Kirston Lightowler

Reading:

I’m reading a lot of non-fiction at the moment—on herb gardens, metals, stones, and the early histories of northern California. But I recently went through a period of Charles Willeford (Pick-Up) and Leonard Gardner (Fat City)—brilliant neo-noir set in the shadowy lanes of San Francisco and the wide open highways of Stockton, California.

Henry Beston, Herbs and the Earth (1935) 

A beautiful guide to starting an herb garden and an “evocative excursion into the lore & legend of our common herbs.” I had read Beston’s The Outermost House, which includes so many astonishing passages on sound as it relates to the sea, but recently discovered Herbs and the Earth through an article by translator and poet Lydia Davis.

Jaime de Angulo, A Jaime de Angulo Reader (1979) 

Wanderer, writer, linguist, anthropologist, rancher, translator of Native American languages—California legend!  Jaime de Angulo was translating and transcribing stories and songs in northern California at nearly the same time Knud Rasmussen was doing so in Greenland.

Charles Bucke, On the Beauties, Harmonies, and Sublimities of Nature (1843)

I feel like I’ve been reading this book for years. It’s always on the nightstand and I return to it a few times a month—almost as if consulting an oracle. Some chapter titles from the book: Beautiful Sounds—Sublime Sounds, Echoes, Music of the Spheres, Language of Birds, Corallina, Influence of Climate, Electrical Appearances!

Béla Hamvas, The Seventh Symphony and the Metaphysics of Music

An essay in which Hamvas begins by discussing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and then pivots into a discussion of bird song, which is completely marvelous. I have Herbert Pföstl to thank for this discovery.  

Listening to:

Bonnie Guitar — Candy Apple Red & Dark Moon (1959 & 1957)

Mesut Aytunca ve Silüetler — Bir Dost Bulamadim (1972)

Mario Bertoncini — Arpe Eolie (1973)

Loren Chasse — Footpath (2008)

Jean-Luc Hérelle — Pastoral Bells (1995)

Watching:

The films of Peruvian experimental filmmaker Rose Lowder

Forbidden GamesRené Clément 

Lots of films from the 1970s (Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins) and treasures found on the Criterion Channel

Current Projects:

Epidote Press just published A Shelter for Bells: From the Writings of Hans Jürgen von der Wense and we are currently working on a follow-up publication related to the writings of Wense. 

Personally, I’m focused on a project with the working title of Hydaspes. I can’t share too much about it at the moment, but it is a long-form poem that looks closely at both stones and sound—it’s dedicated to my mother. The river Hydaspes was said to furnish a musical stone and—when the moon was waxing—this stone gave forth a melodious sound.


Kirston Lightowler is a writer, publisher, and archivist who has worked with analog film and sound since her days at the San Francisco Art Institute. She founded Epidote Press in 2014, an independent publishing imprint based in northern California’s Point Reyes Peninsula. EP is devoted to publishing historical texts, as well as art and writing concerned with landscape and the poetics of place. The press is informed by her interest in natural and environmental history, reading and the art of research, folklore, and translation. EP is particularly interested in publishing work that exists at the intersection of art, literature, and science—finding associations and connections across branches of knowledge and fields of meaning.

Epidote Press