fact—that I have a he industry for a heavy hand, y deferential to writers’ wishes I always say to them, I just try my best in every sense, and to t, or what feels right, in each

ne of Alex Lemon’s pieces h you the most when you first script? Have your favorites of ed since you had the chance im?

n identifying individual poems, that while I do find his work most pyrotechnical (to use two pt adjectives I’ve seen often hink the effect of the dazzle an underestimation of Alex’s d perceptiveness. I often like ve expression to critique of t social, societal, or what have personal level, I admire him personal and the public—the —intersect in his work.

Spread featured in Paper Darts, a Minneapolis Art and LIterature Magazine

int e r v ie w w it h

arafat re BY alex ch band. I have had a few years of guitar lessons, but I am mostly self-taught. Dani Lewis: I had piano lessons on and off since I was six and went to college for opera, so I had lots of formal training in voice. I never had a ukulele lesson unless you count Alligator Bob’s Ukulele Hut (it’s an online tutor, he is first rate).

Dani Lewis and Angie Krube, the lovely duo behind Minneapolis band The Chord and the Fawn, are a duo no longer. Dani’s younger brother Cole recently added his percussion to the group and rounded out the local gem into a full-force family trio (Krube is Dani and Cole’s cousin). With Dani’s powerful, classically trained vibrato and Angie’s mastery of an eclectic variety of instruments anchoring the band, The Chord and the Fawn have managed to stand out among a sea of small local groups trying to break through into the scene. Their first full-length album, M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I, was self-released in late 2009 and has garnered attention from publications like City Pages and among others.

Paper Darts: Can you explain more about your own individual musical backgrounds? Cole Lewis: I was in a rock band in high school and played trumpet in the school

The Middle East as a pair of pants, undone. Coming in third on Arabian Poet we have CL: The video is so colorful, and every scene was so different. So many elements went into it. I like the fact that there was more than just a band standing and playing.

Angie Krube: I have to say it all started when I learned to play the piano at age five. From there I played flute in middle school orchestra. The bells and melodica were self-taught.

DL: Alex, the director, and Ben, the DP, came up with the concept. They are really creative. I love the split screen too. Genius!

PD: How did Cole’s addition to the band come about and how has it affected the dynamic?

do you think it stands in the local music scene right now and what bands/artists are doing it right?

DL: We had a recent recording project that Cole played guitar on and it sounded so good that we asked him to join the band.

DL: I think the ukulele is making another comeback, locally and nationally. I don’t think you can hear a commercial without a ukulele in it. I really like Bethany DeLine’s music a lot and know there are a ton of great uke players in the Twin Cities.

AK: It’s nice to have more variety. Cole also keeps Dani and me focused on music, because we can get distracted easily. PD: Dani, you have commented that the popularity of using ukulele as a primary instrument tends to be cyclical. Where

PD: You recently worked with Rapid Water Media on your debut music video for the song “Our Leader.” Can you talk a little bit about the process and what it was like to perform on such elaborate sets? How do you feel having those visuals enhances the listeners’ experience? Who developed the concept for the shoot? AK: Dani and I built the paper forest scene (it’s a lot harder to hang a ten foot tall paper sky than you think). It was a long process, but the boys that we worked with made it so easy.

PD: Where do you hope to see The Chord and the Fawn in two years? Would you like to keep expanding the band’s sound and adding more members or would you prefer to stick with the core duo? DL: We are a trio now for sure, and I would like to stick with that for a while. Cole has been doing percussion and guitar and it really fills out our sound. AK: In two years I would love for us to be touring! Maybe even around the world.

Woman in Burka Who Has a Name. A plan for pants undone, revealing a sexy Jewish midriff dancing on the ship of state. Marauders are so hungry, bless their hearts. Plato’s ventriloquist said the city was only for pretend after we got all chargedup about sharing around our breastmilk. Yes, certainly we did—those beautiful boys in full bloom fingering their AK-47s on Yemen’s Poetry Hour. Being a model city, Jerusalem has no need for a zipper on its fly. It exists only in the minds of Lego store designers. “Look, Daddy, look at all the little colonies. Can I have one? I want I want!” Being on a budget we bought an I ♥ Israel shirt instead. Certainly we could see some panties, but if you explain sexiness to children early they’re less likely to be drunks late. Look at France. Look at Kabul. It was a classic American love story, the taciturn loner riding in and shooting blanks all over the place. Only some of them weren’t blanks. Only some of it wasn’t love.

eturns hambers

Spread featured in Paper Darts, a Minneapolis Art and LIterature Magazine

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