Since 2019, EWF has collaborated with artist-run collectives to produce a series of events at each festival known as EWF X. This year, three collectives will be participating in EWF X: Thin Red Lines, Schizy Inc and Rosa Press. We invited each collective to answer a couple of quick questions and introduce themselves to the EWF Blog. Today we chat to Rosa Press.
Hello! Please introduce yourself and your collective to the EWF Blog. How did Rosa Press commence, and what sorts of voices do you look to amplify?
Rosa Press began around a kitchen table on unceded Wangal country in 2020. We were having conversations with friends and comrades about the relationship between poetry and struggle and we had a desire to try to start a small publishing operation that was dedicated to communism and its poetics, which we take be the revolutionary project concerned with bringing about a world in which everyone has access to things they need. We were also noticing that small press and diy publishing dedicated to poetry was going through a tough time – a number of existing presses had decided pause or wind up their operations and so we thought it might be a good time to start Rosa Press.
The press began, and continues, as a bit of an experiment. We have a zero-growth model meaning that we put some money into the first set of publications and the hope is that the sales from one publication will go directly toward funding the next publications. We have no ambition to grow beyond this model and we we’ll keep doing the press as long as everyone involved in it is having a good time. We believe that making books – like reading them – should be social and so we try to make things slowly, over meals and conversations and cuppas. In terms of what we publish, we are committed to the poetry and poetics of communism – which for us, is inseparable from abolition (of the colony, of the wage, of prisons, of race). We are interested in the dismantling structures of misery and the accumulation of pleasure. Bread and roses for all!
What does community mean to you?
Community means solidarity, which is grounded in what Édouard Glissant calls the ‘right to opacity’, which also conditions friendship, which includes caring for elders and raising kids, which always involves meals and snacks. Community is way of thinking togetherness, a way of refusing individuation, a source of collective power. And the building of a shared sense of collective power is what might allow us to make a different world beyond the colonial-capital relation. Writing poems and reading poems is a way to make community that requires nothing other than our collective presence. Poetry is of this world, reflecting the miserable present, but in coming together to hear friends and comrades read poems aloud is one way to feel the shape of a community that looks beyond the miserable now.
Are there any other events you are looking forward to on the EWF program?
We’re stoked to see such a rich, vibrant, and staunch program. We’re looking forward to everything but want to give a shout out to our small press comrades at Liminal and on the Hot of the (Small) Press panel!
What have you been consuming right now? Reading, listening, observing – feel free to be as broad as you like!
We are always reading a thousand books at once, for work and pleasure and study and to our kid. To give a very truncated map of coordinates: at the moment, we’re reading the novels of Dennis Cooper, the poems of Emily Stewart, Elena Gomez, Alli Warren, Brandon Brown, Divya Victor, Alison Whittaker; we’re reading all of John Berger’s luminous essay collections; we’re reading Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s new book, Abolition Geographies. We’re halfway through Andrea Brady’s Poetry and Bondage and Giovanni Arrighi’s The Long Twentieth Century. We read everything our pals at Stolon Press make. We read whatever our kid’s favourite book is on repeat for weeks on end. We’re listening to Noel and Trish Butler’s CD Look Learn Sing Dance, an incredible album for kids. We’re also listening to NTS Radio, Rydeen, and Charli XCX. We’re watching The Americans and Sesame Street.
What can we expect at your event? Where can we learn more about Rosa Press?
Poetry, communism, abolition, desire. Tabitha Lean, Carlos Soto Román, Chelsea Hart.
You can find us at: rosapress.net
Learn more about EWF X Rosa Press: We Want Everything here. We Want Everything takes place Wednesday 22 June, 7.30-8.30pm online via Zoom.