Dirt Press

DO note: The 2005 Mission statement featured verbs which were in the present tense. In 2007 the Mission statement, you will notice, uses verbs in the past tense in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs. And as you read the Words from the Editor backward from 2007 to 2005 statements you will understand why.

2007 marked the beginning of the end for this iteration of dirtpress.com. The site's domain registration was not renewed before its expiration date and dirtpress.com disappeared from the web.

I was one of those loyal readers that Brian mentions at the end of his 2007 Words from the Editor statement. Recently I discovered that the domain was available, so I bought it with the goal of recreating some of its original content as possible from archived pages. I did not want someone else to purchase the domain and re-purpose the site for something that had nothing in common with the original dirtpress.com website.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PAGE CONTAINS SELECTIVE ARCHIVED CONTENT FROM THE ORIGINAL SITE.

Since the site will not be exactly as you remember it, please be indulgent.

Now let's take a nostalgic stroll back to dirt circa 2007.

 

Mission

We all seek permanence—a firm ground to call our own, a means to embrace and preserve our individuality—but the passage of time, our emotional and physical growth, and the evolution of philosophies are ever marked by movement, variables, schizophrenic trajectories, and at times, conflict. dirt was the articulation of these indelibly transient sensibilities—an attempt to record and relay the snapshots and voices of the malcontent, the optimistic, the lost, the actualized, the misunderstood, the forlorn, the exalted, the damned, the everyday.

dirt was formally a journal, but the spirit of the endeavor had no such explicit boundaries. The depth and breadth of this collective was manifested in the mere expression of thoughts, the act of stream of consciousness or drafted writing, and the artistic composition of positive and negative space; its only limitation was defined by the confines of bound paper (and web pages).

dirt was perhaps the brainchild of individuals, but functioned on the principle of mass consumption, marked by the constant, free-flowing dialogue with the public at large. All submissions were welcome from emerging and established writers and artists, as well as those who simply had something to get off their chest. We wanted to be engaged, moved, taught, intrigued, dismayed, galvanized, repulsed, stimulated. In return, we disseminated the dirt to those who recognized that each work is like a fingerprint—unique and essential—in the annals of our humanity.

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Words from the Editor

2007 dirt 2.5
Welcome to the twelfth, and for the time being, our final online issue (more to follow on this in a moment) of Dirt, 2.5.

We are thrilled to announce our three 2006 Hendrickson Memorial Prize Winners for Short Fiction. The Grand Prize winner, Tracy Koretsky, wrought a piece full of genuine, human drama without succumbing to the traps of sentimentality. The two editor’s choice award-winners offer very different vantages: Gerald Kamens brings us a character study that feels stage-ready, and Toria Savey pens a story brimming with urgency and authenticity. Selected from hundreds of submissions from all over the world, this year’s HMP attests to the power and ambition of all aspiring writers eager to get their voices heard, and we are grateful for the opportunity to review so many compelling stories.

On par with the accompanying prize-winning fiction writers, this final roster of poets truly delivers. A pair of pieces from Andrew Demcak depicts a dark reality through eloquently restrained language. Michelle Greenblatt’s remembrance invests elegiac tone with inertia, while Erin Martin’s dexterously and economically walks a circuitous path with purposeful steps. Many of our readers are now familiar with Jane Ormerod’s wonderful talent for layering information. Tobias Peterson and P.M. Greiner display patience within their densely packed works, and Aaron Jorgensen-Briggs begins in the fog and ends with a light touch.

As with previous issues, there is great variety in the explorations of our contributing artists. Marie Emmermann plays with scale and space. Caroline Hwang offers the allure of texture through embroidery and fabric as she elaborates the scenes around her drawn narratives. Christine Kesler’s more freeform synthesis of collaged material and drawn line and color have an unadulterated energy, while William Steiger takes abstraction in a different and decidedly less material direction, flattening and reducing a variety of scenes into a contemporary lexicon of essential form. Nicki Stager’s deeply saturated images are born from light itself, subtly bearing the mark of the artist’s hand in their composition.

