If you've heard of Noemi Press, you're in good company! They answered my questions eagerly, and here are the details. If you're so inclined, after reading this, you can find their books online at http://www.noemipress.org. Read on to find out more!
a. How did Noemi get its start, and who was behind it?
From what I understand, Noemi was birthed in 2002 in the New Mexican desert, from necessity and inspiration. Carmen Giménez-Smith and Evan Lavender-Smith are our founders, with a generous & exciting board behind them.
A first reading, is it possible? I realize as I approach the poem how excited I am to open the package, find its surprise. This is what I expect when I read a poem. Poems are puzzles, and as I look upon this choicely narrow-looking “visual” stance, I want to jump in, but I stop myself: I do this a lot in my first close readings. Especially if the “look” of the poem immediately grabs me, as this one does: the title “And A Lie” suggests we are already in the middle of things, or at the end of a catalogue of “things.” And now a lie.
He mihi tino mahana ki a katoa hoki. [A warm greeting to all also.]
Ko he korero tēnei mo ngā kaituhi wāhine Māori kei konei: ngā wāhine tino mōhio me ki te timata o te tuhi te taima katoa. Te tuhi o ngā mōteatea, ngā waiata, ngā ruri, ngā whiti te mea te mea te mea. [This is a commentary about Māori women writers: very intelligent women always at the creation of writing. Writing song-poetry, songs, love poems, verse and so on.]
Ka huri ahau ki te reo Ingarahi ināianei mo ngā tangata i kāore mohio taku reo tuatahi. [I will now turn to the English language for the people who don't know my first language.]
Māori women, then, are often the inaugrators, the initiators of poetry. Here it is stressed yet again that for Māori everything is connected holistically, that it is all rather arbitrary to sub-divide songs as separate from poetry and so on, that such are pākehā striates only.