Poetry Festival Preview: Augury Books
Interview with co-editor Kate Angus.
1. Tell us a little bit about your organization.
Augury Books is an independent press committed to publishing innovative work from emerging and established writers and to reaffirm the diversity of the reading public. Christine Kanownik, my co-editor, and I have been friends since meeting in the New School’s MFA program. We diverge fairly sharply in our aesthetics, both in terms of what poets we read and our own writing, and we thought it would be great to have a press that covered the waterfront the way our tastes do since, between the two of us, we range pretty far across the contemporary poetry landscape. Our editorial vision is to be respectful and encouraging of that diversity, and to find the works that fall in the Venn diagram overlap between us; if we’re both excited about a poet, that poet must be pretty damn compelling. We occasionally host readings both as a direct representation of our press (at launch parties or off-site at AWP with the Table X / Y consortium), but also for events that don’t have any connections to our books. The first event we had for Augury was when we co-curated a reading for The Rubin Museum as part of their “Talks about Nothing” series in January 2011, almost a year before the press itself was up and running, and none of the poets who read for that are ones we publish, although we love their work.
2. Who is reading in your slot at the Festival and why?
Two of our readers, B.C. Edwards and Paige Lipari, are both poets whose chapbooks we’ve published. Geoffrey Nutter is our third reader because, although we don’t publish him, both Christine and I love his work; he falls in that perfect Venn diagram sweet spot I mentioned earlier.
3. Who else are you looking forward to seeing at the Festival?
I don’t even know how to choose, there’s such a plethora of great options. I’m excited about seeing everyone! Spending a weekend wandering around an island and listening to a hundred or so poets reading their work is pretty dreamy, especially if I can eat cotton candy while doing so.
4. Did you attend the festival last year? If so, what was your favorite thing about it?
I couldn’t go last year and I was super-jealous of how much fun everyone there was having, so I feel like I have last year’s deficit to make up for this year. I’ll have to ask everyone to read to me twice!
5. Why is live poetry important?
Because poetry is an active living art form. It exists primarily on the page, and the intimate relationship of a reader reading a poem to themselves, in communion with the poem while the rest of the world fades away, is very important to me, but it’s also important to get poets and their audience out into the world together; to hear poetry in the poet’s own voice and make eye contact and maybe even make friends and go out for drinks together afterwards. We are all part of a community, poets and readers alike, and so we should be actively engaged in the world together off the page too.