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Our reading month

We received about a hundred and fifty manuscripts in June, for which thank you. They have all been read once; over the next two weeks, I’ll read them again and draw up a list of finalists by the end of July. (Rejection letters will go out by the end of  July.) Out of the finalists, I’ll choose the manuscripts for our 2016-17 list.

The manuscripts are incredibly strong this year, very varied, very interesting. Many demonstrate a compelling deftness with form. In content, manuscripts ranged from the very lyric to the confessional to the conceptual. The balance this year was heavily to poetry—about two thirds—so if you have a prose chapbook manuscript, do consider sending it to us next June.

However the list ends up, it has been a real pleasure to get acquainted with your writing, and it will be very, very difficult to decide whose work will best fit our plans for the coming year(s). (You can read about why I limit our list here.) Thank you.

late June at Dickinson House

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AS BREATH IN WINTER, by William Reichard

William Reichard | AS BREATH IN WINTER | MIEL 2015William Reichard | AS BREATH IN WINTER | MIEL 2015

 

Reading William Reichard’s As Breath In Winter on a hot June day in England is rather like eating ice cream. That delicious ice cool cover; inside such visceral, urgent poems!

He had me at the opening line of the opening poem: ‘I have come all this way to see you.’ I wanted to know all his tribulations, all the aching and struggle. And then life and shadows and all our limitations get in the way: it is ‘a clumsy dance.’

Reichard knows how to nail a neat first line. I also loved the opening of ‘Oculus’: ‘To see, she opens her body’. As a woman who writes, and who is acutely aware of how the state of her body so affects her ability to see, as in, write, this image completely resonated with me.

Reichard gives us a stack of items for the librarian—the precious, the impossible and the poignant; a stranded rocket on the launch pad and a stranded conversation: ‘We finally run out of/things to say’; and the beautiful understatement of ‘There’s much to say about everyday life’: all held me as I travelled with the poet ‘through time, fires [and] houses buried.’

Carol Rowntree Jones for MIEL

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Buy As Breath in Winter now, or support the press with a subscription and get a whole year of books!

28 pp.

11 x 17 cm 
staple-bound & wrapped in a paper band
printed & bound in Nottingham, UK, by Tompkin Press Co., Ltd.

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Open reading 2015

We will read work in June for chapbooks to add to our 2016 list. You can send work to us via Submittable. (Note that we are on Belgian time, which means our June 1 may begin before yours, and our June 30 may end before yours.) See here for more information.

For our 2015 reading period, there will be no reading fee. If you would like to make a gesture of support for the press, please take a look at the books in our shop and purchase one. (You can use the code IHEARTMIEL2015 for 30% off from June 1 – 30, Belgian time.) All work will be given consideration regardless of purchase.

Our 2016 list already contains three art chapbooks, two poetry chapbooks, and two nonfiction chapbooks. We are looking to add four more chapbooks: two of poetry (of any kind), two of prose (fiction, nonfiction, hybrid, cross-discipline, multigenre). Reading the work we have already published is the best way to see whether your work would be a good fit for MIEL. There are sample texts in each book page in the shop, as well as many sample poems on our website. You will find formatting guidelines below, under ‘prose’ and ‘poetry’. If your work crosses these genres, just pick one. At this time we are only adding to our microseries list by solicitation.

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We encourage women writers, non-binary writers, trans writers, and writers of color to send work.

We are looking for work that is experimental or conceptual without a disregard for embodiment.

We are looking for work that is socially aware and alive.

We are looking for work that feels like springtime.

We would love to see work about faith, religion, science, nature, history, power, philosophy, politics, art.

We like writing by W.G. Sebald, Toni Morrison, Susan Sontag, Amy Leach, Karen Tei Yamashita, Maggie Nelson, Ander Monson, Anne Boyer, Simone White. We like Carolyn Forché’s book BLUE HOUR and Julie Otsuka’s THE BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC. We like Alberto Ríos’ writing on ‘magical realism’. We like Mary Ruefle’s essays, especially “On Theme”.

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Thank you for considering sending your work to MIEL.

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Rachel Moritz on HOW ABSENCE

Today, Rachel Moritz—whose How Absence is being bound now and is shipping as we bind—writes for us about the process of making these poems and of forming this book, and about motherhood.

A strange imagination

How Absence began as a series of poems written in the first years of my son’s life.

My son began as an idea, he was a process I undertook “to have a baby,” then a product of my body, then he was himself.

“…a strange imagination can do as much as the Heavens can…” –Jane Sharp, midwife

Rachel Moritz: HOW ABSENCE

“The Figure Explained: Being a Dissection of the Womb with the usual manner how the Child lies therein, near the time of its Birth.” From The Midwives Book, or the Whole Art of Midwifry Discovered, by Jane Sharp, published 1671

 

While I was pregnant, I craved language about childbirth beyond the endless online articles or parenting books suddenly entering my world.

I was drawn to this midwifery manual of the late Renaissance, its textural and archaic words: the placenta a cake, the ovaries Seed vessels, the umbilical cord a Navel String. And its central illustration: a flower between the pregnant woman’s legs, her annotated, flayed womb as she stares out at us.

This woman is not the true subject of the illustration, though she contains it: both process (‘near the time of its Birth’) and location (‘the Womb, the Child therein’). I wrote often with this image, drafts of poems that never settled.

