Saturday, July 17, 2010

Salt 10th birthday flashmob celebration

Welcome to a virtual flashmob timed to happen at exactly the same time (3 pm) as the physical flashmob to celebrate the 10th birthday of my publisher Salt. It's taking place at the Southbank Centre in London, and Pablo Neruda's Ode to Salt is being recited.

There's a lot to celebrate: all the wonderful books Salt has put out over those 10 years, and for me personally their publication of my short stories and my short novel Too Many Magpies (not many publishers will take a chance on short stories or short novels), and their commitment to reissuing my first novel, The Birth Machine, at a time when reissues are generally pretty well unheard of.

Why not buy a Salt book or two to celebrate? In fact, I urge you to do so, since it's never easy going against marketing trends, and while Salt celebrate, they are of course in financial difficulties and having to run their JustOneBook campaign. People have responded wonderfully, and the campaign is having an effect, but Salt are by no means out of the woods yet. So please do spread the word, and please do treat yourself, and your friends, to as many Salt books as you can afford.

And here's Neruda's poem to read while those gathered in London read it out loud:

Ode to Salt

This salt
in the salt cellar
I once saw in the salt mines.
I know
you won't
believe me
it sings
salt sings, the skin
of the salt mines
with a mouth smothered
by the earth.
I shivered in those
when I heard
the voice
the salt
in the desert.
Near Antofagasta
the nitrous
a mournful

In its caves
the salt moans, mountain
of buried light,
translucent cathedral,
crystal of the sea, oblivion
of the waves.
And then on every table
in the world,
we see your piquant
vital light
our food.
of the ancient
holds of ships,
the high seas,
of the unknown, shifting
byways of the foam.
Dust of the sea, in you
the tongue receives a kiss
from ocean night:
taste imparts to every seasoned
dish your ocean essence;
the smallest,
wave from the saltcellar
reveals to us
more than domestic whiteness;
in it, we taste finitude.
Pablo Neruda


Rachel Fenton said...

I tried to buy just one more book from Salt but I couldn't do it - there were so many I wanted, I came away with three to add to my stash! I am now the proud owner of a veritable dinner party of salt authors! And there are loads of really intriguing titles I still want to get, pending pay day/birthday. I even harassed my local bookstore owner about ordering some quality Salt!

Rachel Fenton said...

Ooh, but what I meant to comment on was the poem :)

Elizabeth Baines said...

Brilliant, Rachel, that's wonderful!