There is a new literary magazine on the Web that will have readers thinking twice. Double Change, a quarterly publication of poetry, critical essays, and interviews devoted to opening up literary exchange between French and American culture, offers readers a wholly bilingual reading experience.
The Web site was conceived one year ago, when Olivier Brossard and Vincent Broqua, both French doctoral students at France's École normale, noticed many young, talented writers working in France and the U.S. who weren't getting significant exposure in either country. So they decided to start a publication that might bring the two countries-and the work of their poets and writers-together.
Brossard and Broqua gathered nine other editors living in both countries-Omar Berrada, Caroline Crumpacker, Marcella Durand, Claire Guillot, Lisa Lubasch, Andrew Maxwell, Juliette Montorial, Kristin Prevallet, and Jerrold Shiroma-all of whom saw the need, as Shiroma says, "to shift received notions of poetic history and lineage away from those defined by national borders."
In democratic fashion, the editorial staff votes on all content decisions. The editors communicate through an e-mail list, and everyone on that list automatically receives any message sent to the magazine's contact e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org). Though the editors of Double Change often solicit the site's content, they still accept submissions of work already translated and submitted in both languages simultaneously.
The inaugural issue of Double Change, published in June 2001, features work by American poets Tom Devaney, Ron Padgett, and Kimberly Lyons, alongside poems by French poets Sandra Moussempès and Fabienne Courtade. The first issue also contains a lengthy interview with Damon Krukowski, the founder of Exact Change, a book publisher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, dedicated to twentieth-century experimental literature that has published numerous translations from French, German, and other languages.
The second issue, published in October, includes American poets Harryette Mullen, Jeff Clark, and Chris Edgar, along with French poets Maurice Blanchard, René Depestre, and Mohammed Dib.
To further its goal of uniting writers on different continents, Double Change also hosts a reading series in Duc de Lombards, one of Paris's most popular jazz clubs, where American and French authors read side by side. "Although the reading series and the idea for the Web site were conceived at the same time," Brossard says, "we had many readings before the first issue went up. We consider the purpose of the series and the publication to be identical." The reading series has featured American poets Ron Padgett, Alice Notley, Cole Swensen, and French poets Jean Frémon, Fabienne Courtade, and Josée Lapeyrère. Many of the authors reading have appeared in the publication.
Double Change is currently applying for grants to pay its readers and increase the number of readings. The editors also hope to publish an anthology of work from the publication as well as a chapbook series in France.
For more information about Double Change, visit the Web site at www.doublechange.com.