111O/7 came out in May, but did it get enough fanfare then? No. How could it have? It is really the sweetest issue of the journal so far (although I do tend to think that about every one as it comes out), and it’s gotten great feedback from everyone who’s received it. The main thing I hear, besides appreciation for the writing and photo? I love the size. This issue of the journal is small. Not just small in the usual way—one image (a great photo of a school, by Andrew Schroeder), one piece of prose (a pair of indices by Sarah Ann Winn), and ten poems—but small physically. It can almost fit in one hand. Maybe if your hands are bigger than mine it would completely fit. And the poems in particular are atomic, brittle, shard-like.
Well…just a few of them, and they’re all fictional. We should definitely welcome them. After all, what do we know of that shadowy nation, Germany? Our textbooks and philosophers have little to say. It is a land shrouded in mists, populated by men and women whose customs are unfamiliar and whom we should, were we ever to encounter one of these marvellous creatures, surely find strange and bizarre. In the fragments that comprise Germania, George Szirtes provides us with the most astute psychological, geographical, anthropological, and theological survey of Germany yet. Should the place be one day proven to exist, this is your guide.
Germania is available for pre-order now, with an estimated ship date of September 23.
Jonterri Gadson’s chapbook Interruptions is part of our microseries. It contains three poems—two short poems, one an excerpt from a long poem—which walk the tenuous line between safety and danger. The excerpt from the long poem, “Everything Else Requires My Approval”, is stunning in its despair and its sense of the imminence of danger in the speaker’s son’s life; it is also stunning in its ferocity and love, in the speaker’s desire to protect that son. Here are a few lines.
and then I will take in too much air or not enough of it too much then not enough of it / not enough and then too much like drowning me taking and taking and giving / too much of it away while my mother listens and this world without my son in it / forms itself around her. If he ever goes thro… how dare the air join us here in this new world / where there is room for nothing but air and his absence his absence and the cruelty of air / to move through him then stop
You can find out more about Jonterri on her author page, and pre-order the chapbook here.
This morning was spent designing Jonterri Gadson’s chapbook. This afternoon was all re-reading of work that came in during our open reading period in June—the hardest part of running a tiny press, because reading lots of good work inevitably makes me want to publish everyhing, when realistically we can only publish a few chapbooks, maybe a book, every year. So that’s to say I’ve been sending out rejection letters again, and I’m sorry about that. Writers, rest assured—and I bet this applies to most small presses—that very often the rejection has nothing to do with how ‘good’ your work is (‘good’ meaning ‘publishable’). It has everything to do with the material circumstances of being a small press, wanting to do right by our authors (meaning having the energy and means to promote their books, not to mention design and bind them) with the limited resources I have. To the twenty or so of you who are still waiting to hear, I’m aiming to finish re-reading and deciding by the end of next week. In the meantime, please enjoy this view of our garden.
Dear London: happy to say we’ll be with you for FREE VERSE, the (free!) London Poetry Book Fair, on September 6. We’ll have lots of books, lots of magazines, and it’s quite possible we’ll have new broadsides as well. Come up and see us! Make us smile!
We’re now deep in our yearly reading period, and there are a good number of manuscripts in the inbox. It feels like birthday mornings to open up Submittable and see what’s appeared overnight (thank you!). But now I remember what the hardest thing is—it’s the fact that all these manuscripts are competent. Many are very strong. Almost all of them that I’ve read so far seem like they are of publishable quality.
But we have room for maybe three, four, maximum five manuscripts next year. Which means that ‘publishable’ and ‘competent’ and even ‘really good’ aren’t enough; which means that when I send out rejection notes, they don’t mean your work is no good; they mean we just can’t publish everything we like. (That’s a real downer. I get really grabby and wanty when I read your work, building air-castles in which I can publish it all!)It’s hard to read your brilliant work and then to have to be practical about money (what we can afford to pay to print/how well we think the thing will sell compared to that printing cost) and time (how many books we can truly publicize and send for reviews and pack orders of). But it’d be a disservice to you and to our other writers and artists if we weren’t practical like that.
All this to say thanks for sending your work and for making June such an exciting time. I’m aiming to have read all the manuscripts by the end of July, and rejections will start going out in August (it always takes a while as I winnow through everything over and over), with the aim of notifying everyone by September this year. (If there’s a sudden influx of work right at the end of the month, this timing might change a bit.)
Lisa Solomon, whose monograph Hand/Made was published by MIEL in 2013, has this to say about the process of publishing us:
I think all visual artists in their heart of hearts want a monograph published of their work. I think most of us think this is an unattainable pipe dream, but MIEL made it a reality for me. From start to finish all my discussions with the press were so lovely, and they made the process SO easy. In fact almost too easy. Éireann had clear and wonderful ideas about how she wanted the book to look, function and what she wanted it to cover. I trusted her completely as an editor and creative director – and honestly it is not easy for me to relinquish visual control. In the end I’m so glad I was able to trust MIEL’s vision because it is an object in itself that I am honored to hold and have. MIEL helped place my work in a new context and opened my eyes to connections between works, colors, and ideas that were not apparent to me before. In reality I was responsible for almost nothing – mainly supplying images and contacts for people who might write on my work. The requests made of me were so nominal, and done with care – timelines and due dates and edits were so so easy. The entire time I felt MIEL was invested in my work and was dedicated to making something that we all could be proud of. And that is a most lucky place to be. Do I sound like I’m gushing? Because it should. I am gushing. We need more presses whose tag lines are: difficult, interesting, intelligent, deeply felt.