By Delaney Fox, Staff Writer
Eulalia Books, a publisher housed at Saint Vincent College, held an online reading and discussion on Jan. 31 via the Zoom platform to celebrate the release of the chapbook Cold by Saint Vincent alumna Meg Matich.
Cold is the first of the new series of handmade chapbooks of poetry by Saint Vincent alumni and/or residents of Westmoreland County which are being published in honor of alumnus Joe O’Connor.
Michelle Gil-Montero, English professor and publisher at Eulalia Books, said that Cold was “a work of translational and responsive poetics working from [Matich’s] immersion in the language and landscape of Iceland.”
The chapbook was selected after an open submission period in the late summer and early fall of 2021.
“Cold stood out as an extremely polished chapbook-length manuscript with a fortuitous echo of our mission as a translation press, as many of its poems draw from the processes and poetics of translation,” Gil-Montero said.
The Small Press Publishing class in the fall semester was involved in the editing and production of the chapbook. The class will continue to be part of the production process with future releases in the series.
There were just over 30 attendees of the online reading and discussion of Cold which included Saint Vincent students and faculty, Icelandic writers and translators who know Matich and her work and other supporters of Eulalia Books.
Clair Sirofchuck, senior English and studio art major, attended the online book-release event.
“[Matich] is very passionate about her work, especially literary translation, and it was neat to hear poetry in a starkly different language, as she read several poems she wrote first in Icelandic,” Sirofchuck said.
Sirofchuck also appreciated the organization of the Q & A after the reading.
“I learned a lot about Matich and her writing from the student questions she answered, and I think she discovered some things about her poetry she didn’t realize before, too,” Sirofchuck said.
Eulalia Books holds a similar book-release reading event for each of its releases. In March, the publisher will release the books This Could Take Some Time by Argentine poet Clara Muschietti, translated by Curtis Bauer, and The Sun of Always by Mapuche poet Liliana Ancalao, translated by Seth Michelson. Readings for each of these books are planned for later in the semester.
As these and other books are published by Eulalia Books in the future, students and faculty can support Eulalia Books and its mission in several ways, such as purchasing books, following Eulalia Books' social media and volunteering time.
“Eulalia Books currently survives entirely off book sales, which is a precarious financial model for a small press publishing only two or three books per year,” Gil-Montero said.
Students and staff can also join Eulalia Books’ newsletter and follow them on Twitter (@EulaliaBooks), Facebook (@Eulalia Books) and Instagram (@eulalia.books). Students interested in learning about literary publishing and obtaining hands-on experience in the field can also volunteer for the press.