For those who have yet to discover the joys of The Black Rider, there is reason to rejoice. This Lost Shark had a poem published in issue #1 of their minizine The Diamond and the Thief so I thought I would throw a few questions at main man, Jeremy Balius to get the lowdown on what The Black Rider is all about.
The Black Rider has some big plans, kicking off with the publication of The Diamond & the Thief mini-zine. As the new (hep)cats on the indie publishing scene, fill us in on how you plan to deliver stories and dreams into our lives.
There’s already an endless amount of publishers out there putting out a bazillion books a year. Does Australia really need one more publisher? Aren’t the shelves already full?
I was out looking for a fiction and poetry publisher who was inextricably bound with its authors and readers, a publisher who was committed to a particular vibe and feel, a publisher who acted like an indie record label, a publisher who loved music as much as it loved books, a publisher who was all about the conversation.
There weren’t any in my neighbourhood, so I started Black Rider.
The Diamond & the Thief is our monthly minizine with a couple poems and short stories by Australian and international authors and poets. We’re about to put out the first digital chapbook in our Black Rider presents Lyrics series. These e-chapbooks give us the means of supporting some up’n’coming poets who are pretty special. Then there are the printed books of course. Our stories & tales. But more on those next year.
If you subscribe to our website via RSS or email, you’ll not only be informed when The Diamond & the Thief publishes each month, you’ll also receive our soon to launch Black Rider lines.
‘Cause our writers do knowledge like rodeo clowns – they seem out of control with faces painted silly and big ole floppy shoes, but they’re actually the hardest cats out on the sawdust. We’ve asked them to teach us about books and writing and other stuff, so they’re penning some shorts for us all to learn from in the lines.
Anyways, maybe we’re not so new – have you seen how old and shabby our website is? (Yeah, I see you chuckling, Beaudrillard!)
What are you looking for in a poem, in a story? How hard do you want the words to kick?
It’s all about the people, the Black Rider community. The kind of people who might be coming from a similar starting point, or who might be on a similar road, or heading in the same general direction. The unabashed ones. The burning brightly ones. The wild bleary-eyed ones.
The words are just ink on the page, pixels on the screen – signifiers and symbols. The hard kick is what these cats write in-between the lines, in the spaces between the words. Showing us a wider horizon. Verbalising the sounds of the cosmos.
The hard kick is in the conversation we’ll have after we take a heartfelt sip of dark-felt Truth from these poets and writers. Climbing a mountain and then climbing higher.
I love the concept of the Last Hurrah. Tell me more…
We’re going to be throwing some shindigs and concerts. Each of these hootenannies is a Last Hurrah. They’re holler-a-longs with feet-stamping and hand-clapping. At first they’ll be in Perth, but we might take them on tour eventually.
The Last Hurrahs will help raise funds to put out books. By coming out and singing along to bands that you love, you’re not only supporting local Aussie music, you’re helping fund Australian art and literature.
Homer summed it up best in The Odyssey: “So saying this, Proteus plunged beneath the surging sea, but I went to my ships with my godlike comrades, and many things did my heart darkly ponder as I went.”
Assuming success is not a dirty word, where does The Black Rider want to be in 12-24 months time and how will you know you arrived?
Where’s the assumption? It’s semantics. Success only gets as down and dirty as you want it to – depends on which road you’re on. What if the measure of success was compassion? Or humility?
If the tales and lyrics written by Black Rider authors and poets get you to talk to your friends and family about how to deal with everything around us, we’re getting somewhere. The conversation is where it’s at.
There’s no arriving, only walking onward down the road. Picking the right guide books. The right walking sticks.
The journey’s the destination.
From The Diamond & the Thief October edition:
by Amanda Joy
I am the house and the hut with chicken legs that turns to face us.
I am the sea cave speared through by the foundations of skyscrapers.
The glitter and shine of bare bones,
the scaffolding and crane, the tented buildings,
the outskirts of the forest with trees bent like ribs.
Strange enough without shadows.
Here I am, one hand in yours, the other searching for skeleton keys
in the soft cloth of her unwritten pocket. Private finger cave
of receipts, crumbs, stones and small change. Here is the dull-eyed doll
who comes to life at night, feeding my cheeks of milk and blood
as my hair grows down to my waist.
I like to tell you this story, you, keeper of water and all
the paths it makes when trapped, bent forward in your chair
like the red rider, have asked me to close my eyes and feel
the quiver, Saraha haha.
I laugh, I know you’re winging it.
This is grown in the dark too, in the chambers of involuntary muscle
and it will go one way or another. I am picking
the black grains from the wheat.
When you tap me on the shoulder I turn