May 2022 Update

My first time reading Jessie Janeshek’s poetry was during the 2015/2016 Open Reading period.  I don’t think I’ve ever asked how Jessie heard of the press, but her chapbook manuscript (for Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish) set a high bar that year.  Hers was the “winner” and the first chapbook we published in 2016.  We went on to publish two more of Jessie’s chapbooks (Supernoir and Channel U).  I don’t pick favorites from among the GBP stable of authors, but I did tell Jessie somewhere along the way that she could let me know if she ever had a full-length manuscript she wanted us to consider.  And that’s just what she did about a year ago.

No Place for Dames will be the second (ever!) full-length from Grey Book Press.  The book went through several revisions (and a few different titles) to reach its final form, which will be available June 7.  There will be a Zoom reading about a week after the launch.  Details are available on Facebook (we’ll post a link to the event on our page there).

Also, later in June, we’ll have our next chapbook . . . Snow Boat to Nowhere by Chelsea Bodnar.  Deeper into Summer, we’ll have a chapbook from Howie Good.  

I’m not sure about the timing of the next Open Reading period.  Last year, it was right at the end of Summer, but I suspect this year, it’ll be back closer to the “traditional” Halloween kickoff.  I think we may have some “offseason” developments that could impact the schedule.  We’ll let you know when we know.  In the meantime, see you in a couple/few weeks!

Adrift Together

The first chapbook of 2022—from last Autumn’s open reading period—is The lost tribes by Patrick Reardon.  This one had a lot of the elements that I look for in a poetry manuscript.  Feeling.  Evocative imagery.  Some humor.  Winks at tragedy, and subversion.  Pop culture and history.  Cohesion.  In fact, the chapbook is essentially one long poem.

The opening section is sort of a meditation on the human condition.  Patrick says that this section was written first, “capturing how everyone is caught in a chaotic, unfair, yearning mechanistic existence.”  He says he was inspired to write about the “kinship” he felt with the people he sees when he travels around his home in Chicago.  Subsequent sections of the chapbook delve into his painful childhood and that of his brother, continuing through his brother’s difficult life and suicide.  But he often returns to the touchstone of the “tribe.”  “In every section,” Patrick says, “me, him, you, and anyone reading it and everyone around us are lost and also in a common tribe—adrift together.”

From Section 5:

“They found me
invisibled,
checked-off,
unpersoned,
salt-pillared,
erased,
eradicated,
disappeared,
but fed, clothed, diaper-changed
—proprieties must be observed.”

 

“The lost tribes” is available on the Titles page.

February 2022 Update

We’re coming back from the Holidays a little later than hoped. It shouldn’t really be February before we start our year, but here we are.

The original “plan” was to have a chapbook from Patrick Reardon out by now, but it’s only a week away.  There was some overlap in working on Jessie Janeshek’s book, which is still set for Spring.  And that will be followed by some Summertime chapbooks from Chelsea Bodnar and Howie Good.  

See you next week!

November 2021 Update (Winners Edition)

Yes, it’s been a while since the start of the open reading period back in August.  Initial reading of manuscripts took us through September and into early October.  We notified finalists and made our final decisions last week.  We had six finalists and wanted to limit accepted manuscripts to two or three.  Thanks to everyone who submitted, and sorry we couldn’t accept more.

So, early next year, we’ll have a chapbook from Patrick Reardon, with more chapbooks in the Summer from GBP veterans Chelsea Bodnar and Howie Good.  Why such a long gap between?  Well, we’re doing our second ever full-length.  This time it’s GBP superstar Jessie Janeshek.  I feel like this is one of the books we were meant to do, and I’m glad it’s going to happen.  That will be a Spring release.

More updates in the coming months as things develop.

October 2021 Update

We’ve been slowly making our way through the manuscripts received during the open reading period that ended a little over a month ago.  We’re hoping to be able to contact and announce our finalists in the next week.  Thanks for your patience.

By the end of this month, we should have our schedule more or less set for the first half of 2022.  

UPDATE:  Finalists have been contacted, and the plan is to make our selections by the end of the month and announce everything in early November.  

Open Reading Guidelines (August 2021)

The 2021 open reading period starts at midnight August 17 and runs through 11:59 PM August 31.  That’s the “standard” two weeks.  Here are the guidelines:

      • One entry per person.  No reading fee.
      • Manuscripts will be read as “blindly” as possible, so please take your name off the title page.
      • Manuscripts should have between 16 and 24 pages of poems.
      • Email submissions to greybookpress (at) gmail (dot) com.  Subject line: “SUBMISSIONS – [LAST NAME] – [TITLE]”
      • There are no limitations this year for authors who have had a chapbook published by GBP.  
      • The goal is to choose at least two manuscripts for publication with a maximum of five.  Runs will either be open-ended with 25 author copies or limited limited editions of 50 (in which case, 15 author copies). 
      • The goal is to notify all finalists by sometime in October.  We likely will not notify you if you are not a finalist, but feel free to check with us after Halloween if you haven’t heard anything.  Updates will be posted here.

In selecting chapbooks for publication, we usually aim for “range” in across accepted manuscripts.  For instance, we may choose a favorite, or “winner,” that would be the best/most resonant manuscript, and other selected manuscript(s) would be “different” from that one in some way.  If several are chosen, ideally, they’d be different from one another.

If you have any questions not answered/addressed here, let us know at the email listed above.

Good luck!

 

August 2021 Update

Just a quick update that the promised Open Reading period kicks off on Tuesday at noon.  Guidelines will be posted this weekend (honestly, it’ll be late Sunday).  In early/mid-September, we’ll have a more comprehensive update.  Things are happening!  

Small and Fierce

The final chapbook from last year’s open reading period is Small and Fierce by Andrea Fischer.  It’s the type of collection that we have a soft spot for . . . a story of growing up and finding a place in the world.  A story of finding love (hard love, intense love) and losing love.  Andrea takes us to Europe and back.  She introduces us to tenderness and brutality, and the many points in between.  

From “Both Small and Fierce”:

“There is your hand, yes—
now skimming my breasts,

then patting, listening now—
waiting for the tumblers to click,

a burglar curled up in my lap,
hungry, wanting more.”

 

This chapbook is limited to 50 copies, so don’t wait too long and miss out!  Visit our Titles page to pick one up.

July 2021 Update

We’re getting ready to finish out our 2020/2021 chapbook “season” this coming week with the release of Small and Fierce by Andrea Fischer.  It seems like there have been slight delays for each of our recent titles, so we’re really happy to finally be able to get this one out to everyone.  And it’s a limited edition (50 copies), so don’t miss out!

We’ll be taking off the rest of July to prepare for a likely project that should come to fruition early next year.  More details on that later.  

The next open reading period will be sometime in August.  It’ll be a two-week window, with details to be announced a week or so before.  As with previous years, we’ll be picking at least two titles for publication.  By that time, we should have a better idea of how the next six to eight months should look for the publication schedule.  

June Story

A large part of June Story (and other poems) by Margaret Anne Ernst details the loss of a parent.  On the surface, that sounds like a simple enough proposition.  But in this chapbook, nothing is just “surface.”  The parent, in this case, is transgender, and the title poem is a touching exploration of her life, her development, her movement through the world.  

Margaret also explores the changed world one might have after losing a parent, as well as the “trapped” world that will seem familiar to many of us who lived through a global pandemic.  

From “Letter to Shame”:

“At fourteen, I hid my rage.
Instead, it went inside.
The truth?

I have wasted
so much time
on shame.”

 

Now available on the Titles page!