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Twelve years ago, a guy named Bush was president, the country was in the midst of turmoil in the Middle East, and, although the president enjoyed unprecedented support, seeds of opposition were beginning to spread. Some things are slow to change. Meanwhile, Boston was experiencing a harsh recession and Jamaica Plain (one of Boston’s southern...
Twelve years ago, a guy named Bush was president, the country was in the midst of turmoil in the Middle East, and, although the president enjoyed unprecedented support, seeds of opposition were beginning to spread. Some things are slow to change. Meanwhile, Boston was experiencing a harsh recession and Jamaica Plain (one of Boston’s southern neighborhoods) became a low-rent mecca for aspiring artists, musicians, and writers.A blend of inspiration, naiveté, technology, and vision led a handful of these artists to found compost magazine. Their mission was to facilitate a better understanding of the world’s people through art and literature by re-internationalizing poetry in the United States, by showcasing emerging and established artists in the Boston area and across the continent.Early issues featured translations from Russian, Bengali, and Bulgarian; sketches and artwork by inter-national and Boston-area artists; and poetry and interviews with Robert Pinsky, KRS-ONE, and Rosanna Warren. Each issue contained a feature on the poetry of a culture other than mass culture USA, a section called "Hear America Singing" that featured established and emerging writers from the U.S., and a section that presented Boston-area artists and writers.Much of the inspiration for compost’s international slant came from the publisher James Laughlin and the translator Kenneth Rexroth. Laughlin was one of compost’s earliest enthusiasts, as well as their most frequent contributor; and the magazine created a Memorial Translation Prize to honor Kenneth Rexroth.Greatest Hits contains a range of work from compost’s twelve-year run, an overview of the magazine’s conception and history from two of its editors, and a preface by Rosanna Warren.Kevin Gallagher and Margaret Bezucha are two of the founding editors of compost magazine.
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