Now that we’re through the Holidays, it’s time for my “busy” time of year at work (non-press work). With two chapbooks lined up for the coming months (details soon), and a pile of queries and manuscripts to go through, we’ll be shutting the door to all queries and submissions until late Summer/early Fall. Anything in the inbox before February 1 will receive a response.
Just a quick Holiday update from GBP headquarters. No new chapbooks to announce, but work continues on getting some things finalized.
We’re still reading and responding to queries. Once we have a few manuscripts chosen for production, we’ll likely close for submissions until the “backlog” is cleared.
Thanks to everyone who has submitted and, obviously, to everyone who continues to purchase copies. You’re the best.
See you next year!
As we welcome Autumn, you may notice that there’s been no post about an upcoming Open Reading Period. I know we’ve announced those around this time the past several years, but we’re taking a break from that (for now). Instead, we’re going to rely on solicitations and submissions from appropriate queries. For the latter, we’ll post guidelines to the Submissions page in the next week. I know, I know . . . that was promised by the end of September but, hey, what’re you gonna do . . ? (I blame Oktoberfest.)
In other news, we already have a chapbook to announce for the beginning of 2024. We’ll have more details on that next month.
In the meantime, I would like to thank all of the poets we’ve published recently for their work, and all of you who’ve made purchases.
The final chapbook from our 2022/2023 Open Reading Period is The Adorable Knife by Jessica Purdy. The poems in this collection revel in a kind of ekphrasis, exploring miniature crime scenes. In fact, each of the poems (except for the opening sestina) is based on a diorama created by Frances Glessner Lee, a forensic scientist. Lee’s 20 dollhouse-scale dioramas—collected in Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death—were used to train homicide investigators. Purdy’s poems animate the scenes, adding personality and hints of narrative.
I was attracted to the way the stories of the dioramas unfold. Sometimes from Lee’s perspective, sometimes an investigator, and sometimes the perpetrator or victim. (Sometimes from the “outside” and sometimes from the “inside.”) The miniature scenes come to life in vivid detail—in language as painstakingly precise as Lee’s creations.
From “Living Room”:
“Your stint in jail didn’t leave a mark.
You love to confess if only I had married D instead,
bring me roses and I am consoled.
I still pet your chin hairs
chain smoke Marlboro Lights
go barefoot in my swirly skirts.
I hope your engine dies mid-air.
My blackened eye fades to yellow
like the sunset from your pilot’s chair
and the stair scrubbed of blood
blooms again with spatter.”
The Adorable Knife is now available on the Titles page.
A flurry of activity here at GBP central. We’ve set August 31 as the launch date for our next chapbook (The Adorable Knife by Jessica Purdy), Hell or high water. Which is what we might get with Hurricane Idalia bearing down on us. Not to be overly dramatic, but we are in the North Florida Panhandle and remember the last time a hurricane rushed through the Gulf of Mexico, gaining strength much faster than anticipated. We lost power for days with Hurricane Michael and it hit further away from us then Idalia is forecast to hit this time. Anyway, lots of unknowns. But production on Jessican’s chapbook has started. The link to purchase copies should be posted tomorrow, with the official “launch post” set for Thursday . . . or as soon as we have access to power and/or Wifi.
The other news, now that we’ll very soon have no outstanding manuscripts to publish, is we’re going to switch up our submission policy. We’ve decided not to do an “open reading” this Fall. Instead, we’ll take rolling solicitations with sample poems up front. Exact guidelines will be posted in September.
See you on the other side (of the storm).
At long last, it’s our next chapbook, Black Nebula by Karen Kilcup. A lot of time went into getting it just right, including one of the most evocative covers we’ve done, featuring the photo “Black Ice” by Charter Weeks. The poems beneath the cover are also evocative, all of them “in praise of” a tangible, real-world thing or situation that gets elevated, colored in, and brought to life in words.
In her blurb for the chapbook, Helena Minton wrote, “These compressed, idiosyncratic poems of praise, rooted in the everyday, and rich with images of nature, disarm with their originality. . . . What appears to be a random series of topics is gradually revealed to be parts of a coherent and personal story.”
From “In Praise of Imperfection”:
“The thick chipped paint on my windowsill,
where the pine grain shows through.
The russet potato, baked but
still hard at the core. Singing
Aretha Franklin’s Respect loudly,
joyfully, and off-key.”
Order your copy now on the Titles page.
