I’m in a relatively good place these days. I have only thirteen tabs currently open on my computer. They mostly sit there as gentle, passive reminders; many have been open for months, years. They’re a small map of desired projects, ideas that once—and maybe still do—feel important, links friends have sent, things I want to buy, or work I must get to. Many are connected to Montana, the book series I founded, published by Sternberg Press. As of 22 September 2023, these are my tabs:
“On Style & Its Dubious Reputation: A Protest” by Ursule Molinaro
Published by KGB Lit Bar
Since the early days of Montana, I’ve wanted to reprint/republish a text by Molinaro. She died in 2000, just some months after this little manifesto was published.
This tab has been open so long that the website doesn’t even exist anymore. From my recollection, it was an index of books published by Reese Williams’s incredible, short-lived Tanam Press, which published the first edition of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee, Eating through Living by Jenny Holzer and Peter Nadin, Of Walking on Ice by Werner Herzog, Precario/Precarious by Cecilia Vicuña, and so many other gems.
A special journal issue of Open City London edited by my dear friend Aily Nash. It came out over a year ago, but there are texts I’ve been meaning to read and reread.
The Internet Archive’s scan of Rosario Castellano’s selected poems, translated by Magda Bogin, and edited by Bogin and Cecilia Vicuña. Diamela Eltit’s Custody of the Eyes, which I republished as part of Montana, opens with a line from a Castellano poem (“No, I do not fear the pyre that will consume me, but the badly lit match and this vial that gets in the way of the hand that I write with.”). Bogin is also the sister of Nina Bogin, who translated Ágota Kristóf’s The Illiterate, a very special little book recommended to me by Itziar Okariz while I was in residence at Artium.
À La Pym: The Barbara Pym Cookery Book (published in the United States as The Barbara Pym Cookbook) is a 1988 cookbook by Hilary Pym and Honor Wyatt collecting recipes for meals served, or mentioned, in the novels of Hilary’s sister, Barbara Pym. The book was published in the United States by E.P. Dutton in 1988, and in the United Kingdom by Prospect Books in 1995.
Pym published her novels between 1950 and 1980, with many of them exploring the lives of spinsters, Anglican priests, and anthropologists. Especially in her early novels, which take place shortly after World War II when rationing was still in effect, Pym’s characters are often noted for their simple meals. Food is often used in Pym’s novels as a marker of class or social position, and many of Pym’s characters face culinary disasters in her novels.
My friend Chiara Simion sent me a Marcelin Pleynet poem, originally published in Tel Quel, which really spun me around. Since then I’ve been hunting for more of his work in English; there seems to be almost none.
VHEMT = The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Their leaflet “Why Breed,” sent to me by my sister, is divided into three columns: “Reasons given,” “Real reasons,” and “Suggested alternatives.” Incredibly helpful. Please distribute.
El Chopo is the former National Museum of Natural History turned squat and punk cultural center turned contemporary art museum administered by UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Its website has a neighborhood page highlighting new and old shops, cafes, services, art spaces, markets, restaurants, historical buildings, and friends in their neighborhood. They do so much more to play an active role in their community and neighborhood, but this seems to me to be a perfect gesture, generous and humble and genuinely helpful.
Google search: “is my lombricompost to wet” … They say having a worm composter is simple, but let me tell you…
“The Power of Subversive Imagination: Homosexual Utopian Discourse in Contemporary Mexican Literature” by Claudia Schaefer-Rodríguez. Published by Latin American Literary Review
I’ve been a long-time fan of Luis Zapata’s seminal book, El Vampiro de la Colonia Roma, and harboring a desire to retranslate it as part of Montana. In parallel, I’ve been learning about José Luis Calva’s book Utopía gay, a more elusive book of the same era, yet to be translated.
“Mexico City and its Monsters: Queer Identity and Cultural Capitalism in Luis Zapata’s ‘El vampiro de la colonia Roma’” by Ariel Wind. Published by Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos
In researching José Luis Calva (about whom very little is written), I came across this incredible website. Thank you Matt & Andrej Koymasky. There is more incredible content, and design, than I know what to do with. One favorite feature is the Polari/English–English/Polari dictionary.
Sometimes I remember to listen to music.
Leah Whitman-Salkin is an editor based in Mexico City. Her practice is centered on collaborative aspects of editing, with a focus on translation and publishing as a way of making things public. She is the founding editor of Montana, a book series published by Sternberg Press that explores the adjacencies of the political and the poetic, the literary and the visual. She is the cofounder of the bookshop 28 November in Tirana‚ an experiment in community space, alternative distribution, and publishing practices. There, she co-organizes Radical Sense, a radical feminist reading group that has met weekly since 2018. She is the Montez Press Radio programmer in Mexico City and, in 2022, was the inaugural recipient of Artium’s Juncal Ballestín International Grant.