Tuesday, July 31, 2007

late summer art sale

collages and postcards all $5 and under
at wickedpen.etsy.com

coming next year

Partial Autobiography of Jane Doe / Daniela Olszewska (January)

Brute Fact / Melissa Severin (February)

Mock Martyrs / Abound / Julia Drescher (March)

Cirque du Creve Coeur / Melissa Crowe (April)

locate / Edward Smallfield & Miriam Pirone (May)

Elsewhere & Wise / Kristi Maxwell (June)

lit / Danielle Vogel (July)

Dear American Love Child, Yours, The Beautiful Undead
/ Robyn Art & Robin Barcus (November)

We are still reading and considering chaps for the second half of the year until the end of August. Check back in September for updates.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Definitely a smoother day today. Despite a canceled lunch date and a temperamental printer, I'm still in a reasonably decent mood. Mostly good dreams and good weather, sunny warm and not so humid. An acceptance from Coconut and other random bits of delightful news. I'm finding it hard to believe that July is almost over.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Awful, awful dreams last night, the kind where people wind up dying and I wake up screaming. There's always a moment in these dreams where in the midst of panic, I realize (or hope) it's a dream and trick myself into waking up. Still scary, though, and these sorts of things are probably never good omens. Not quite so dire, but endlessly annoying, my b&w printer was also being fussy and the paper light keeps flashing at me like an evil little eye and won’t print. I may chuck it out the window before the day is over. Plus I just got the blue screen of death a few minutes ago. Do you think it's all related?


Earlier, I was reading a rather good discussion about chapbooks over at WOMPO. Someone had asked about the whys and wheretofores. As a publisher, I like chapbooks because I can make and sell them relatively cheaply and in the process get a lot of peoples work out there. Some of these people are publishing their first chaps, some already have many and this is just one more. Some poets are just starting their careers, some are in the thick of it. There’s also an immediacy that you don’t get with books that can take years to find a publisher and ultimately get into print, even if they are snatched up immediately.

Chapbooks also tend to have a focus and compactness I like as a reader. I buy a lot of chaps, some for design samples, but also a lot by authors I like. I could easily wait for these poems to wind up in a full-length project, but I’m all about the instant gratification. I want it NOW dammit. I’m also a hoarder of books and myriad papery things, so the more the merrier. At WOMPO, they were discussing the whole issue about readers feeling ripped-off when they buy a long book that they’ve already seen some of it as a chapbook. I hope not, though it does raise an interesting point. Also whether the publisher of any given collection should be worried about sales when the actual content has already appeared elsewhere (not counting journals) or will appear elsewhere in the future.

Though I’ve published (self and otherwise) certain segments of the longer book manuscripts as chaps (with the exception of feign, which is still available from NMP and at the hotel andromeda, which is dwindling) most of those books aren’t available anymore or soon won’t be anywhere but the longer book. With in the bird museum, you can easily find segments of it in shorter collections; errata, feign, archer avenue, the Cornell poems. Hell you can also find a lot of them on the internet as well. If you own all those chaps, and read new work I publish in webzines, you probably have read most of in the bird museum and can save yourself some cash in December (though there are also an entire series of phobia poems that tie the whole project together that have only seen daylight a couple times, so that alone is worth forking over for, don’t you think?) Really though, it was important that I bring all these things together under one cover, one big book, and give them some sort of unity. Read together they have more impact than separately. It was important to have them be presented not as the scattered, limited edition chaps they once existed as, but as parts of a whole body of work exploring the same themes. The big book also feels like a final edition, all the poems revised to the best version they can possibly be. And available indefinitely and more widely in this case since Dusie uses Lulu. It’s nice to have little limited editions collector items, but I also want my work to be available to anyone who wants it, whenever, wherever.

Of course, there’s also a part of me that feels a little uneasy to always be shoving new projects in people’s faces and saying “BUY IT! BUY IT!” when they just bought something else a couple of weeks ago. Which is why I like to give and swap as much away as I can. If I can afford to give it away for free, I probably have. Or will very soon.

At WOMPO, someone also brings up the issue of trying to sell both side by side and are you obligated to say they share content. Well, yes, I imagine if you want to be upfront and honest, but I think there’s more than room for both. If you’re poor like most poets, chaps are a much better option. Also if the author is new to you, they are a good way to dip your foot in the pool. If you have a paper fetish and are seduced by you are going to naturally gravitate toward the shorter collection. However, if you are in for the long haul or like slick glossy things, then you’ll go for the big book. I don’t think they need to be seen at odds with each other. Of course if you’re like me and madly collect things and are really into a given author, you’ll be willing to pay for both. And the broadside. And the napkin the poet scribbled notes on at lunch.

