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Thursday, February 06, 2020

You Deserve All of This

Channel U

The title of this post comes from one of Jessie Janeshek’s poems from her latest chapbook, Channel U.  The cover features Maila Nurmi (better known as Vampira) dressed as a witch for Halloween, with her companion dressed as a post-car-crash James Dean. 

Our final chapbook of last year’s “season” is our third by Ms. Janeshek.  At this point, what more can we tell you?  Jessie describes her poetry as “feminist, probing the connections among sex, power, and violence—frequently explored through the broken promise of Hollywood’s ‘golden age’ and its shadow side film noir—while examining, challenging, and sometimes reappropriating patriarchal culture’s complex relationship with powerful women, especially when those women are too beautiful yet never beautiful enough.”  I asked her to describe Channel U, and she wrote that it “fuses personal and cultural nostalgia—or maybe anti-nostalgia—to examine and disrupt girlhood and womanhood in small-town America from the ’50s through the ’90s. ‘Screaming relaxes me so,’ Vampira used to say, sipping from a smoking goblet as she introduced that night’s cheap horror flick.”  Take a drink and tune in.

From “Bombshell Planchette/Why Can’t You Manage Platinum?”

“Makeup makes the lie and I’m afraid of your bleach
      my legs/the trees open. To motivate myself
I dream Kim Novak     white lights in the clouds     the self-control suicide note.”


Check the title page and pick up a copy.  It goes great with her other two chapbooks!

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Saturday, January 11, 2020

January 2020 Update (Open Reading Results Edition)

We’re finally back with the results of the open reading we had the first half of November.  It turns out we only chose two manuscripts for publication . . . from basically that number of finalists.  I know, what gives?  (More details* below.)  So because the six-week spacing between chapbooks has been working pretty well, Grey Book Press is now following the Wheel of the Year.  GBP alum Jenny MacBain-Stephens’ chapbook, The Female Citizens of Sunshine Nation Face off with Light Sucking Demons, will appear around the Spring Equinox (March 22/23), and Chris Bullard’s chapbook, Continued, will appear around the beginning of May. 

But before any of that, we’re having a reading here in Tallahassee next weekend (January 18) with some friends from Hysterical Books, and it includes Kristine Snodgrass and Brendan Walsh. 

Our next publication is the long-awaited Channel U from Jessie Janeshek.  In just a few short weeks!  I’d better get to work!

* Most years, we get a whole mix of manuscripts in the open readings.  There’s a score of 7 (on a scale of 1 to 10) or higher to be considered as a finalist, which means we feel that particular collection is strong and fits well with our “aesthetic.”  And/or “feels right.”  In reading the manuscripts, it seemed like several were falling just short, so there was a handful that were “on the bubble” for finalist consideration.  I was pretty sure about the two we chose, but I did second reads of a few others to make sure and contacted some of those authors to let them know they were so close but not quite “there.”  We have to feel comfortable with our picks, and only two of them felt completely “right.”  That doesn’t mean the ones not selected were lacking.  We’ve passed on manuscripts before, only to have them picked up by better presses than ours, or Finishing Line!

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Recently

First of all, thanks to everyone who submitted a chapbook manuscript earlier this month.  We’ve started looking through them and will make some decisions on finalists by the middle of next month.  Once the finalists are notified, I’ll post something here (and elsewhere) updating everyone on the process.  The goal is to have manuscripts fully reviewed and decisions made on selections by the end of the year.

In the meantime, we have scheduled a poetry reading here in Tallahassee in conjunction with our friends at Hysterical Books, featuring two GBP readers: Kristine Snodgrass and Brendan Walsh.  It’s on Saturday, January 18, at the Indianhead Factory.  Details will be posted on Facebook.

Soon after, around the beginning of February, we’ll have our next chapbook from Jessie Janeshek.  We’ll have more details about that as we announce our publication schedule for 2020.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!  See you soon!

cont.

The 2019/2020 chapbook season open reading starts just after Halloween. . . officially midnight (00:00 November 1).  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: “SUBMISSION - [LAST NAME] - [TITLE]”
—If you’ve had a chapbook published by GBP, you’re not excluded this time.  But if there are multiple GBP veterans among the “finalists,” only one will be considered for publication.
—Send submissions until 11:59 p.m. on November 14, 2019.
—Finalists will be notified before the New Year.  It’s likely that authors removed from consideration will not be notified.  Feel free to query by email as to progress of our review.  Finalists will be posted here.
—There will be at least one “winner” and one “runner up.”  The “winner” will receive an open-ended publication with 25 author copies.  The other accepted manuscript(s) could be limited editions of 50 (in which case, 15 author copies).

In selecting chapbooks for publication, we usually aim for “range” in making multiple acceptances.  For instance, the favorite/best/most resonant chapbook will be the “winner,” and other selected manuscripts will be . . . different (from the “winning” chapbook and one another). 

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

Good luck!

cont.

We’ve been keeping things on the down-low for the past couple months.  There were a few off-cycle manuscripts to read and, with nothing in active production, we were also taking things easy before the beginning of the open reading period, which is a little over a week away (midnight after Halloween).  I’ll post the formal call here the day before (October 30) and then share on social media.  You won’t miss it (unless you want to). 

Get those chapbook manuscripts ready!

cont.

enchanted / in

Last November, by the time we started the open reading period for this year’s “season,” we’d already agreed to publish a chapbook by Nava Fader—a collection of poems loosely tied to the work of Rainer Maria Rilke.  I found her poems to be hypnotic and engrossing and definitely a voice separate from Rilke’s.  (Admittedly, I had limited experience with Rilke’s poetry.)  At the time of accepting her work, I let Nava know we’d schedule its publication once we got through the manuscripts in the open reading and made our selections.  Her chapbook was scheduled to come out toward the end of the “open reading season” chapbooks, rather than before. And here we are.

Nava uses lines from Rilke’s work as starting places for some of her poems.  Other poems are “false translations” of his.  I was drawn by the way the poems flow and the way simple words are combined to make new, unique compound words (like “vapormist,” “armsweep,” and “suntimes”) in several of the pieces.  There’s not an identifiable narrative thread running through the poems, but they are tied together by an exploration of language that weaves a story of its own.

From “Love Song (a false translation)”

“We are one halt
soul here, served neither
dinner nor rubles. Unrelenting
soul, grooved—so to speak—ditched
among ravenous animals girded

for riding, molting variously, and we call them
forlorn.”


You can (and should!) pick up a copy at the Titles page. Hell, pick up two copies.

cont.