Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dark Mountain Anthology Published

For several years now, I have published most of my writing with the Dark Mountain group in England. I suppose it doesn't make much sense as a publishing decision. They can't afford to pay authors anything yet, and the issues are mainly distributed in England, so very few people I knew could read them.

I was sure, though, from the first time I read the Dark Mountain manifesto -- and then Paul Kingsnorth's essays (which I still think are the best writing that has come out of this collective) -- that this was the right place for me. Since then, except for magazine contract work, I haven't published my writing elsewhere because I know that most of it wouldn't exist if it wasn't for this community.

Still, I always wished the books were easier to find in America. Now Chelsea Green -- one of our last truly independent publishers -- has put out an anthology of work from the issues that Dark Mountain has published so far. The book includes my essay on the Mahabharata, "Strange Children," and an interview I did with Dmitry Orlov.

I haven't read the whole volume yet, but have already found much writing that it is an honor to share space with: Jason Benton's "Prospecting for Equanimity," about the progressive desecration of his family's land in Western Pennsylvania; "Shikataganai," Florence Caplow's essay on a garden built by an unknown prisoner in Manzanar, the Japanese internment camp; and Persephone Pearl's short piece on the death of the last passenger pigeon, which felt like a haunting and completely realized version of a story I had tried to write many years ago.

I often have this feeling reading the work in Dark Mountain -- of encountering other people succeeding at things that I had botched. But instead of wounded vanity I always felt gratitude that it had finally been gotten right, nevermind by who.

Anyway, please buy the book. If any of my work from the past few years interests you, you will find much more to appreciate inside these pages. You can get it from Chelsea Green (currently at a discount), or from your local bookstore. Or, you know, that other place.

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