Tag Archives: Holly Prado

Sunday, August 20th Update: $23,000 Raised on Behalf of Holly and Harry

Sunday morning, August 20, 2017

A week and a half ago, a half-dozen Los Angeles poets (Amelie Frank, Laurel Ann Bogen, Steve Goldman, Lynne Bronstein, Luis Campos, and Phoebe MacAdams Ozuna) launched a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of Holly Prado and Harry Northup, who recently lost their possessions in a nocturnal electrical fire in their apartment that nearly took their lives. Two hundred and twenty-five people have responded to the appeal, and slightly over $23,000 has been raised. The original goal was $20,000, and it speaks to the stature that Holly and Harry have within Southern California poetry that writers, readers, and artists have responded with such generosity to their need. If 75 more people contributed $25 each, the campaign would then have 300 total contributors to a $25,000 fund.

I do want to reiterate that once they are settled back in their residence, it would help them immensely to have a working library again. I would like to suggest that Beyond Baroque hold a book party to which the poets and readers of poetry of Los Angeles contribute as many books as possible. One possibility would be to have a “library committee” of poets go through the piles of books, pick out volumes they believe would most interest Holly and Harry, and then invite them to make their choices, after which we could haul their new library to East Hollywood.

Tuesday evening update:

The GoFundMe campaign to assist Holly Prado and Harry Northup has almost reached the $16,000 level of donations. The project is at the 80 percent mark. Over 170 people have contributed so far. If another forty or fifty people would make a small donation, we would all be able to savor the generosity of our community in helping two of our own recover from a devastating loss.

Once again, my thanks to all of you who have helped these old friends.

Tuesday morning, August 15, 2017

OVER HALFWAY TO THE GOAL OF HELPING HOLLY AND HARRY

Almost 150 people have responded to the GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to help Holly Prado and Harry Northup recover from the fire that devastated their apartment recently. After only four days, almost $13,000 has been pledged to their support. We are only $7,000 away from completing this project. I realize that many of the people who have given have already asked their friends and artistic colleagues to contribute, too, so this final third of the fundraising will not be as easy as the initial push. Nevertheless, I believe there are still many people who would be willing to contribute if they knew about Holly’s and Harry’s plight. Both of them are poets who have responded with absolute imaginative integrity to Cary Nelson’s question at the end of Repression and Recovery: “What is the social value of a life devoted to poetry?”

Harry and Holly met in the mid-1970s, shortly after I had published Feasts, Holly’s novella of “autobiographical fiction.” According to Harry, he felt inspired to meet Holly after reading Feasts. They have been inseparable since then.

Should any of you need quick and easy links to send to people who may not be familiar with Harry’s and Holly’s writing, please avail yourself of the following:

(for Holly Prado)

https://www.culturalweekly.com/holly-prado-three-poems/

http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt3199q9f8/
http://www.worldcat.org/title/feasts/oclc/610178149&referer=brief_results

(for Harry Northup)

http://articles.latimes.com/1993-05-21/news/va-37959_1_harry-northup

http://timestimes3.blogspot.com/2014/03/for-my-love-sleeping-by-harry-e-northup.html?view=sidebar

http://www.worldcat.org/title/enough-the-great-running-chapel/oclc/8506024&referer=brief_results

Update on Assistance for Holly Prado and Harry Northup

Monday, August 14, 2017

The GoFundMe campaign to raise $20,000 for poets Holly Prado and Harry Northup has reached the one-third mark in a very short time: as of this morning, the total raised is slightly more than $7,500.

I first met Holly and Harry back in the early 1970s — before they had met each other, in fact. I met Harry through the Beyond Baroque Wednesday night workshop; and I met Holly because she was in charge of the Southern California Poets-in-the-Schools program and she trained me when I led my first classes. Harry was writing expressionistic serial poems, and Holly was among the first to be writing a significant amount of prose poetry, which in 1974 was hardly given any respect at all. By the time the fourth issue of Momentum magazine came out in the spring of 1975, I had published poems by both of them, and I included them in both of my Los Angeles based anthologies. They have been crucial poets in California’s emergence as a significant conversant in American literature, and as our respected elders deserve an outpouring of support and affirmation.

If you have given, thank you. If you would like to help, please go to:
https://www.gofundme.com/help-holly-prado-harry-northup

or pass along this link to those who might be able to assist them.

