Thursday, October 07, 2060

Almost Island: Issue 1

Dear friends,

Please find the first issue of ALMOST ISLAND now online at:

Almost Island is a new literary magazine, edited by Sharmistha Mohanty, with Vivek Narayanan as consulting editor. Based in India, we are resolutely international in scope and conception. We are dedicated to distinctive, essential, innovative, exploratory writing, with special emphasis on the internal and the philosophical. Each new issue will endeavour to publish a substantial selection of work as an introduction to a small number of writers. There will also be shorter updates to the issue each month. All texts are available both on screen and as pdf downloads.


The inaugural issue of Almost Island is all PROSE, but this includes poems in prose, and a wide variety of styles, forms and approaches. Find here a range of alternatives to what your average mass-marketed prose machines are serving up:

[Contributors listed in alphabetical order]

Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, from Madeleine Is Sleeping :
Excerpts from one of the most unusual novels to be shortlisted for the National Book Award: a darkly sexual and even perverse fable written in rich, distinctive and ringing language.

Cybermohalla, What Is It that Flows Between Us :
Three texts by members of Ankur / Sarai-CSDS's Cybermohalla labs. True views of Delhi from the inside, intense, navigating steadily and intently away from categories and easy narratives of heroism and victimhood, and from the cliched seductions of traditional narratives altogether--explorations without "the weight of presentation within".

Mikhail Epstein , from Cries in the New Wilderness
Excerpts from the "cult classic" by one of Russia's quirkiest and most original contemporary philosophers: an ethnographic catalogue of shadowy religious cults that may or may not have existed, hidden in the folds of the former Soviet Union--purportedly taken from the files of Moscow's erstwhile "Institute of Atheism".

David Herd, from Mandelson! Mandelson! and The Hut
Is it actually possible to keep it real in the age of manipulative images, compulsive consumption and panacea-peddlers? What is the price we pay for our cynicism? In the most contemporary language, with a light touch but one completely free of easy sentimentalism, these poems and fictions ask the ancientest of questions, and make a strong case, despite despair, for the return of enthusiasm. David Herd's writings somehow make you feel happier: a rare effect in literature.

Kent Johnson, I Once Met and 33 Rules for Poets Under 23
Two works from one of the most subversive and, in fact, serious writers: a warm, various and often naughty encyclopaedic embrace of poets famous and obscure; and unflinching advice for young poets, after the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra.

James Alan McPherson, Going Up to Atlanta
A relentlessly honest and searching improvisatory memoir, that explores uncertain recollections of racial discrimination and the rise and fall and rise of a family, that seeks to answer the question, "Can the offspring ennoble the ancestor?" From one of America's most important writers of short stories and literary non-fiction, and a past winner of the Putlitzer Prize.

Tosa Motokiyu, The Strange Account of 'A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island'
A fascinating and ambiguous "critical fiction", curiously fusing together elements of literary criticism, memoir and detective parody, proposing, with disturbing, factual and convincing circumstantial evidence, that Frank O'Hara was not quite the author you thought he was. It does make you wonder.

Srikanth Reddy, Voyager
In this long excerpt from his current project, a book length poem composed of sentences, Srikanth Reddy continues to consider our world and its total history as if through some kind of new, intensified lens, both passionate and estranged, both lyrical and aphoristic by turns, working from first principles, asking, it would seem to us, what is world, what is looking, what is representation, what is time, what is sequence?

Rodrigo Rey Rosa, The Proof and The Truth
Simple, violent, ruthless, and deeply disturbing philosophical tales, inevitable and irrefutable, by one of Guatemala's most respected writers. Translated by Paul Bowles.

George Szirtes, 6 Prose Poems
New work from the major Hungarian-British poet and translator, winner of the TS Eliot prize for his luminous Reel-- varied, typically understated, and patient but insistently, methodically, weird. Suddenly things are not so solid, or so clear. Suddenly you no longer know where you are.

Eliot Weinberger, The Rhinoceros
A rare and carefully modulated elegy for the rhinoceros, collaging images, hearsay, myth and history, starting with the arrival of the first rhinoceros in Europe 1300 years after the fall of Rome. Weinberger is, among many other things, well known as the translator of Octavio Paz and Borges; his innovative essays read like hidden, empirical poems. The Rhinoceros is from his new book of "serial essays", An Elemental Thing.

For questions, suggestions, comments and errata, and
to join this, our occasional newsletter
(which will appear sporadically, never more than once a month),
please write to: editor [at-sign] almostisland [dot] com

Happy Reading!
The Almost Island Team


Pankhuri said...

Why is the almost island site asking for a user name and a password? Has it become exclusive now?

equivocal said...

Hi Pankhuri, it's just temporarily locked because we're in the middle of an upload now. I'm very sorry for the block -- and the confusion -- but we expect to be back up in a week, with a new issue for you and all the previous ones as well!

Thanks for your interest.