For dgp, if a book is soonly on the horizon, I’ll try to space the chap a few months to capitalize on pre-book excitement. I find people, even with an impending book on the horizon, have no problem handing over $5 or $6 (about the cost of cocktail) for a little taste of what’s to come We have a couple forthcoming authors where this is the case. My experience is that there’s typically a big spike in sales just after release that eventually tempers off to a more even level, so by the time a longer book comes out, we wouldn’t really be competing much with them anyhow. And then there’s always the factor press loyalty—some dear lovelies buy everything we publish, no matter what else is out there. And I imagine this is true for other presses, as well.

In regard to my work, this is the one reason I like the idea of branching out beyond the dgp sphere and not just self-publishing everything I want to release, which I could do and probably save some cash on book/chapbook contests and postage. I’ve pretty much given up on the whole trying to prove I’m a “legitimate” poet based on who publishes or doesn’t publish me, and moreso being legitimate on putting work out there people want to read. I’m psyched to be affiliated with other presses who have their own spheres (though often overlapping) of readership and getting my work into more hands. Placing myself in different readership circles, among different factions of community who may have never encountered my work. Indeed, this whole notion of career, oft debated and ridiculed, I think is really more about that, getting books into hands, however you do it, whether through traditional channels or untraditional ones.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

bring it on

Okay I cheated. I did some peaking around in the dgp submissions this weekend, when I vowed not to look until September. Truth is, in the last month three poets have pulled manuscripts from the pile because they were picked up elsewhere. The same thing happened last year. Since I hadn't really looked at anything yet, I don't know whether I'd have wanted them or not, but still... So I've started lining up titles for next year while the getting is still good.

I did a little number crunching, and amazing as it is, we are not at all hemorraging money from my bank account like I'd feared, and are in fact, breaking damned near even. Since this was the last year I'd have that nifty little student loan cushion, I figured we'd publish as many chaps as I could afford to since I could still spend a little of my own cash to finance books. Lo and behold, we're in the black by about 30 bucks these days (and that's even with replacing the pricey drum unit on the printer recently and splurging on fancier cover paper. (and a few misteps that involved re-ordering paper I didn't like, reprinting a screw-up, and the postcard debacle with andromeda.) And granted, a book a month has occasionally gotten crazy sometimes, especially when I was still in school and the last couple months with numerous projects doubling up (my Dusie chap, andromeda, and about three regular titles). But now, we've settled back into a groove. Are amazingly even ahead of schedule on the next couple.

So I'm going all in for next year again is what I mean to say. And from the looks of the subs so far, this is a damned good thing, since it's going to be tough to decide. 12 books, 12 months. I've lined up the first few months of the year, which I will announce soon, and still have lots of books in consideration for the rest, plus, I suspect we'll be slammed in August, since that's when slackers like me tend to send things in at the last possible minute.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

you know you have to look

exclusive sexy sneak peak cover action going on HERE for the next two chaps.

post MFA syndrome

As I was working on a poem last night I hesitated over a line, and sure enough, the workshop ghost reared it's ugly head. I shouldn't do x because the response will be y, and on and on. I decided to leave it the way it was since only in workshop, where one is purposely looking for any given poem's faults, would someone have that response (I hope.) I have to say one of the good things about the whole MFA thing was that it made me more conscious of what I was doing. The bad thing was that it made me somehow more self conscious as well. I don't know about other editors, but I certainly don't read wicked alice or dgp subs looking for what's wrong with this poem or book, what can I tear down. And yet, this is how we are taught to think somehow. The result is that a perfect poem becomes this flawless, tidy, p's and q's in place, POEM, and untimately probably about as uninteresting as wallpaper. I'm not talking about sloppiness or cliche or any of the obvious things that draw attention to their immediate badness, but more subtly things (fragmentation, rough edges, jarring juxtapositions) that I would say make the poems more interesting. Of course, this might just be the whole tradition vs. innovation debate again. I hated sitting through workshops where poets on the more experimental side were raked over the coals, where taking certain risks were immediately shot down. And what purpose is art if you can't take risks? I hated looking for those flaws, how it was changing how I read.

This self-consciousness also manifested itself outside the writing itself and in the realm of po-biz. There were times when the whole thing made me very self-conscious about self-publishing, about choosing to publish most of my work online. Big no-nos according to some people. Hell, about publishing or submitting at all when I was supposed to be focusing on my "craft". About running a press or a litzine. Even just keeping a blog and being uncouth enough talk about such things. About trying to forge out a little corner for myself in the poetry world, all things which in the pre-MFA world were de riguer. Six years ago, I thought nothing about making a website, starting a zine. Almost every poet I knew had one. No big deal. A couple years ago, I was somehow sort of weirded out about having a personal site and about what was on it. Like I was trying too hard or something. Like who the hell was *I* that I should think anyone cared? I was sort of self-conscious of the Poetry Center win and all it's perks, of getting my book published while I was still in school (hell of even having the audacity even to publish my own chaps). I kept thinking people were sizing me up and wondering why I was worthy of this sort of good fortune (of course I think the same thing in those yukky bad self-doubt moments). I thought it was all in my head until I actually heard a couple things said by people when I wasn't around that sort of confirmed it. Then I felt even more self-conscious. Even more fishbowl-like. No one seemed to realize that I was a good deal older than alot of people in the program, had been playing this game for years, etc. Also, that the writing culture in which I sort of evolved in was VERY different from the academic poetry complex. (thank god). Not just my own work, but also having the audacity to claim some legitimacy as an editor or publisher without having some sort of stamp of approval from some po-biz god made me feel sort of weird. I also get the impression from some people that they thought I was well-connected, or somehow shmoozed the right people, which, if you know me in person at all, could not be further from the truth.

