Action Books

An interview with Action Books

From the screen to the streets...

I interview Johannes Göransson of Action Books. Here are the questions and the answers. You can read more about Action Books at their website,

a. How did you get the idea for your press, and who started it?

In many ways the most important push for us was realizing that no U.S. press was daring enough to publish my translations of Aase Berg, a major young Swedish woman poet who was writing these wild poems unlike anything that was being published in the U.S. I assumed all U.S. presses would be interested in something new and wild from another culture, but I soon found out that the opposite was true: that’s exactly what U.S. presses did not want to see.

'Meme is a lone tree that got planted in a bed'

Towards a surrealism of old age: Kim Hyesoon's 'An Old Woman' & 'Princess Abandoned'

Kim Hyesoon & Don Mee Choi, February, 2009, Chicago AWP bookfair

Among recent notices on my Facebook feed was one for the new issue of Big Bridge, in particular a feature on “Neo-surrealism,” edited by Adam Cornford.  Cornford’s expansive introduction to the feature, which looks back to the history of surrealism and forward to his selection of living poets, includes this definition of his subject: “What defines a Surrealist poetry today, then, is what has defined it from the outset . . . Surrealist poetry can only be ‘a cry of the mind determined to break apart its fetters.’ It must contribute, intentionally or otherwise, to the liberation of the mind ‘and all that resembles it.’” I’m not here to argue against the mind’s liberation, rather to suggest that newer forms of surrealism can be used effectively to record what occurs before the imagined line break in Cornford’s phrase, “the mind determined to break apart / its fetters.” The breaking apart of a mind, most familiar to me as a product (or anti-product) of dementia and Alzheimer’s, can be tracked through what I’ve elsewhere called “documentary surrealism.

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