***

When my son was in the world, his presence felt like a nearness submerging me into cycle: sleep and waking, day and another day, being with him and being without him.

My suspension in the nearness of early motherhood (near to him/near to his body) also felt oddly simultaneous with absence:

Absence from self (a former intimacy vanishing instantly with his birth).

Absence from the other half of my son’s biological material (his conception through a donor we’ll know little about until my son turns 18).

Absence/removal from time as an axis I perceived myself moving along with (seemingly) clear direction.

In its place: foreground, blur, repetition.

Rachel Moritz: HOW ABSENCE

***

As my son grew beyond the first early months, time also seemed to warp. It sped up. Physical sensations, moments of image, days, months: everything felt like it was hurtling toward me at breakneck speed. His presence was the new calendar, one that, before, had never felt so unrelenting as well as so swift.

Is one’s sense of time more intimate under the nearness of living with a young child or is it simply that one’s sense of space has shifted? How all things shrink around the perimeter of a person (hood) not your own.

Rachel Moritz: HOW ABSENCE

 ***

In some sense, what’s transformed most since my son’s birth is my relationship to time + space.

Present, Presence

These two locales (what else do we live by?) directly affecting my imaginative life: access, energy, scope, focus.

The poems in How Absence are one set of frames or distillations around shifts in self that continue the longer I’m in motherhood, or, I suppose, it’s in me.

Rachel Moritz: HOW ABSENCE

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PLURALITY DECREE

Celina Su - Plurality Decree - MIEL 2015

Celina Su’s microseries chapbook, Plurality Decree, is now available for pre-order.  The third chapbook in our microseries, Plurality Decree contains three poems that comment on uses of space, question ideas of public and private, and insist that their readers look at what is often kept ‘sanitized’ and invisible. Su’s poems reflect the frantic multiplicity of life in a time where laws, documents, decrees, texts both official and subversive, scientific objects, maps, and the possibility of individual actions/inaction seem to overlap one another more and more.

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The microseries chapbooks are 10 cm square; covers are printed inside and out in full color by the wonderful Tompkin Press in Nottingham, UK. They’re ideal for presents and fit inside standard greeting cards. Long live the postal services of the world! Order here.

Dimensions: 10 cm square
Printing: full color
Binding: staple
Pages: 16
Edition: 100 (25 to writer)

Celina Su - Plurality Decree - MIEL 2015

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HOW ABSENCE, by Rachel Moritz

Rachel Moritz | HOW ABSENCE | April 2015 | MIEL

Rachel Moritz | HOW ABSENCE | April 2015 | MIEL

Rachel Moritz | HOW ABSENCE | April 2015 | MIELEvery time I set out with a new manuscript—heading for the precipice marked make a book—although I have the accumulated knowledge and abilities gained from the process of all the books that have come before, it feels like starting over from scratch. I have to remind myself of, or relearn, order-of-operations (where to cut first? Where to fold first?). I have to refamiliarize myself with the mathematics of Illustrator and my printer and the persnickety paper cutter. And this means trial and error, and frustration, a little panic (oh my god will this ever work?!), and, eventually, the satisfaction of seeing the book come together as I imagined.

How Absence was no different; in fact, it is an ideal case-study of this process. Everything that could go wrong in the printing process has gone wrong: printing errors and supply chain blockages, miscommunications and undelivered goods. Math errors. Misestimations. Last-minute changes.

This morning, I folded the first of the 140 covers (there are 120 + 20 marked e.a., for Rachel—édition d’artiste), and I trimmed the green endpapers and nested the textblock into them, and then these into the cover, and it was, suddenly, real. Here is How Absence, the latest book from our 2015 list. Rachel’s poems are mysterious and elegant, like dreams. The language moves through them with the sureness and care that has been a hallmark of Rachel’s writing since I first encountered it (more than ten years ago).

How Absence is also available as part of our limited-edition motherhood bundle, a collection of chapbooks which deal with motherhood, child(ren), and the interrelation of parenting and art-making. Of course, if you’d like to receive books like How Absence in your mailbox all year, you might consider one of our subscription options. Thank you for your support!

 

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Coming soon: HOW ABSENCE (Rachel Moritz)

Two proof covers of Rachel Moritz's chapbook HOW ABSENCE, which feature an anatomical drawing of a woman on them.

Rachel Moritz’s How Absence (now available for pre-order; shipping early April—or subscribe, for a whole year of books) has been praised by Sarah Vap as “a stunning collection that lurches with open arms, seemingly in slow motion, seemingly quietly, and seemingly with a surfeit of pause, pause, pause—toward her infant son’s creation, and toward her own mind’s creations. The language here, like the infant’s making, like everything that’s invisible, (like absence), becomes the immensely weighty presence: ‘Something transparent, we know/ still contains.'”

The poems in How Absence, like shards of pale pottery from an archaeological dig, tell us about what time does to human beings: all we are, all we make and do, and how it falls into dust. But Moritz, in the face of time, offers us not despair but the mercy of genetics and the terrible beauty of the fine line between the born and the dying.

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24 pp.
21 x 12.5 cm
French flaps
Cotton paper cover
Green endpapers
Hand-bound in Belgium by MIEL
Edition of 120
Printed in Nottingham, UK, by Tompkin Press Co., Ltd.