The State That Springfield Is In by Tom C. Hunley Coming November 10, 2015

1coverPreview

cover design by J. Scott Bugher

We are happy to announce Tom C. Hunley will be joining the Split Lip family with his killer collection of poems called The State That Springfield Is In, a full-length book of verse based on the Fox animated sitcom, The Simpsons. Here’s what we have to say about the book. We’re super excited to release it on November 10, 2015.

Inspired by America’s most prominent hallmark of modern pop culture, The Simpsons, poet Tom C. Hunley shares his narratives––autobiographical or allegorical––by channeling the eccentric personae of residents in the animated sitcom’s town, Springfield, and trusting their voices to speak on his behalf, resulting in true poetic entertainment. As author Denise Du Vernay states in the collection’s introduction, “Tom’s interaction with The Simpsons doesn’t follow sitcom or even cartoon rules. He doesn’t have to. Tom follows a mysterious set of rules, completely unknown to those of us without a poet’s sensibilities.” That is the sentiment that defines Hunley as an artist. He is a poet who has a firm grip on poetic formalism (the “rules”), but, as is the case with any true artist––perhaps a guitarist for the sake of a metaphoric example––Hunley knows when it’s time to part from his Eddie Van Halen trickery in exchange for what resonates with those who are unfamiliar with the “rules,” “theories, and “doctrines” of art: gritty power chords strummed in the manners of Kurt Cobain or Johnny Ramone.

While capable of boggling a reader’s mind with poetics only a limited audience bothers to appreciate these days, Hunley has taken to The Simpsons in order to depart from the shoebox diorama boundaries most readers and writers of verse wallow in, and instead reach out to those of us who want to feel aroused by humor and drama rather than feel disoriented by, for example, accounts of lucid dreaming juxtaposed with archaic Polish folklore found in the nationalistic opera of Stanislaw Moniuszko. In short, Hunley wants poetry back on the map as an element of pop culture rather than vaulted property of academia and patrons of Sotheby’s auction house. The State That Springfield Is In may very well be the poetry collection to materialize his bold objective.

 

Save The University of Akron Press

123

 

 

 

 

Hey folks. I’ve been seeing some heartbreaking headlines posted all over social media regarding the University of Akron’s potential to close its book press and couldn’t help but to post an open letter to its top administrators: Scott Scarborough (President), Lawrence Burns (Vice President of Advancement), Mike Sherman (Senior Vice President, Provost & Chief Operating Officer), and Paul Herold (Secretary of the Board of Trustees). It’s posted below. If you feel inclined to learn more and see what you can do to help keep the book press in biz, visit the Save The University of Akron Press’ Facebook Page!

Dear Scott Scarborough, Lawrence Burns, Mike Sherman & Paul Herold––

I am writing with uniformed concern for the University of Akron’s book press, and I say uninformed because I am unaware of the school’s situation in full, and, though a bit speculative, I frankly believe media outlets suppress facts to produce more persuasive journalism. If, however, recent headlines are accurate regarding University of Akron’s plans to halt its book press funding, then I am obligated to ask: would you please consider other means to transpose the institution’s budget from deficit to reclamation?

Akron’s book press has been an essential contributor to the literary arts for thirty years, and its most notable effort, I’d argue, is the esteemed Akron Series in Poetry. On the one hand, through an entrepreneurial lens, I can see how one may justify considering poetry an expense worth omitting since, as a product, it has very little monetary value, and its supply trumps its demand. On the other hand, through an academic lens, there is a fundamental need to preserve and respect poetry since it cannot be forgotten the arts are precursors of the sciences, and if academia believes the arts have been exhausted to the extent of futility, then the academy is, in fact, blaspheming its own being.

The first and foremost duty of academia is to embrace and respect preexisting knowledge, to shelter it in order to promote research and discovery and/or creation of yet-to-exist knowledge. Poetry of the past must remain in the proverbial knowledge arsenal, and the poetry of contemporary thinkers that has yet to be written and/or published must remain in the academy’s diet for even more knowledge. The academy must stay hungry for knowledge and remember an appetite for profit belongs to the entrepreneur’s diet.

While I can respect the business component of university operations, I cannot say I fully understand it since I am a romantic with a fervent desire for academia to get reacquainted with its roots, or to at least aim effort toward doing so. There are valid reasons, I’m sure, that the academy has been pressed to take a more corporate approach to operations, but there has got to be a way to balance things and take a reformative approach rather than a transformative approach by remembering knowledge stockpiles as a result of synergy between multiple domains in both the sciences and the arts.

You claim to function as a polytechnic university––an admirable approach. Your website even defines it to an etymological level: Polytechnic = Polutekhnos, which is Polu (many) + tekhné (arts). By cutting the book press, it seems your approach will deflate to: Ligótera (fewer) + tekhné (arts). Please be kind to your reputation and maintain the purity of your polytechnic approach by preserving your book press.

Thank you,

J. Scott Bugher

Founder & Publisher

Split Lip Press & Magazine

www.splitlippress.com

www.splitlipmagazine.com