It definitely got a little better the last couple of years when there seemed to be more poets doing similar things--submitting, blogging, publishing their work, starting presses, doing all sorts of interesting things. Those people probably feel a little bit like I do sometimes too. Still, those disquieting feeling were there, still are there a little and hopefully will go away with time. Hell, though I admit, luckily they didn't really affect my ACTIONS, even if it all made me feel a little awkward sometimes whenever I or anybody else brought up the press, the book, any sort of conventional achievement at all. If anything they made me push against it even more, so there's some good to come out of it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

big news

Okay this is one announcement I can't possibly sit on for more than twenty minutes since confirming it, but dgp will be venturing into the world of full-length books next fall. I'd been musing over using LULU as a printer and taking the plunge like so many other presses (No Tell, Dusie, Bloof..) and I wanted the first longer book to be something special. Not just an everyday collection, but something exciting. Robyn Art, who has allowed us to publish two of her chaps in the past, approached me with an idea for another text/image project on a grander scale than scenes from the body, incorporating some of what was in Vestigial Portions and photography by Robin Barcus called Dear American Love Child, Yours, The Beautiful Undead. (and you know I could never say no to a title like that..).

While I'm not sure if we'll be adding full-length titles to our repertoire permanently, we'll see how it goes. I still like the handmade feel of our chaps, and the inexpensiveness, and the chap as an art form, plus they allow me to play with paper in a way digital printing does not. But due to the projects length, and the quality of the photos, glossy and slick is definitely the way to go in this case. Though I'm thinking , at least as far as any copies ordered directly from the press (as opposed to directly through Lulu, Amazon, etc.) there might be a special handmade touch like a sleeve or a box, or something cool like that for the book. I have a year to figure it out.

new poems

at PFS Post .

Saturday, July 21, 2007

don't make me come down there

I opted out of this years Printers Ball, being a little wary of large crowds lately and being a bit too exhausted feel to take in what is basically a cool event--an excellent chance to snag free stuff and celebrate indie presses (even if it's a bit hipsterish). I had no idea something like this would happen and I'd miss it...


Damned rowdy, drunken poet types...

dresses, books, and birdies

Today was an excellent day in terms of productivity. I managed to work my way through most of the Dusie chaps I've thus recieved (more on these tomorrow, I think), drafted a couple pieces for dulcet, and got started on a new collage series using all the extra birds left over the Cornell stuff and some new seamstress pattern scraps I recieved, which really have a nice texture.

Also did a little online shopping for a dress for a wedding in September and wound up buying three here , here and here. Also a basic black hoodie to replace the one I broke the zipper on last fall in a fit of rage-filled undressing, all of which pretty much blows my clothes budget for the next five months but were definitely worth it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I just finished watching the second season of The Office on DVD last night, which I love. LOVE. (ask my neighbors who could no doubt hear me laughing uncontrollably all by myself.) Almost made me wish I could get network reception without cable. I have an antenna that gets me a very fuzzy ABC, UPN, and occasional FOX, but not really enough to do anything but have it on as background noise. Also in store for the weekend: Pan's Labyrinth and Twin Peaks Season 2.

Today, a lovely half day and spending the afternoon with R. Then, hopefully, a weekend devoted to working on a new art project and possibly some poems. I'm sort of treading water between two manuscripts lately--dulcet and unnamed book project #5-(well, it sort of has a name, but I'm still sounding out the feel of it to see if it sticks.) I've probably got 30 or so poems thus far, which is actually a bit more than I have for dulcet, so I'm not sure which will get finished first. There's also another chapbook idea I've been musing over, which we will see how it pans out.

