A nonprofit press based in New York State, Nightboat books has been around since the early 2000’s, publishing over eighty titles since its conception. The press definitely places an emphasis on publishing poetry, but also dips its toes into the waters of fiction and essays. Its mission is simple–showcase works that push the boundaries of what the medium can do.
but it’s a long way by Frédérique Guétat-Liviani, translated by Nathanaël
Guétat-Liviani’s work blends physical borders, language, and racial politics in a stunning and important package. Expertly translated by Nathanaël, this book of poetry brings the neighborhoods of Avignon to the forefront through a series of transcribed conversations from the public housing areas. It navigates undeniably murky waters as the variety of narrative threads, given conviction by their undeniable reality, flits from the effects of racially driven capitalism, policies of exclusion, and the liminal spaces people categorized as “other” must occupy in a society that subtly maneuvers to insulate itself. The work is an intensely interesting piece that is fueled by the immediacy of its subject matter. A useful essay talking about the process of making it, as well as the inclusion of the original French text for the francophiles out there, give a handy addition to round out this worthwhile work.
The Mausoleum of Lovers by Hervé Guibert, translated by Nathanaël
A fascinating mix of epistolary art and meandering thought, Guibert’s series of journals from 1976-1991 speak of writing a novel in the future, an endeavor that is eventually engulfed by the journals themselves. It is usually an interesting thing to peek inside the mind of an artist, whether the form chosen is written, visual, or musical. However, rarely does the artist so intimately articulate the beauty of failure as Guibert does here. A work that so eagerly awaits its inevitable destruction and glories in the wild and chaotic everyday mess of thought and idea, all the while refusing to be combed into a neat work, is a precious, remarkable thing. Guibert’s journals show that there is beauty in this chaos—as well as a strange peace.