It is with great pride we offer this body of contributed work as our final issue. Issue 2.5 marks the end of our fourth year of producing Dirt and the close of our second volume of issues. As many of you are aware, Dirt has been an all-volunteer labor of love since its inception in 2002. Started on a whim by a collective of artists and writers, we never imagined during that first brainstorming session the depth and breadth of the work we’ve been fortunate to have featured in these twelve issues. As stated in our mission, we strove to find some sort of permanence in an ephemeral medium, and without your support and enthusiasm over the years, we would have never come this far.

There are those among us who believe Dirt will return, but for now our staff has collectively decided to pursue our own contributions to our ever-evolving culture. We will continue to explore funding options with the hope of producing and distributing Dirt: Volume Two, the printed anthology featuring the work seen in Issues 2.0 through 2.5. The website will stay functional in the meantime, and will continue to provide access to our Volume Two archives. And if you haven’t purchased your copy of Dirt: Volume One, now is your chance.

It has been an amazing ride. We’d like to offer our sincere thanks to all those who have made Dirt possible – our dedicated staff, our friends & family, our fearless contributors, and our loyal readers. Thank you all for your support.

Signing off,
Brian Lemond and the Dirt crew

 

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2006 dirt 2.4
Welcome to the eleventh online issue of Dirt, 2.4.

Entry for the 2006 Hendrickson Memorial Prize in Short Fiction officially closed last month, but not before we received over 400 submissions from authors around the globe. Our staff is diligently poring over all the entries and we look forward to announcing the winners in our highly anticipated October issue. We’re also beginning the groundwork for the second Dirt anthology, Volume Two, so watch this space for updates. One final note, our Literary Curator, David Alworth has left us for greener pastures following his acceptance to the University of Chicago where he’ll be focusing on his own writing through poetry, criticism, and theory. We’re happy to have had the opportunity to work with David, and hope you’ll all continue to follow his work and writing.

The artwork in this issue again represents a wide array of the approaches to contemporary artmaking. Each of Martha Rich’s saturated, richly detailed mixed-media work offers a rare synthesis of informality and depth. Ryan Mrozowski’s candy-coated acrylic paintings take a wholly different tack, offering an internal structure demanding deeper attention. Matthew Holloway gracefully balances subject and circumstance to offer quiet commentary, while Glenn Paul Smith’s relentlessly edited overlaps of gesture and rhythm build a sense of contained inertia.

The authors of Issue 2.4 show equal range in their technique, form, and intent. Genanne Walsh arcs around a remembrance, while Jane Ormerod’s assembled impressions and Ariel Goldberg’s assembled ingredients construct new tableaus. There are the dense, dark tales of night and death from Tobias Peterson and Scott Zieher. N.M. Courtright bridges the terrestrial and the celestial in a sustained whisper. Meditations on human nature are found in the form of Jesse Sweet’s patient character construction and Joseph Badtke-Berkow’s atmospheric ruminations, as well as in the wryly analytical accounting of Francis Raven. Richard Young tills our expectations and assumptions, and J. Robert Beardsley invites us to inhabit a pause.

We are again grateful to have the opportunity to publish such original and provocative work. We remain devoted to our growing numbers of contributors and readers, and hope you all find the issue as compelling as we do. Pass it on, and we’ll be here sifting for tomorrow’s gems.

Brian Lemond
Editor-in-Chief

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2005 dirt 2.0
Welcome to the seventh online issue of dirt, 2.0.

After a brief hiatus, I am happy to report that I’m back in the saddle again as Editor-in-Chief of Dirt. First of all, I want to express my gratitude to the staff for pressing on at a critical time for Dirt. Issue 1.5 was a fabulous issue, featuring the works of the 2004 Hendrickson Memorial Prize winners in fiction as well as a dynamic collection of talented artists and poets. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all our contributors for their continuing support, enthusiasm, and commitment to their respective crafts.