I've finally caught up on all wicked alice submissions, all dgp orders, and all requests for sending work. There a couple little things I have to tend to (big news for dgp--just wait til fall!), but they're quickies and I should have them finished before I leave today. Next week, I'll begin laying out Alphabet for M, which I hope to have completely finished before I leave for another week out of town in August.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The new wicked alice is now up featuring work by Valerie Loveland, Lisa Cihlar, June Coleman Magrab, Adam Elgar, Vasiliki Katsarou, Kelly Boyker, J. Elyse Kihlstrom, Michelle Morgan, Julie Strand, Heather Overby, Edward Smallfield, Miriam Pirone, Aliza Einhorn, and Ray Succre.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Spent most of the early afternoon laying out the summer wicked alice, which should be making it's debut in the next week or so. I'm still holding some subs for the fall issue that I couldn't fit into this one, so if you sent work and haven't seen a rejection, it's likely still under consideration. After next week I should be all caught up.(Finally!) Of course just in time for submissions to open up again, so I'm probably being way too optimistic. I will also be working to fill all dgp orders this week--we've been swamped, and with last weeks production mode I didn't get anything out in the mail at all. If you wanted it, it will be on it's way shortly.

Other than that, I've updated the etsy shop with the newer titles, and began cover design work for the next two books. Also ordered a new batch of text paper and some nice, sandy textury stock for the next one. Oh, the joy of supplies. I am trying to slow down a little after last week's chaos and messiness. Tonight, I even had some time to sit down with some Dusie things and a couple other chaps I've bought/swapped for/ otherwise aquired in the last few weeks in an effort to clear off the stack next to the computer. Made a very small dent, but a dent nevertheless...

Read through about ten, not everything to my liking of course, but here are the ones I loved:

Dos Press trilogy / Strudenski, Smith, and Nguyen
Here, Hunger / Sarah Lillius and Erin Bertram
North of There / Chris Pusateri
Riffing on Bird and Other Sad Songs / Lisa Janssen
Children Having Trouble with Meat / Christine Hamm

Saturday, July 14, 2007

get it while it's hot

Orange Girl
by Simone Muench
dancing girl press, 2007
buy it here


and you'd better get if fast, judging from tonights sales at Quimby's, which featured awesome readings by Brandi, Erin, and Simone and a splendidly large crowd. I love Quimby's because it always seems like lots of people even when there isn't, but this time,damn..it was SRO pretty far back. Yay!

So I'm spending the rest of the weekend tidying up the tornado that hit my apartment the last few days and the giant nest-like pile of paper cuttings next to the table. When I get busy, the whole place goes to hell. Also, I need some major organizational work in the studio. Also, laundry and dealing with the stack of dishes teetering in the sink.

The weather has been gorgeous, however, since early last week, cool, mild, and clear blue-skied. Rare and beautiful for mid-July especially when it's usually pretty sticky.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007


In the process of cleaning things out from beneath my desk in my little corner of the library (it's not even a cubicle since there's only two walls, soon to be three --we're getting new sexy partition walls, thus the purge) I found the following things.

1 pencil
1 stray M&M
13 stray paperclips
the instructions to my desk phone
1 pair of sandals
an old atlas
4 pieces of matteboard
the paper house
box from the printer with about 60 copies The Archaeologist's Daughter that have never made it home
1 green Seattle Space needle pen where the car goes up and down
1 plastic ax

Also decided to tidy the inside of the desk while I was at it, also found:

letter stencils
stickers with bears and other animals dressed like Christmas angels
2 Garbage Pail Kid Cards
1 cherry BlowPop
glow in the dark alien bookmark
a set of Jack Kerouac readings on cassette tape

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A little rocky on the re-entry here--a million things to do and I have to go back to work tomorrow (insert unenthused yay!)The world feels like a rough and relenting place tonight and I'm anxious for no reason.

Otherwise, a glorious vacation in which included home-cooked breakfasts, naps, big sky, semi-trashy novels, afternoons near the pond, one cookout, one picnic, fireworks, and copious amounts of fried chicken. Also a riverboat casino trip on the Mississippi (one of the last ones operating in Illinois and not for long), which was lovely on the scenery (pelicans!), but which swiftly relieved me of my allocated slot machine money and a little more. My parents love gambling and I wanted to tag along for the ride, but those places make me depressed, mostly older folks loading twenty dollar bill after twenty dollar bill into the machines like zombies.

I did manage, over the course of the week, to finish up all ordering snags in in the bird museum. The second section was the tricky part. I felt like there was some internal logic in the first section, but the second was sort of random, which makes me uneasy. I tend to think better out there in the country somehow (well as country out there as it gets), which is why I'll be going back in August (after a quick detour to Wisconsin).

The reading at Womanmade last Sunday went very well and sold all ten copies of at the hotel andromeda I'd brought along. (Thanks so much for all you lovelies who have ordered it, your copies will be in the mail tomorrow-you're going to love it!)

This weeks projects include getting Orange Girl ready to go in time for the Quimby's reading on Saturday. Also some new collages with the paper I scored both at the craft store in Rockford and some stuff I've swapped, collected, stolen, and otherwise obtained.

next year

Brandi Homan's Two Kinds of Arson reviewed at Rose and Thorn.