The Los Angeles-Minnesota Connection

Saturday, August 5, 2017

“Emerging Writers” Grants in Minnesota

In less than four weeks, I will have students asking, “So what did you do during your summer vacation, Professsor Mohr?” and I’ll respond that “vacation” will deserve yet another set of scare quotes. It’s been several decades since I had a summer off. This year, I had originally hoped to visit two former students in Croatia and spend a couple weeks reading and writing at an arts colony they founded a couple years ago near Pula, but the illness of one of Linda’s sisters impinged on those plans, and so we have stayed in Los Angeles County this summer. I ended up teaching a summer course in 20th century American literature in June and early July, during which time I began reviewing the applications of over 200 writers who live in Minnesota. As is well known to writers in California, Minnesota is the land of milk and honey in terms of literary support. Of course, we who labor at any art other than screenwriting in California tell ourselves that Minnesota has to bribe its writers to stay there. Unless an economic infrastructure provided some cultural largesse, why else would one endure those endless winters?

All envious kidding aside, I was very happy to serve on this panel because I have long felt a kinship with the literary community in Minnesota. I first noticed the editorial hospitality of Minnesota towards poets based in Los Angeles in The Lamp in the Spine, a magazine edited by Jim Moore and Trish Hampl in the 1970s. Their issues included work by Doren Robbins, Holly Prado, and Ameen Alwan. Subsequently, I visited The Loft in 1986 along with Doren Robbins to contribute to an two-day celebration of Tom McGrath’s poetry on the occasion of his 70th birthday.

Two hundred applications, each with an average of 20 pages of writing, is quite a pile to go through and comment on, so being on the panel turned out to be a major undertaking, but it was also very gratifying to see how much good work is being done in Minnesota by writers who have not yet published a substantial amount of work. The grants were for “emerging writers,” which meant that these applicants did not necessarily have to compete with those whose precocity had already allowed them to flourish. Many of the applicants whose work I read in the past couple months will not have to wait too long for a book to come out, however. I spotted at least two dozen manuscripts, in the samples of these portfolios, that will no doubt end up published or scheduled for publication by the end of this decade. For those not chosen for the award, please know that I read carefully, and I truly wish I could have doubled or tripled the number of awards. While a total of fourteen people were listed as winners, alternates, finalists, or deserving of honorable mention, there were at least a half-dozen others whose writing I found memorable. I wished, in fact, that I could have them as students in a workshop and watch their work grow even more compelling and intriguing.

The Loft has released the names of the writers selected by the panel for the “emerging writers” grants in 2017, and I will let its announcement speak for itself.

https://loft.amm.clockwork.net/_asset/4440d4/Winners-of-the-2017-Emerging-Writers-Grant.pdf

Peace Press Poetry Reading – June 17

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I was sitting at my desk this morning, reviewing some applications by writers who live outside of California for grants from the state they live in, and suddenly realized that I should double-check the date of the Peace Press poetry reading. I grabbed the catalogue for the art exhibition at the Arena One Gallery, and much to my surprise, the catalogue’s first page listed Saturday, June 10th, as the date of the reading. “Huh?” I thought. I was certain that the reading was on the 17th, but I’ve made mistakes about this kind of thing before, and so I quickly checked e-mails. According to every e-mail from Dinah Berland, the organizer of the reading, the date of this reading is Saturday, June 17th, a week from today. Her Facebook posting about this event also lists June 17.

The Poets and Poet-Publishers of Peace Press
Saturday, June 17
2 – 4 p.m.
Arena One Gallery
3026 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Readers: Dinah Berland, Michael C. Ford, Deborah Lott, Bill Mohr, Julia Stein, and Rhiannon McGavin.

THE ART OF THE COOKS OF PEACE PRESS is sponsored by the Ash Grove Music Foundation, and is partially underwritten by the Irene B. Wolt Lifetime Trust, and Anonymous. It should also be noted that this art exhibition came about in response to the multi-site exhibition project of the Getty Trust entitled “Pacific Standard Time.” According to the catalogue, “The Arts of the Cooks of Peace Press” was proposed too late in the organizational process of “PST” to be included in that project. Nevertheless, this exhibit demonstrates that the show continues to generate a legacy.