The future of Dirt remains bright, as we have laid a strong foundation for Dirt Press’ first printed compilation issue—Dirt: Volume One. With over 100 contributors hailing from 26 countries, Dirt: Volume One will pay homage to all our contributors as Dirt celebrates its two year anniversary online—a significant milestone given the ephemeral nature of literary and arts journals. The design for the anthology is stunning, and we firmly believe it will raise the standard for small journals. Dirt: Volume One will be available both through our website and in select bookstores nationwide this summer—more details about the book and press launch events will be coming soon, so please check the website for updates or register to receive email notices.

Another exciting development is the redesign of our website—Version 2.0 launches with Issue 2.0. We take great pride in being responsive to feedback, both from our readers and contributors, and the new design features many subtle modifications aimed at making the site easier and more enjoyable to use while maintaining our signature aesthetic and the professional presentation of content our steadily growing audience has come to expect.

Again, we thank all of you for your support. Keep the great submissions coming and we’ll keep sifting.

Su Hwang
Editor-in-Chief

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And Now for Some Contributors Pieces

Little Fugue
Andrew Demcak

the sucked bottles
the pervasive thirst

this was the real war I swallowed down
orders funneled through a whiskey glass

ours was a regiment of gulping mouths

I survived the enlisted liquors
inebriated
I desired
sobriety

unable to keep down
my rations
triggering of my drinking
nerve

the nights of pig-iron cocktails
in that sty where my world was served

 

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Half-Life
Michelle Greenblatt

Of course, this is a half-life of sorts. We are drinking fire. It is over but it is never over. This way “love” “dies” like a bad rhythm, like fumes, like a color wasted in a fugue...each shred of the usual signs is psychotropic, has an echo, and knows nothing.

Land sleeps in a volcano. How do the dead summon us? When I sleep poorly, I see you; you cover me in Lorca’s dead kisses. You are the narcosis I crave in the abandonment of each day; you are the scripture of each night’s sculpted moon.

Because grief seals us in our bodies like stopgap and anthologizes emotion as we scrape back on our knees while our perfect bodies bang against the shore—because I am a long line painted in the urgencies of sand drawings as they are washed away—I do this.

I write this down as days ahead pile high as snow heaps in a storm. I know I didn’t learn what I didn’t ask and I never asked what I was supposed to learn. I guess this is what it’s like to fly over you.

 

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Single File the Lamprubbers Homecome (for Ted Roethke)
P.M. Greiner

Single file the lamprubbers homecome,

this time clothed in ruins

and a jabber of Slavic dialects.

Their parkas and boots decay

like speech. Thusly ringmaster them:

Okay ghost-fed loners,

off the lake blows that X-raying

operose cough that’ll go on

leaking your lungs’ true color,

but ‘One measly degree shy of ice’

is too brumal and what-if

a mantra for these transpirings.

No more inert stunts of the head,

nicotine trills and cheapskate

transcendence. Put your coveted winds

to rest, my boys or, headlit on this boatramp,

that repugnant 1989 of easy dreams

and limits will find its paradise

again. Say ‘Fate me, filters,

half-lives, to a puff of joke.’

 

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Christmas Past
Aaron Jorgensen-Briggs

We stood on the bridge, in the fog,
watching cars appear
like lit matches, then

candles, floating on water.

I thought of Benares: sooty
morning fog, butter-colored candles lifting
the names of the dead.

And then, because you wore that houndstooth
cap, I thought of Dickens’ grave, in London.
The night held many cities.

At home, the opened gifts in the living room
had nothing left to say,
and nowhere they were needed. Each held

a portion of the night.

 

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Sloe
Erin Martin

Craving you and plums and sleep, I look in a book full of symbols found in dreams.
It says that the plums are not so important as what condition they are in when found. I am inclined to agree.
I have been given plums that look like you.
felt their sweetness lodged inside blue-black skin. I closed my eyes when I bit inside.
Then I woke up.
There were plums on the ground. I drew your picture in graphite.
I put it in a series of lovers and thirsts. I drew your hands open.
I drew your fingers cocked.

