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!

May 2021 Update

After a few unforeseen delays, the next GBP chapbook (June Story by Margaret Anne Ernst) will be out later this week.  Following that by about a month will be a chapbook from Andrea Fischer.

We had quite a flood of unsolicited submissions, so we are now “officially” closed until the open reading period, which will likely open in August.  There are some things brewing that will necessitate us planning a little further in advance with a clear idea of how many chapbooks we’ll be doing in the next year or so.  Which will be hard when usually don’t have more than six to eight months of backlog and our publishing schedule is always in flux.  Don’t worry . . . we’ll never be professionals!

See you in a few days!

April 2021 Update

You probably noticed that we didn’t have a new chapbook come out around the Equinox as planned.  There were some unforeseen delays in getting our next chapbook (Margaret Ernst’s June Story and Other Poems) ready to go to press.  In the meantime, there will be a Zoom reading with Margaret and Sara Luisa Kirk (whose chapbook, only all the blood, came out last month) on April 15.  Margaret’s chapbook will be out a week or two after the reading.  

In other news, we’ve been flooded with unsolicited chapbook manuscripts and queries.  Our “Submissions” page has been updated . . . for the first time in a decade or so.  Typically, we receive sporadic queries on submitting outside our reading period, and consider some of these for “off-cycle” chapbooks.  I think the press now appears on multiple website lists, which is fine, but we don’t have time to review a continuous stream of manuscripts.  So, we have “shut the door” for now.  I’ll respond to queries received recently, as well as a couple manuscripts I’m currently reviewing.  We’ll announce our next open reading period in a couple/few months, at which time we’ll update our “Submissions” page again.

UPDATE

Here’s the link to the reading next week!

When: Apr 15, 2021 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

 Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtduGhrTsqHd1gvdYjJEwJ66Yo0H-7L-SM

 After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

(All the) Blood

The first chapbook of 2021 is only all the blood by Sara Luisa Kirk.  I was drawn to the sparse, yearning beauty of the poems, each of which is paired with a “word wall” that looked to be a kind of source material.  The pieces were numbered . . . but out of order.  Turns out, as Sara explains, that the word lists are sourced from song lyrics on the Sufjan Stevens album, Carrie and Lowell.  That album had been a balm to Sara during a difficult time, and she chose to use the lyrics’ source language to create her own poems.  As the pieces were completed, they “demanded their own sequence” but the song numbers were kept as parts of the reordered poems. 

Like Stevens’ album, which was about the loss of his mother, these poems explore the end of a complex relationship.  It’s a stirring, engaging exploration. 

From [8]:

“we spurn hope
after

hope
carried us”

 

This chapbook is now available on the Titles page.

January/February 2021 Update

I guess we’re late getting started in the new year.  Maybe we were waiting for a new administration here in the U.S.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with post-Holiday malaise and laziness.  (Let’s go with that.)

Next week, we’ll be launching the first of our 2021 chapbooks, only all the blood by Sara Luisa Kirk.  Following that, in Spring, will be a collection by Margaret Ernst.  As we approach Summer, we’ll have a limited-edition chapbook from Andrea Fischer.  We may have other announced titles as we get halfway through year, and/or we may have another open reading.  Who knows.  Stay tuned and see you in a few days!

November 2020 Update (Selections Edition)

First of all, thanks to everyone who submitted a chapbook manuscript during our open reading period a couple months ago.  Sorry we couldn’t reply individually to everyone who submitted.  

We settled on three “finalists” and, as it happens, all three will become Grey Book Press chapbooks in 2021.  First up, around the beginning of February, will be only all the blood by Sara Kirk.  Following that, in mid/late-March, will be a chapbook from Margaret Ernst.  And sometime in the Summer, we’ll have a limited-edition chapbook from Andrea Fischer.

Thanks, again, to everyone for your continued interest and support.  We’ll have another open reading period in the second half of 2021; the timing will depend on how our publication schedule unfolds and whether any new chapbooks are added.

See you all soon!

(Bio)Shocked

Our latest chapbook was a little unexpected.  Things started when Chelsea Bodnar streamed herself reading poetry from some Grey Book Press chapbooks on her Facebook page.  I thanked her and, soon after, saw a video she had streamed of her reading her own work.  Honestly, I hadn’t been watching as many poetry-reading videos (or “attending” live readings) as I should have during the pandemic, so I set aside the time to watch hers.  And I’m so glad I did. 

The poems seemed to be set in a post-apocalyptic world, at once terrible and beautiful.  There was a focus on precise language, as well as some dark humor.  She mentioned that these pieces comprised a chapbook . . . one with no home.  So I asked to read it and offered to give it a home.

Only after reading a second time and corresponding with Chelsea did I realize that the poems all take place in the world of first-person shooter video game BioShock.  Not having played that game, I wasn’t familiar with all the clues and specific characters that inhabit the poems.  None of that changed my feeling about the collection, but I’m sure knowing the game would help deepen one’s connection and make it easier to visualize the scenes she sets.

All of this is to say, it’s a fun read and you should pick one up on the Titles page.

From “Breadwinner”:

“you forget / every bad thing / you’ve done // the good things / you’ve thought / about doing // as you sift through the pockets / of the dead // and slip bandoliers / from their shoulders / like nightgowns //”

October 2020 Update

Autumn is here!  The trees are changing colors, and cool breezes blow in your windows.  Unless you live in Florida, where it won’t be “Autumn” for another several weeks. 
We’re still reading manuscripts from our open reading period that ended last month.  We should be reaching out to some “finalists” in the coming week(s). 
The other, more immediate, news is the next chapbook we have coming out . . . Our Home Can be a Dangerous Place by Chelsea Bodnar.  It will be out in four days (meaning, it will show up on the Titles page, and we’ll make an announcement here).  There is a hope that we’ll be doing some kind of virtual reading soon, as well, so stay tuned!

September 2020 Update

There are just a few hours left to submit your chapbook manuscripts (as of this writing) before the open reading window closes for another year.  Or at least several months.  We’ll start going through those right away.  Thanks in advance for your patience.

The other big news is . . . we have a surprise chapbook coming out in about a month.  In what turns out to be a story about something good happening on Facebook, we came upon Chelsea Bodnar reading her poems (in a live stream, though not strictly live for us) and, yadda, yadda, yadda, CHAPBOOK!  There’s more to it than that, of course, and I’ll tell you all about the “yadda, yadda, yadda” as we get into October. 

Open Reading Guidelines (September 2020)

The 2020 open reading period starts at midnight September 1 and runs through 11:59 PM September 14.  This is a couple months earlier than previous years.  I thought we’d get a head start on setting up the schedule for 2021.  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]”
      • If you’ve had a chapbook published by GBP, you’re not excluded.  But if there are multiple GBP veterans among the “finalists,” only one will be considered for publication.
      • 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 Halloween.  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!