Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 2017 Update

We’re hip-deep in the dog days of Summer when we’d traditionally been inactive but, right now, we’re very active.  Just quietly.  And, now, we’re sneaking up to tell you our next chapbook is coming out . . . in a week.  Hitchhiking Through the Apocalypse by Howie Good is the next entry in our 2016/2017 Chapbook Season.  This one quickly follow’s last month’s chapbook from Kolleen Carney and an onslaught of orders that coincided with its release.  Similarly, Howie’s chapbook will be followed very quickly by a chapbook from Jessie Janeshek (late August). 

Looking further ahead, we’ve recently added an off-cycle chapbook from E. Kristin Anderson.  That one will come out in the Fall . . . likely around the time of this year’s open reading period (November).  Beyond that . . . planning for AWP Tampa (yes, we’ll be there).  More details on that as they develop.  In the meantime . . . keep an eye out for our upcoming chapbooks!

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Close FIre

The second chapbook of our 2016/2017 season is Your Hand Has Fixed the Firmament by Kolleen Carney. We were attracted to this collection because it’s personal and accessible, but it’s not overly earnest or “heartfelt.” It has weight. Kolleen’s verse—full of Southern California touchstones—plays on the oft-explored tropes of “relationship” poetry and takes them in different directions. Her poetry is full of emotional trapdoors, and you can explore them. 

From “You Said the Fire Was Closer Than You Thought”:

“Seeds had been waiting for years
for their moment
fire opened life
the promise of new growth
in fifty years that hill will be lush again
it just takes a long time
did you know that”

Available now under Titles page!

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The 2016/2017 chapbook season continues!

After kicking things off last month with Jennifer Martelli’s After Bird, we’re getting ready for our next release . . . Your Hand Has Fixed the Firmament by Kolleen Carney.  The “plan” for the season was a chapbook every six weeks or so.  The appearance of After Bird in mid-April suggested the next release around the beginning of June.  However, as we will be on vacation around that time, we’re going to target Your Hand for mid-June. 

Following that, to keep the schedule from slipping too far past the Summer (when, historically, we avoided publishing anything), we’ll have a chapbook by Howie Good in late July and then Jessie Janeshek by late August/early September.


We’re finally kicking off the 2016/2017 season with the winning chapbook, Jennifer Martelli’s After Bird.  This collection really drew us in, how the narrative of growing up in the Sixties becomes entwined with the fate of Kitty Genovese, who was stabbed to death outside her apartment in Queens in 1964.  There were dozens of witnesses who heard the struggle and did nothing to help. 

There are personal vignettes of a young girl’s relationship with her mother mixed with poems about Ms. Genovese.  Sometimes the sense of danger in one timeline blends with the other.  The young girl imagines being a woman.  Images are shared and the poems seem to inform one another.  Everyone has a lesson to learn.

From “Magical Thinking in the Time of Lyndon Johnson”

“Don’t walk in spike heels in the Village: the ankle bones will hit high notes.

Don’t dye your black hair that color red: you’ll bleed soon.

Don’t wash your white blouse with bleach: it will yellow, grow curled fingernails.”

We’re really excited to start off with this great chapbook.  You can order a copy now from the Titles page . . . you won’t be sorry.


We live in exciting times . . . but, right now, not in a good way. 

Friday we witnessed the inauguration of a new president, a peaceful transition of power.  That evening, we had a poetry reading here in Tallahassee to engage in the growing creative “resistance” movement.  We put together a limited-edition chapbook featuring poems from each of the five readers (Kaveh Akbar, Sandra Simonds, Michael Rothenberg, Paige Lewis, and Jay Snodgrass).  The money from sales is going to be split between Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center.  We have a few copies left in the store, so get a copy while you can!  (It’s called Poets Fight Back!  A Program Guide.)

Along the same lines is the second chapbook from our very own Scott Sweeney (me).  Actually completed in (and dated for) 2016, it’s entitled stasis and includes one long piece broken into 19 sections, which were carved out of a much larger work.  The half-digest-sized book was formatted using a Seventies-era typewriter.  Each of the 25 copies features a hand-stamped cover.  Comes in a variety of colors!


We surrender,
feel the grey wind
shake loose another storm.

Sun goes into hiding
and we’re huddled
in this target-rich environment.”


The results are in! 

All of the finalist manuscripts for the 2016/2017 “Season” Open Reading were read by both Ann Dernier and me, and our findings were much the same.  This year’s “winner” is Jennifer Martelli and her awesome chapbook, After Bird.  That will be the first one of the bunch, slated for this Spring.  Following that will be chapbooks by Kolleen Carney and Howie Good, as well as this year’s GBP alumnus finalist (and previous “winner”) Jessie Janeshek!

I’m sorry I couldn’t take more, but four felt like the right number, given our established publishing schedule and special projects (semi-secretly) in the works. 

I want to thank everyone who submitted this year, sending your manuscripts out into the Void.  (Grey Book Press = The Void)

This is going to be a great season.  We’ll announce more details as we set things up.  There are multiple things bubbling, including readings and regional events. 

See you soon!