First: Travelogues has received a beautifully thoughtful new cover quote from Shastra Deo (in addition to that wonderfully joyous one from CSE Cooney):
“Travelogues: Vignettes From Trains in Motion tracks between fairytale forest and human industry, refiguring the railway through the tender wildness of the everyday. Delightfully unexpected in their metaphors, as wrought in sound as in image, these poems embody our attention and our daydreams—casting new light, new shadows. Jennings makes magic of the detail and colour of the quotidian world, where a cluster of rust-wrecked cars are kindred with autumn leaves, where a bare tree twins curves of concrete, where a train is a knife slicing through butter-and-honey light. Nearly there, nearly there. A world at work, remade through window and motion. And further.”
– Shastra Deo, Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize winning author of The Agonist
Shastra very much picked up on some of the ideas I was working through in the book.
Second: I’ve been friends with Peter M Ball for a while now — although it was a few years before I realised he lived in the same city as me (I assume many of my friends and acquaintances primarily inhabit the halls of convention hotels). Peter is one of the people whose minds I admire — the way he thinks through making things and putting them into world (which is something we’re both fascinated by, in various ways). I’ve followed his blog and his writing, we’ve overlapped at uni together and met up with Angela Slatter to write and scheme (technically I crashed their scheming club), he gave me a panel to chair at a GenreCon that confirmed my love of moderating, and we’ve introduced each other to (and occasionally disagreed over) a lot of books.
And I’ve watched, fascinated, as he’s worked through all the practical and theoretical considerations involved in starting Brain Jar Press — initially experimenting with his own projects, and then bringing out Angela’s Red New Day chapbook, and now my Travelogues, and next… well, stay tuned, there are interesting projects in the works and Brain Jar Press is very much worth keeping an eye on.
In the current issue of his newsletter, Notes from the Brain Jar, Peter has set out some of how my Travelogues became a Brain Jar project (and, to a degree, vice versa!), and what his thoughts on the book are — gratifying to the author of course, but really interesting for the technical side of things (I appreciate watching how people think through their work).
Here’s a little bit:
Many, many years ago—long before I started writing SF—I wrote an honours thesis on poetics and place and how poetry uses line length, punctuation, and white space to generate its effects. I hadn’t thought about those things much for twenty years, but reading Kathleen’s tweets I could see the patterns there, the little callbacks to my favourite poetic style and an ear for rhythm that only comes from reading a metric ton of poetry out loud.
Friends, I gotta tell you, during the weird early days of the Pandemic it was all chaos and gloom and what comes next, it was extraordinarily comforting to sit down with the edits for this book and immerse myself in the language.
More importantly, it was a pleasure to see the world differently, because Kathleen just plain looks at things in ways other people don’t. The whole book is a reminder that even in the most ordinary things, there is a little touch of magic. We’re marketing this one as poetry, because it is in so many ways, but really its little slices of hope and wonder and a chance to see the world in a slightly different way.
You can read more in the newsletter — scroll down to the heading Travelogues.
But this issue of the newsletter also contains a quite lengthy and in-depth section on Brain Jar itself (look for the heading Paperclips) and why he would start a micropress, and what the pleasures and challenges of it are. So if you are curious — professionally or otherwise — about those aspects, I highly recommend checking it out (and you can subscribe to the newsletter here).
New Book Day — Notes from the Brain Jar — 10 September 2020
Travelogues: vignettes from trains in motion is available for preorder in print and as an ebook.
And to occupy you while you wait — my debut Australian Gothic novel(la) Flyway is very much out in the world and available to buy, borrow, listen to, etc, and people have been saying lovely things about it.
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