Allan Kornblum — Coffeehouse Press

“Ask not what literature is doing for education, but what education is doing for literature.”
Allan Kornblum, 1949-2014

The AWP national convention will take place in the Twin Cities in about four months and I have no idea of the kinds of panels and readings that are scheduled. I do know that a panel honoring the work of Jim Moore, who has made Minneapolis-St. Paul his home base for 40 years, was turned down. If such is the case, then who knows if Allan Kornblum will get a moment of silence. If anyone would deserve such a gesture, it would be Allan, who died this past week. If any small press founded in the 1970s has a chance to still be publishing in 2050, then Coffee House is an exceptionally strong candidate. Its primacy derives in part from Kornblum’s willingness to publish writers who for the most part do not fit into the syllabi of traditional literature or creative writing courses.

In urging the AWP to honor Allan in some manner, I cannot help but note that a memorial gesture would have a certain degree of irony. Although Coffee House certainly had a strong presence at the AWP convention in Seattle this past spring, it is not a press that focuses on writers who are held up as models in most MFA programs.

In honor of his lifetime of devotion to writing that takes a risk, I have spent the morning going through the backlist of Coffee House Press, which Allan Kornblum was the founder of. In addition to Michael Davidson’s Bleed Through, I would especially urge readers to take a sustained look at Ron Padgett’s Collected Poems.

Allan Kornblum made use of his cultural capital in a profoundly empowering manner. Writers and readers in the next quarter century will continue to mature and ripen as socially renitent and imaginatively playful citizens of a minor literate republic.

SELECTED TITLES FROM COFFEE HOUSE PRESS
I Hotel NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
A Novel by Karen Tei Yamashita

Moment’s Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose
An Anthology edited by Art Lange and Nathaniel Mackey

Bleed Through New and selected poems by Michael Davidson
“Michael Davidson refuses to treat history, philosophy, and the lives we live as separate phenomena. The language of intimate experience interrupts that of public atmospheres and vice versa. Heavens and aprons ‘slightly melt’ into each other; Kant is at the mall, while our leaders eat cereal. These poems—many from rare and out of print books—converse as lucid shocks under a critical sun.”—Jena Osman

Truth, War, and the Dream-Game
Parables and Prose Poems by Lawrence Fixel

Returning a Borrowed Tongue: An Anthology of Filipino & Filipino American Poetry — Edited by Nick Carbó

Cant Be Wrong — Poems by Michael Lally

Fugue State Stories by Brian Evenson

In the Builded Place — Poems by Michael Heller

Entrepôt Poems by Mark McMorris

Necessary Distance — Essays and Criticism by Clarence Major

Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence: Selected Poems 1965 – 2000 — Poems by Anselm Hollo

Blood Dazzler — Poems by Patricia Smith

Living Will — Poems by David Hilton
Foreword by Warren Woessner
Afterword by David Clewell

The Architecture of Language — Poems by Quincy Troupe

The Eros Conspiracy — Poems by Greg Hewett

Irish Musicians/American Friends — Poems by Terence Winch