Tag Archives: culture

Press Release: Red Dashboard publishes Steel Cut Oats

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Red Dashboard Press announces release of Steel Cut Oats by Joshua Gray

April 12, 2015

Washington DC — Red Dashboard Press is pleased to announce the release of Steel Cut Oats, a new book of poetry by Joshua Gray. Gray began writing the collection as a companion to the book Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice, a book that celebrates food, culture and tradition as an integral synthesis to maintain health and well-being.

But the scope of the Gray’s vision widened to include other poems as well as recipes; in doing so, Gray infuses food and poetry to tackle both the traditions of ancient cultures as well as his own personal experiences of contemporary ways of life.

“Steel Cut Oats is not a cookbook. It is a book of food for the gods. Joshua Gray writes through the honest, curious eyes of all the families in our world. Gray surveys the heavens and moons above, and then cores them with metaphors for emotional satiety. He challenges stereotypes and spurs new revelations for his audience. He transforms food into life, and then back again to season its seasoning with these enticing poems.”

— Andrew Jarvis, author of The Strait

“There are other poems in the book as well as the ones written in response to Prentice’s work. I decided to include these poems early on in the vision of Steel Cut Oats, but the recipes came later on. While Prentice’s book centers more around food and tradition, the poems I wrote as a response Full Moon Feast were not as obviously centered around food. So the recipes were a way to tie everything together into a cohesive whole. The recipes are favorite ones of mine, and are to be used more as a starting off point than to be followed directly, although they certainly can be. The point of the recipes is more the creative process than anything else,” Joshua Gray states.

As for the poems he wrote in response to Prentice’s book, Gray found the process very difficult.

“After reading Full Moon Feast, I knew I wanted to write a sort of poetic companion, but the poems did not come easy. I found many of my initial drafts to be very didactic in nature, something I really felt I needed to avoid. Through the course of several years I tried writing and rewriting, until I had an epiphany while riding down a beautiful mountain in southern India: I didn’t need to state the importance of the subject matter in any way — Prentice had already done that — I just needed to highlight each of her chapters in a brief yet creative way. After I realized this, the writing came easier.”

Red Dashboard, LLC (www.reddashboard.com) publishes an electronic magazine called Annapurna, which seeks food-centric submissions, as well as an annual anthology about food called Clarify; thus, Gray didn’t need to look far to find a publisher for his manuscript, since he had been published by Red Dashboard in the past.

For more information about Steel Cut Oats, Red Dashboard, LLC, or any of its publications, publisher and editor Elizabeth Akin Stelling can be reached at editor@reddashboard.com.

Poetry FAIL

Warning. This is a rant.

I am getting really tired of physical bookstores — the kind with a front door and shelves and an actual counter you walk up to in order to buy something — and their complete and total lack of awareness to the genre known as poetry. I received a gift card to an unnamed chain bookstore (but take your pick — they’re all the same) and drove to the nearest one to see what they had available. What I found was anything but surprising. While I was thankful that the store allocated two columns of bookshelves to poetry instead of one, or worse, merely a couple rows, the buyer for the store seemed to think that the drama section, which was next to the poetry section, only needed to include Shakespeare, and the poetry section only required famous dead white male poets and a couple minority and female poets.

While I am not disputing the importance of the poets that DID rest on the shelves, there is a whole huge community of contemporary poets all across the world who deserved to have their spot in any bookstore.

Within its four walls the store carried toys, puzzles, stuffed animals, board games, gourmet snacks, and a whole lot of other non-book-related items. Most of the books in the store were from contemporary authors. But the entire history of poetry, including today’s poets, were represented by fewer than ten poets.

Seriously?

There are so many things wrong with this picture — I don’t know where to start. From the store’s buyer, to the literature media coverage, it is no wonder people tell me poetry is a dying art.

Poetry is not dead — the people in a position to make a difference are.