The Bull Fight

James "Brazen Bull" Nora wanted his daughter to publish his collection of poetry on mid-list press. She refused. Now, both are engaged in a stubborn legal showdown.

The slowdown has caused a logjam of publications that Mid-List Press hopes to eventually issue. Mary Logue, a St. Paul writer who has published two volumes of poetry with Mid-List Press, has seen her third collection languish. "They have had to wait to make decisions because this lawsuit has taken such a large amount of money to battle, and also energy," says Logue.

The favorable July ruling has Nora and Stiles hopeful that their publishing venture will soon be able to return to normal. Mid-List Press currently has five books, all by first-time authors, slated to hit stores in the coming months. How To, a collection of poems by local writer William Reichard, will be available in December.

Yet sporadic problems with distribution, stemming from the trademark dispute, continue to plague the press. After Gregory Spatz's collection of short stories, Wonderful Tricks, received a glowing review in the Seattle Times in January, bookstores or consumers who logged onto the Book Sense website in hopes of ordering a copy were informed that the title was no longer available. Nora explains with a sigh, "All of the Seattle bookstores were showing it as out of print."

Michael Dvorak

At least one party in the dispute is not allowing the recriminations to stifle his literary ambitions. Last year James Nora published another book, Panacea, a thriller dealing with a pair of United Nations weapons inspectors who discover that Saddam Hussein has produced weapons-grade anthrax and botulinum toxin. (Booklist deemed it an "enjoyable novel.") Fortunately for Mid-List Press, this time around he published it under the name Skald Books.

James Nora maintains that all of his actions have been taken with the best interests of Mid-List Press in mind. "I want this house to succeed," he says. "I founded it; I love it. And I want my daughter to succeed. I don't know why she's having this hissy fit."

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