Feature

Indie Bookseller Shaman Drum Transforms Into Publisher

“The books that we want to read, the books we want to sell.”
Shaman Drum Bookshop, the longtime independent bookselling standout in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has published its first title.

Macklin Smith’s Transplant is a verse record of transformation, subtle analysis of the limits of both language and the body to endure traumatic change.

When the narrator of these poems is diagnosed with chronic leukemia, he begins a process of diagnosis and treatment of bone marrow transplantation that simultaneously invokes and challenges his capacity to describe the experience.

Transplant describes a journey, certainly; a there-and-back-again story of illness and recovery. But it is also a meditation on what constitutes the self, and our dependence on language and language’s forms to define and protect us.

Macklin Smith is Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

In a letter written to accompany review copies of Transplant, the book’s publisher Karl Pohrt and editor Raymond McDaniel wrote:

“One of the pleasures of independent bookselling is the delight of seeing the full faunal bestiary of new books – their variety of content, approach, and style.”

“Of course, this pleasure also involves an awareness of what doesn’t get published. As booksellers, we think of these apocryphal titles as books without categories: books that defy easy placement or stereotyping or even paraphrase.”

“The irony of these apocryphal titles is that, in sum, they do describe a category: our favorites. Most readers hold dear to their hearts those books that defeat categorization, those distinct and delightful volumes that are too slippery or willful or just plain good to accommodate easy distinctions.”

“These are the books that we want to read, the books we want to sell. And now these are the books we want to publish.”

"We are proud to announce Shaman Drum Books, a non-profit publishing venture designed to find, foster and promote those titles that possess - as our mission statement defines it - hybrid vigor."

"Our inaugural title is Transplant, by the poet and scholar Macklin Smith. This combination of poetry, narrative and memoir is a verse record of transformation, a subtle analysis of the limits of both language and the body to endure traumatic change."

"When the narrator of these poems is diagnosed with chronic leukemia, he begins a process of diagnosis and a treatment of bone-marrow transplantation that simultaneously invokes and challenges his capacity to describe the experience."

"Experiment in English prosody, married to an often comic and colloquial sensibility, carries the narrator's burden of having his immune system replaced, cell by cell."

"Transplant is finally a meditation on what constitutes the self, and our dependence on language and language's forms to sustain us. We're very proud of the book, and proud of the way it reaches simultaneously to literary communities, communities of recovery, and - most dynamically - to the community of readers who are always searching for that something different."

"Shaman Drum Books is committed to providing that difference."

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Transplant, by Macklin Smith, $14.95
Shaman Drum Bookshop
email: books@shamandrum.com
telephone 1-800-490-7023


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