Monday, August 8, 2011

Independent Publishers

At last week’s OutWrite event, there was discussion regarding the current state of independent publishers competing against the large, integrated media companies.  These small presses survive when people buy the books and periodicals that they publish.  I would like to recommend one, Assaracus, a quarterly journal of gay poetry published by Sibling Rivalry Press.  I bought a copy of issue 3 on the recommendation of Philip CIark, who wrote one of the poems in the section called “Poems Inspired by James Franco”. 

At first, I didn’t pay much attention to the title of the periodical, assuming it had something to do with “Ass”.  I didn’t totally trust the Wiki result when I finally decided to google Assaracus, and so I consulted my other sources (references available upon request).  Turns out that “Assaracus” is also the name of a descendant of Zeus, via Dardanus, Erichthonius, and Tros.  Assaracus was one of the sons of Tros.  Ganymede was his brother.  Ganymede was, of course, without issue, but Assaracus was the grandfather of Anchises, who was the father of Aeneas.  Aeneas relates this noble lineage to Achilles on the battlefield in a memorable passage in book 20 of the Iliad.   I’m glad that the publisher decided not to call the periodical “Ganymede”.  That would have been too easy.  I ordered a one year subscription.



Tim said...

Thanks for the post, Tom. Even if I had worked my way through the 20th book of the Iliad I doubt I would have remembered Assaracus. And throughout the wealth of books and periodicals on offer—OutWrite was certainly a publishers' success—I managed to miss Assaracus ... which is the harder to understand since their cover art is so distinguished. Maybe you or Philip can bring a copy to our September 21 meeting.

DCSteve1441 said...

Yes, please do bring a copy!

Tom Wischer said...

I will bring my copy of issue 3 to the next meeting. I will also bring issues 1 and 2 if they arrive on time (a bonus from the publisher for ordering a 1 year suscription). In the meantime, and for the edification of Tim, below is the passage form the Iliad to wich I refer in my post as it was "translated" by Alexander Pope, which is out of copyright and easy to cut and paste from the web. It makes a swell read, it is very pretty, but it is not Homer (paraphrasing a contemporary critic of Pope's translation). Aeneas is responding to the taunts and insults of Achilles.

To this Anchises' son: "Such words employ
To one that fears thee, some unwarlike boy;
Such we disdain; the best may be defied
With mean reproaches, and unmanly pride;
Unworthy the high race from which we came
Proclaim'd so loudly by the voice of fame:
Each from illustrious fathers draws his line;
Each goddess-born; half human, half divine.
Thetis' this day, or Venus' offspring dies,
And tears shall trickle from celestial eyes:
For when two heroes, thus derived, contend,
'Tis not in words the glorious strife can end.
If yet thou further seek to learn my birth
(A tale resounded through the spacious earth)
Hear how the glorious origin we prove
From ancient Dardanus, the first from Jove:
Dardania's walls he raised; for Ilion, then,
(The city since of many-languaged men,)
Was not. The natives were content to till
The shady foot of Ida's fountful hill.
From Dardanus great Erichthonius springs,
The richest, once, of Asia's wealthy kings;
Three thousand mares his spacious pastures bred,
Three thousand foals beside their mothers fed.
Boreas, enamour'd of the sprightly train,
Conceal'd his godhead in a flowing mane,
With voice dissembled to his loves he neigh'd,
And coursed the dappled beauties o'er the mead:
Hence sprung twelve others of unrivall'd kind,
Swift as their mother mares, and father wind.
These lightly skimming, when they swept the plain,
Nor plied the grass, nor bent the tender grain;
And when along the level seas they flew,
Scarce on the surface curl'd the briny dew.
Such Erichthonius was: from him there came
The sacred Tros, of whom the Trojan name.
Three sons renown'd adorn'd his nuptial bed,
Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymed:
The matchless Ganymed, divinely fair,
Whom heaven, enamour'd, snatch'd to upper air,
To bear the cup of Jove (ethereal guest,
The grace and glory of the ambrosial feast).
The two remaining sons the line divide:
First rose Laomedon from Ilus' side;
From him Tithonus, now in cares grown old,
And Priam, bless'd with Hector, brave and bold;
Clytius and Lampus, ever-honour'd pair;
And Hicetaon, thunderbolt of war.
From great Assaracus sprang Capys, he
Begat Anchises, and Anchises me.
Such is our race: 'tis fortune gives us birth,
But Jove alone endues the soul with worth:
He, source of power and might! with boundless sway,
All human courage gives, or takes away.
Long in the field of words we may contend,
Reproach is infinite, and knows no end,
Arm'd or with truth or falsehood, right or wrong;
So voluble a weapon is the tongue;
Wounded, we wound; and neither side can fail,
For every man has equal strength to rail:
Women alone, when in the streets they jar,
Perhaps excel us in this wordy war;
Like us they stand, encompass'd with the crowd,
And vent their anger impotent and loud.
Cease then—Our business in the field of fight
Is not to question, but to prove our might.
To all those insults thou hast offer'd here,
Receive this answer: 'tis my flying spear."

Tim said...

Pope is always grateful, but when I said I hadn't "worked my way through the 20th book of the Iliad" I meant—I guess I shouldn't say "of course"—that I hadn't read it in the original, as I had the first, and many books of the Odyssey