The world’s on fire, it’s unbearably hot everywhere, and it feels like we’re teetering on the brink. Summertime in America! Perfect time for some new poetry chapbooks!
After some delays, we’re getting ready to launch our next project—Black Nebula from Karen Kilcup. I’d been aiming for a late-June release, but we had some scheduling and logistics complications, so we’re looking at July 14. The cover is stunning; I’m no graphic designer, but we spent a lot of time getting everything just right. Can’t wait for everyone to see it!
And there’ll be no time to rest after that, as we’re already getting to work on the follow-up from Jessica Purdy. Look for that one in August (exact date TBD).
UPDATE: Everything is ready for production, which is happening this weekend. Pre-order link will be posted soon, and official launch early next week when copies are ready to ship!
Our 2023 chapbook season kicks off with the return of Juliet Cook and red flames burning out. I welcome seeing manuscripts from old GBP friends come in during our open readings, and Juliet walked through the door with one of her most immediate and jarringly personal (sounding) collections. While many of the pieces fit comfortably in Juliet’s oeuvre of horror poetry, I found myself moved by the “Internal Suffocation” series and the last poem, “White Doldrums.” And I laughed my way through “My Bridal Meat Doll.” She keeps us guessing, even if her subjects are the ones that seem trapped and/or lost.
How does Juliet describe it? “Broken doll fingers bulging their way out of blubbering chicken wire. Losing parts of one’s self and growing new parts in the form of self-created nightmares, body and brain malfunctions, seizures and other divorces from parts of past reality. Pitching standard traditions in the trash, wrapped in drying blood. Creepy bird’s nests and fear of impending death, yet still continuing to create one’s own sizzling and burning red fire.”
What more can I add to that?
From “Body Captivity”:
It starts from out of nowhere,
then won’t stop growing.
If I get rid of it, it will come back.
If I shovel it, the next seizure
will break a rib to prove a point.
Pick up your copy on the Titles page. Features Juliet’s own artwork on the full, borderless cover.
I hadn’t planned on such a long period of silence, but we’ve been working behind the scenes on a printing “experiment.” For years, we’ve been keeping things simple. I’ve always printed inner pages at home on either plain white or linen stock. Almost always digest-sized, almost always 24 to 32 pages. Covers had been printed at a variety of places, either on colored cardstock or white. Always straight to letter size. Recently, I’ve been outsourcing covers with a slight production cost increase, but now we’re trying to print to larger-size cover stock and cutting down to letter size. If it all goes as planned, our first chapbook of the year (out next week) from Juliet Cook will feature a full-bleed, wrap-around cover. But it’ll come at a price. (Just how much remains to be seen. I’ll post an update with that information.)
Juliet’s chapbook had been planned for release a couple weeks earlier, but that shouldn’t affect our schedule as we prepare chapbooks from Jessica Purdy and Karen Kilcup into the Summer. There will be an April update with a general release schedule after Juliet’s chapbook is out. Get ready!
And . . . we’re back!
There’s really no excuse for how long it took to get to this point in announcing the Open Reading chapbook selections. We were just slow in getting through the manuscripts initially, slow to notify finalists (though we did hit our targeted deadline), really slow to revisit all the finalists’ manuscripts, and then slow to make final decisions and notifications.
From the initial pool of submissions, we picked a handful of finalists. I felt the ideal (manageable) number of chapbooks would be three, which we’re gonna try to schedule into the Summer. So . . .
First up, this Spring, will be GBP veteran and horror-poetry-queen Juliet Cook, followed by Jessica Purdy and Karen Kilcup. We’ll have more details on release dates next month. We may also experiment with having chapbooks printed professionally which, of course, has an upside and downside. They’ll look better (and potentially have more capacity to be longer), but they’ll like cost more. Before we pull the trigger on such a change, we’ll need to do a cost-analysis.
We’ll also be evaluating our plans for future open readings. Look, I think I’m almost at the point of going to a solicitation-only model for getting new chapbooks and/or only publishing authors we’ve worked with already. Most of the GBP veterans are great poets and great people, and I’d happily publish every manuscript they send. A lot of the submissions we get through open readings are from people who don’t know the press, and it’s hard to find manuscripts that capture the magic I’ve seen under our banner. That said . . . there have been some surprises, so I’m hesitant to stop doing open readings all together.
Thanks, everyone, for your patience. And thanks to everyone who sent us work.