By mieladmin / On / In Publishing

Let me say how pleased I am to welcome Andrea Blancas Beltran to MIEL. Andrea will be acting as an associate editor over the course of 2016, working with me on the editing and production of many of MIEL’s 2016 books and the two final issue of 111O slated to come out this year. I’ll let her introduce herself in her own words, and leave you with my excitement at the prospect of working with her.

—Éireann Lorsung

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Andrea Blancas Beltran

The west Texas border city of El Paso is where I call home. I was born and grew up here, but couldn’t wait to move away as soon as I found the chance. I lived in a suburb north of Dallas for over a decade, but my longing for my family, especially my aging grandparents, led to a long drive home, and here I’ve replanted myself among the mountains, cactus, and tumbleweeds.

I love to cook, bake, and grow and eat tomatoes. I make postcards on occasion. I’m quite fond of ants and snails and kind people. I’m a fan of Twitter as it’s afforded me opportunities to connect with many beautiful souls. My word for the year is ATTEND.

I recently completed my MFA in Poetry at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT where I wrote about women and translation in my critical thesis, “milk / del trans / late?: Cecilia / Vicuña & / Rosa Alcalá.” I’m revising my first book of poems and short essays.

These words from Eduardo Galeano’s The Book of Embraces are with me everywhere: “What it all comes down to is that we are the sum of our efforts to change who we are. Identity is no museum piece sitting stock-still in a display case, but rather the endlessly astonishing contradictions of every day life.”

MIEL continues to show me the importance of creation and diversity through its curious and thoughtful writers and artists and beautiful books, microseries chaps, postcards, and the like. MIEL and Éireann have given me new ways to think about language and art. I’m grateful and delighted to be connecting as an assistant editor with the MIEL community as it’s a community that consistently reminds me why I read and write.

I think back to Metta Sáma’s Le animal & other creatures, in which she says to Elisabeth Houston: “The question, for me, is how to transform realities into art & into questions that are not heavy-handed.” This is what I feel MIEL does: transform. I look forward to helping introduce these questions to readers and the world from my corner of the west Texas border.

Andrea Blancas Beltran

2015 gift guide, part two

By mieladmin / On / In Supplies for readers & writers

As in years past, it’s my pleasure to show you some of the beautiful things I’ve found online. If you’re looking for a present at this or any time of year, here are my recommendations. Part one of this gift guide is here.

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Emily Gillmor - printed tea towelThese tea towels by Emily Gillmor (UK-based printmaker) are so beautiful. A pack of two is about $15 + shipping. I like her prints of farm equipment as well (significantly more expensive, as you would expect).

I’ve been impressed by lots of printmakers I’ve seen coming out of the UK recently. I like the tendencies toward roughness, imperfection (in a medium that can sometimes seem fussy and precious) in much of the recent work I’ve seen. One printmaker whose work I really love is Matt Underwood. His images remind me of early-twentieth-century matchbox illustrations, and sometimes of midcentury naive relief prints from Japan.Felt pompoms by Benzie

On a completely other note, maybe you want something beautiful but of amorphous use-value for someone this year. Well, this set of multicolored wool felt balls (tiny!) might be the thing. I’ve seen garlands made of these that are quite pretty.

If you’re looking for a book, let me recommend The Future is not Ours, an anthology of Latin American writers born between 1970 and 1980. This looks great, and is already on my wish-list. I’m also looking forward to reading Negroland, a memoir by Margo Jefferson, The Voyage of the Sable Venus (poems), by Robin Coste Lewis, and Forest Primeval (poems), by Vievee Francis. I can also wholeheartedly recommend Miracle Apples, a beautiful MaLieb cotton linen coatmovie I saw last year about an apple farmer in Japan struggling with the difficulties of organic farming (it’s probably more charming than it sounds).

I’m really drawn to this coat/dress/? by MaLieb. It looks warm, the colors and pattern combinations feel wintry and unusual, and I like the drawstring hem. It’s €125, but for a handmade garment that seems reasonable, especially if the wearer would…um, wear it quite a lot. And while I’m on the topic of clothing, Scarf Shop makes the most beautiful scarves (Martha gave me a perfect pink one two summers ago which I reserve for special occasions).

(As a final note, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that of course you can find calendars, cards, chapbooks, and copies of 111O in the MIEL shop.)


MIEL 2015 gift guide

By mieladmin / On / In may we suggest?, Objects, Supplies for readers & writers

As in years past, it’s my pleasure to show you some of the beautiful things I’ve found online. If you’re looking for a present at this or any time of year, here are my recommendations.

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Itsuko Naka (Kyoto) makes absolutely beautiful paper and textile objects. I love her pouches and tenugui (thin cotton towels) especially. She’s also on Instagram. The ‘Clover’ pouch here is about $15.

A small handmade pouch printed by the maker with an abstract 'pebble' design in various blues.

A gouache painting of a goose standing on a fox, looking at some plants.Twamies is a longtime favorite of mine (I nurture the hope of printing a book of Alan Brown’s illustrations one day). Alan and Katie make beautiful, whimsical things, all with a tinge of the weird. This is “Cosy“. I also love “Hoppit” (grasshopper!) and “Berries“.

If you happen to be looking for a new planner, let me recommend “The Weekly Times” from the Korean stationery company Seeso Graphics. I got mine at Fox & Star in the UK. The pages are undated, so if you skip weeks or neglect it for a while, it doesn’t ‘go bad’. There’s also a monthly version (and a large-format desk calendar), but the week works ideally for me—I can see everything at a glance, without being overwhelmed. © shadra strickland

Shadra Strickland‘s best work is evocative and direct all at once: her illustrations of black life in the US don’t gloss over the ways in which
white supremacy has been its constant companion, but her paintings refuse to concede their subjects’ dignity, power, and beauty. I especially like “Lineage” (right) and “After the Flood“.

The acorn necklace from Bullseye Beads (below) combines the artificial with the actual in a very pleasing way. And if you have $150 for a coffee mug (!), these are beautiful (from BDDW). If you don’t, just go look; looking’s free. Here’s a t-shirt with a pigeon and the shipping forecast. Lots of justice-oriented prints, posters, books, and zines in bullseye beadsthe Just Seeds shop. If you know a knitter or crocheter you’d like to spoil, I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong here (although how far you’ll get is dependent on the depth of your pockets).

Of course, should you be so inclined, there’s always the MIEL shop: try a 2016 subscription (which arrives in four batches at your recipient’s door), a calendar (two to choose from; free shipping), or a chapbook (25% off with the code WINTER2015 at checkout).