 

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Taxi Ride
Jane Ormerod

I can’t sleep nights I have to be here, there, you know thump

It rains long hours sometimes longer
Sometimes more and more

Can’t you see how my body is tight?
For us to polish one single shoe together could be enough thump

And I won’t tell the Secret Service the sun
Rose in the wrong direction every day last week
I won’t thump tell thump anyone even you

Because it’s like clinking china with sweaty hands
The sun, tightness, darktime thump

 

 

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/colliding/
Tobias Peterson

visions lurk/ in your movements
bright angles/ of knowing/ by degrees/ brief histories
breaching/ hum aquamarine/ under lamplight
as a finger/ in stasis/ at your earlobe/ a blooming
is the night/ colliding/ under the pleides
in damp wool/ deft arrangement/ reeling
an awakening/ beneath brief bursts of light

(Animals and streets, there is no difference
Blood, adults, children, popcorn
All the same)

And I won’t thump
Leave thump
Levitate
Lactate
Believe in one delighted angel only thump

I am a sewer
I like funny with problems
When I was a boy, I cried behind the sofa thump

I am a sewer
I can say things twice thump

I am a manhole
I can differentiate between the barks of grey and brindle dogs
Chew the boiled eggs in my pocket
Gut the mackerel skin skies
I am again for rent

Do you hear me? thump again thump
Do you want to? Do you want want wish to move from here?
Now? Right now? So stick out that hand

You know I used to sleep through nights
I ran through woodland groves
The mosquitoes left me thump well thump alone

 

Staff as of 2007 dirt 2.5

 

Brian Lemond
Editor-in-Chief / Co-Founder

In addition to being an artist, editor, and writer, Brian is the President of the Experimental Modern Arts Collective (XMAC), a non-profit arts research organization, and a design principal at the Brooklyn Digital Foundry. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Brian attended the University of Texas at Austin, then received a Master of Architecture at Harvard University in 2000. He is a sculptor, photographer, designer, and yes, moonlights as a poet.

Su Hwang
Editor At-Large / Co-Founder

Su is a writer of short fiction and a self-professed art aficionado. She holds a dual Bachelors degree in Creative Writing & Literature and Art History from Binghamton University. Prior to relocating to San Francisco to set up Dirt’s west coast office, Su was a content producer for Guggenheim.com as well as their main liaison with the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Most recently, she was a design coordinator for a major art gallery in San Francisco. Her other interests include but are not limited to vintage scooters, modern architecture, and The New Yorker.

Philip Ryan
Web Architect

Phil is a renegade architect both in the virtual and real world. He is currently a Project Architect at the award-winning architecture firm of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien in midtown Manhattan, as well as a founder of the Brooklyn Digital Foundry, and director of the Experimental Modern Arts Collective (XMAC). His penchant for blue turtleneck sweaters has caused many to be alarmed by an apparent foray into v-neck and crew neck sweaters this winter. He has dismissed this as idle rumor and lies, and remains committed to only wearing blue turtleneck sweaters.

Robert Szot
Associate Editor

Robert is a painter currently concentrating on large-scale abstract work. To fulfill his dream of being a full-time starving artist, he has flipped off the tech industry, forgoing regular paychecks. Born in Newark, New Jersey, he spent his childhood in Houston and attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a degree in Journalism in 1998. He was once a guitarist in a short-lived rock band in Texas, but has turned to the visual arts and is a member of a painting studio in Manhattan. Robert now resides in Brooklyn with his modern furniture collection, an extensive library of Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson memorabilia, and has added a sweet ride - a vintage Lambretta - to his long list of loves.

(In 2005 at the start of dirtpress.com Shane Beagin was part of the Staff. By 2007 he had moved on to other adventures.)

Shane Beagin
Production Editor

Shane is a photographer-turning-painter and is somewhat of a self-professed graphics production guru—meaning he is an expert on anything graphic and anything that is produced. Born in a small, beachfront community in Southern California, Shane is neither a surfer dude nor an actor disguised as a waiter, but can at times exhibit odd, west-coast behavior. He moved to the verdant regions of Northern California to attend college, then settled in San Francisco for a good number of years before migrating east. He now resides in Brooklyn and is still confounded by the complex yet readily accessible network of public transportation.

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