Take the Photo Tour of Pig Squash Press
Hi! I’m Kim Goldberg, and Pig Squash Press is my alter ego housing most of my current creative output. I live in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and have supported myself from my writing and photography my entire adult life. Until recently, my work consisted mainly of investigative reporting and nonfiction books on environment, media, politics, social justice and other topical issues.
In 1997, I signed up for a T’ai Chi class (innocently enough) and tumbled down a deep dark well of Taoist metaphysics and the arcane martial art of Liuhebafa. No words landed on the page for eight years. When the words did finally return in 2005, they came as poems — something I had never written before, nor ever imagined myself writing. I documented my journey into and out of silence in my book Ride Backwards on Dragon: a poet’s journey through Liuhebafa. It is a series of 66 poems (plus endnotes) patterned after the 66 moves in the main form of Liuhebafa. The book was published in 2007 by Leaf Press, and re-issued in 2011 by Pig Squash Press. In 2008, it was shortlisted for Canada’s Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for poetry. Visit my Liuhebafagirl site for more information on this book and my journey.
I also launched my own publishing imprint in 2007: Pig Squash Press. Initially, Pig Squash Press was the home for my many handbuilt book-art creations. I have made book objects out of roofing tarpaper, flooring paper, grocery bags, tree bark and whatever other odds and ends I find lying around downtown Nanaimo.
Pig Squash Press expanded into the realm of trade books with the Fall 2009 release of RED ZONE — my poems, photographs and artist projects documenting homelessness and urban decay in downtown Nanaimo, and by extension all our cities. RED ZONE sold out its initial print run and went into a second printing after just seven weeks. The book has now been taught as a literature course text at Vancouver Island University and elsewhere. Critics have compared the writing in RED ZONE to the work of Allen Ginsberg, Marge Piercy and John Steinbeck.
My previous five books were published by established trade book publishers: Harbour Publishing, New Star Books and Leaf Press. Many people have asked me why I self-published RED ZONE when I have a track record with established publishers (as though self-producing one’s work is some sort of consolation prize). The answer is simple: I wanted total artistic control.
All Pig Squash Press trade books are printed on 100% recycled paper at Printorium Bookworks in Victoria, BC. No trees have been murdered for my art.
People have also asked me about the story behind the name “Pig Squash Press.” It popped into my head on the eve of Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) in 2007 as we were about to enter The Year of The Pig — a very auspicious year in the Chinese astrological system, promising great abundance.
And “Squash” was the schoolyard nickname of a close friend who has functioned as my creative Muse since my awakening into the Mind of Poetry (whether he likes it or not… we don’t pick our Muses, they pick us). I dedicated Ride Backwards on Dragon to him for this reason. The fact that he was born Year of the Pig was a further bonus. The omens are everywhere… Our only job is to recognize them.
Very eager to get my hands on ” Red Zone” and see what there is to be learned from your latest creation!
Since my election to Nanaimo’s City Council last year, I’ve become co-chair of the Safer Nanaimo Working Group, a committee of sorts comprised of the City, the RCMP, the Vancouver Island Health Authority and a host of other stakeholders, all of whom have an abiding interest in stopping the urban decay and all the connected negatives of which your book presumably speaks…………..
How to accomplish that? Not all that sure though I do know that people cannot be pushed around from one area of town to another, that homeless and addicted citizens have the same rights as you and I and that they need to be treated accordingly!
You may know that Nanaimo has embarked on a “Housing First” strategy which will provide low-barrier housing to the most vulnerable of our homeless population and five sites have been selected throughout the City for this purpose.
I do have high hopes for this missing pillar of the “four pillars” to be put in place; as you know they are education, prevention, harm reduction and enforcement and nothing in my term on Council will be more important than the achievement of this goal and I suspect that your “Red Zone” will have a few things to teach!
I’ll be in touch after reading it.
Interesting reply from Mr.Pattje.I do not seem to see many elected
to represent all our citizens at many gatherings addressing such issues as your book reveals about nanaimo.Hopefully that will change as more people in our community wake up from apathy & indifference regarding the disenfranchised in Nanaimo.Should be an interesting year.
Congratulations Kim on the new book and the new publisher -not to mention the new blog. Stay cool.
Great when it all comes together… The writing, the activism, the poetry, the photography…and now complete artistic control! Onward and onward…or Backwards, you are certainly talented in any direction!
Ride Backwards on Dragon; a notable writing on a long and challenging
subject now only beginning to become notable.
Backwards on the Dragon is easy in principle when you also trust the dragon [a mythic summary of all things, all creatures as one ensemble]. There are very few proponents and even less scribes who will attempt to traverse the Five-Character Verses; I should know being the only one who has done the breadth and depths of its’ predecessor, the six by eight verses. All being such, I have reserved a unique space to mention this authoring. As for a book didicated to a ‘pig’ person, perhaps also being a persistent ‘boar’ makes for an accolade.
I have taken great interest in your work and am patiently awaiting new updates on how you are doing with ‘Red Zone’. You are a brave and determined woman, not only very skillful, but also has a heart. Our friends on the streets are often discriminated against, neglected and feared by the ignorant.
You are an inspiration to the street community as well as being a pillar of social justice. We can all learn from you and your work. Our gratitude is sincere and real… thank-you.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
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Hi Kim Goldberg. This is Ian Dennison, email@example.com, in Kingston. How are you? I’m a writer too and can give advice or you can advise me. Okay?
Hi Ian. Thanks for stopping by my website. I am not seeking advice, and I generally don’t dispense advice either. But if you tell me what you’re looking for, I’ll see if I can help. Good luck with your writing.