I myself have been invited to be part of this poetry reading not as a poet whose book was printed by Peace Press, but because as the editor and publisher of Momentum Press, I chose Peace Press to be the printer for three of my most important titles: Holly Prado’s Feasts, James Krusoe’s Small Pianos, and Leland Hickman’s Tiresias I:9:B Great Slave Lake Suite. Jim Krusoe might well have been the person who pointed me toward Peace Press, since he had had a chapbook entitled Ju-Ju printed at Peace Press at least a year before I hauled the paste-up board for Feasts to Culver City with the help of my Suzuki Twin-500 motorcycle. In the case of Holly’s book, I was a complete neophyte in terms of publishing, and without the reassuring assistance of the workers at Peace Press, especially Bob Zaugh and Bonnie Mettler, I never would have been able to bring out my first significant publication as an editor/publisher.

As recounted in HOLDOUTS: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1882, the typesetting portion of producing these books was done at NewComp Graphics at Beyond Baroque, and both books were done on machines that had no memory discs to expedite revisions. It was a process of keystroke by keystroke composition, and given that both books were not by any means a standard-format for prose or poetry, it was an arduous challenge to get both books to the printer. Given these struggles and my ambitions to make the work of these poets known beyond Los Angeles, it was very important to me that both of these books look as good as possible; and to this day, I read the books not just for the resonant music of the text, but for the way that the poetry on the page was printed by Peace Press with such sympathetic care as to make it completely absorbable.

IMG_5413

(from left to right: Michael C. Ford; Dinah Berland; Bill Mohr

FEASTS by Holly Prado (1976)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

“to turn our gold into ordinary ground / the best possible solution”

Feasts_BookCover

One of the most tantalizing books I published when I was the literary editor, production manager, and distribution agent for Momentum Press back in the 1970s and 1980s was Holly Prado’s Feasts, which I published in 1976. It’s hard to believe that Feasts is forty years old. Even after all this time, however, it still remains a difficult book to classify. A prose poem novella? Autobiographical fiction? A feminist text that serves as an early example of the use of journal writing as a source of creative self-definition?

I believe that the book is one of the classic pieces of writing in American literature. Although the book is not in print, I have taught it in several graduate seminars at CSU Long Beach; one student summed up many reactions: “Where has this book been all my life?” One answer I give to that question is, “Looking for another publisher.”

FEASTS sold well in the two years after it was published, even though it did not receive many reviews. One of them, however, was in the Los Angeles Times, and I excerpt from it to give you some sense of the book’s impact at the time:

“An experimental novel about a twice-divorced, 36-year-old writer named Clare and her lovers and friends. What’s interesting here is that Prado is truly experimenting…. She splices together a life from fragments of scenes, sentences, dreams, memories … a vivid sense of Clare’s life…. Stylistically the book is worth examining because Prado breathes energy into the flat, half-truth of fiction by writing poetry. (She ) arranges words in breath patterns rather than in sentences … Prado uses the period, the comma, the strophe and antistrophe with a musical exactitude we’ve not heard for a long time.”

I suppose it is a bit of a fantasy to expect a book that has not been in print for over 30 years to appear in an annotated edition, and yet that is what this book needs and deserves. Without at least some commentary accompanying a reprint, a new generation of readers would probably not realize how important it is to go on-line and look up the Woman’s Building, the cultural center in Los Angeles that plays a major role in Feasts. Those who read this book without any awareness of the roman a clef quality of its social context will miss much of the ambience that it has to offer.

I would like to go on record as having made efforts to get Feasts reprinted. Specifically, I have twice approached the Feminist Press in New York City, and each time have failed to receive even the courtesy of a form rejection. The first time they claimed that they never received the copy of the book I sent for their consideration, but the second time I handed a photocopy of the book to the editor along with a return envelope. No response.

Perhaps there is some new feminist press out there that would be willing to undertake this project and include a long introduction and afterword. It is with this hope that I light a cake with 40 candles to celebrate my good fortune in having been its first publisher. I refuse to believe that such a marvelously intimate, tender and lyric piece of feminist affirmation will not be for sale again at Skylight Books.

The AWP will have a major bookfair as part of its annual convention, which opens at the Convention Center in Los Angeles starting tomorrow. In general, the book publishers that are part of the AWP trade show are far more conservative than they imagine themselves to be. The sad truth is that I am not expecting any publisher at that bookfair actually leaving town in anticipation of reading FEASTS and seriously considering taking it on as a reprint project. Nevertheless, I post this notice in the hope that someone still cares about keeping avant-garde feminist writing available to the generation that might well elect the first female president or the first openly Socialist president of the United States.