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Monday, February 01, 2016

Jane’s Diurnal

Back in the waning days of Momoware, I received a submission from Jane Joritz-Nakagawa—an American expat living in Central Japan, where she writes and teaches. The submission was an excerpt from a larger work that was, sadly, unavailable for us to publish. I told her to keep us in mind when she had another chapbook project to submit, and she did. I quickly snapped it up and it’s now available. Its title is diurnal.

Jane’s work in diurnal reflects the activist feel of her other poetry and essays. The chapbook is one cohesive piece, broken (evenly) into 24 sections. Here’s a snippet from section (2):

“slender and heavy
cheap scenes for a

shoulder of afterthought
shivering impediment

sleeve of abandonment
dismembers the landscape

silhouette gown
stitched in space”


It’s an exciting start for our 2016. And a reminder: You can also purchase a subscription of all five (currently planned) chapbooks for 2016.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

January 2016 Update

The first chapbook of 2016 will be out in a matter of days.  This year’s slate of chapbooks starts with two holdover selections we made last Fall followed by the three selected during the 2015/2016 “season” open reading.  And these five chapbooks will be offered as a subscription for 2016, and will be listed simultaneously with Jane Jortiz-Nakagawa’s chapbook on Sunday.  The subscription price will be $24, including shipping.  Because this is something of an experiment for us, we’re only offering 25 subscriptions.

To be clear, the five chapbooks are:
Jane Joritz-Nakagawa, Diurnal
E. Kristin Anderson, Fire in the Sky
Jessie Janeshek, Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish
Genevieve Kaplan, In an aviary
Jenny MacBain-Stephens, Clown Machine

I’m guessing at least one or two other projects will pop up this year, but they will not be included in the subscription.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  See you in a couple days.

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Recently

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who submitted a chapbook manuscript this year. I don’t get a chance to send personal responses/rejections to everyone, just the semi-finalists, which I feel a little bad about. A little.

For the second year in a row, I read all the manuscripts alone. From the pool of submissions, I picked six semi-finalists; there were at least that many “on the bubble.” I went with six because I knew I wouldn’t be tempted to accept that many. I knew right away that there were two manuscripts almost sure to be chosen, and those were confirmed during the second reading. A third manuscript was right up there with them. I had a good feeling about those three manuscripts and ultimately decided that with the two chapbooks we have coming out in the next couple months and other potential projects (including another book), I didn’t want to be overloaded. (Last year, we picked five manuscripts and took most of the year to work through them.)

So, the “winner” of the 2015/2016 “season” open reading is Jessie Janeshek. Her chapbook will be out in the Spring, followed soon after by chapbooks by Genevieve Kaplan and Jenny MacBain-Stephens. Those will be preceded by two backlogged, off-cycle chapbooks by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa and E. Kristin Anderson. Sounds like a pretty good subscription, no? (More on that later . . .)

Welcome to 2016, everyone!

cont.

Erin Trapp’s new chapbook, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH is officially the final release from our 2014/2015 “season,” which was stretched out and then delayed slightly for other planning and the Holidays.

This is a deeper, more philosophical collection of poems, which Erin tells us is about “reproductive love’s bizarro world and its unsustainability—about reproductive labor, maintenance work, the destruction of psychic and natural environments, care, and desire.” It touches on the psyche/unconscious and the adequation and abstraction of infancy.

From “Primary Love”:

“let’s talk about the labor of care
of caring for

outside of reproduction, the reproduction
of labor-power, of desire, under the violent wage

there is this to know about caring:
it is both the act of, and the object of
the attention given to and the disquiet, the mind suffering with

                            | not | a care
in the world”


ENOUGH IS ENOUGH is available now.  Get yours and start 2016 with a bang!

 

cont.

The Holidays haven’t beaten us yet!  We’re still in the midst of reading chapbook manuscripts, but we should have the first cut done in a couple/few days.  Then we’ll make notifications to authors still “in the running.” 

Ann’s book has been making its way out into the world and hot on its heels is our next chapbook from Erin Trapp.  For orders over the next 10 days, we’ll be mostly down . . . limited to what we have on hand while we’re on the road. 

We’re hoping for a smooth end to 2015 because we have to hit the ground running in 2016, with three chapbooks in two months and THEN the start of the 2015/2016 chapbook season.

UPDATE (12/23): We’ve narrowed the manuscripts down to six and those authors have been notified.  We’ll be picking three or four of those for publication in 2016, and those decisions will be announced in early January. Thanks, everyone and Happy Holidays!

cont.

12/1 Fury

Last Autumn, in 2014, I was finishing up my tour as a reader for the Robert Dana Prize at Anhinga Press. There was one manuscript that I really liked, and I commented to my friend (and Anhinga co-director) Jay Snodgrass that if it wasn’t chosen for the prize, I’d make that the first full-length collection for Grey Book Press. That collection was a finalist for the prize but was not ultimately chosen. And that collection was In the Fury by Ann Dernier.

So about a year ago, I sent Ann an email to, basically, offer to publish her book. I pitched it as an adventure for both of us. I knew going in that book publishing—with its more intricate scheduling, production, and promotion—was inherently much different than chapbook publishing. Even with a lot of advance discussions and brainstorming and planning, things still came together later than planned. But it’s come together and is “officially” on sale today.

The poems in Ann’s debut collection inventory the vagaries of womanhood—the bare intensity of being a mother, wife, lover. They shout requests into the Colosseum, illuminate the horror of a burned bride, French kiss a dictator—while at the same time finding beauty in the shard, the scree, the flaw ... beauty in the ruins. Through the poems, we can reflect on the wreckage in a world that at once enthralls and terrifies us, and what remains to explore.

Gerald Stern calls her “an inventive, original poet; beauty is at her finger tips.” And poet Barbara Cully says, “These poems are made of formal precision, a procession of lines cropped just right as photographs, as words caught in the throat and almost unuttered.” I have really enjoyed working with Ann on this project, and we are both very proud to share it with you all.

From the collection’s first poem, “Set the Needle”:

“A hawk feather stabbed like a dart the dirt road
This morning, as though to play that mile of desert.

And in the stream we crossed to Seven Falls
Pointing ourselves in the pitch of water’s warbly wave,

The melody changed against our bodies in the rushing current,
Reedy woodwinds added by the bending brush.

Each of us one needle cutting a master on earth.”


In the Fury is available through our website, directly from Ann (signed, even!), or through your favorite mega-huge online retailing Death Star.

cont.