Tuesday, October 30, 2018

2018/2019 Chapbook Open Reading Guidelines

The 2018/2019 chapbook season open reading starts just after Halloween. . . officially midnight (00:00 November 1).  Here are the guidelines.
—One entry per person.  No reading fee.
—Manuscripts will be read as “blindly” as possible, so please take your name off the title page.
—Manuscripts should have between 16 and 24 pages of poems.
—Email submissions to greybookpress (at) gmail (dot) com.  Subject line: “SUBMISSION - [LAST NAME] - [TITLE]”
—If you’ve had a chapbook published by GBP, you’re not excluded this time.  But if there are multiple GBP veterans among the “finalists,” only one will be considered for publication.
—Send submissions until 11:59 p.m. on November 14, 2018.
—Notifications before the New Year.
—There will be at least one “winner” and one “runner up.”  The “winner” will receive an open-ended publication with 25 author copies.  The other accepted manuscript(s) could be limited editions of 50 (in which case, 15 author copies).

In selecting chapbooks for publication, we usually aim for “range” in making multiple acceptances.  For instance, the favorite/best/most resonant chapbook will be the “winner,” and other selected manuscripts will be . . . different (from the “winning” chapbook and one another). 

If you have any questions not answered/addressed above, let us know at the email listed above.

Good luck!

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

October 2018 Update

I trust everyone is getting ready for Halloween / Samhain / All Saints’ Day / Day of the Dead.  Besides stockpiling booze and costume supplies, consider where you’re going to send that poetry chapbook manuscript.  Because just after we wrap up Halloween, the two-week window will open for chapbook manuscripts.  Details will be posted here in a couple days. 

We’ve been hard at work on prepping a chapbook from Cathleen Allyn Conway that will be coming out next month (around the time the open reading period closes).  In addition, we’ve secured a chapbook from Nava Fader and we’re looking at one or two others.  The publication schedule will start taking shape soon, and will include anything accepted from the open reading. 

See you soon!  Stay tuned!

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The final chapbook from the 2017/2018 Open Reading Season comes from trusty Grey Book Press stalwart Mike Sikkema.  It’s entitled [crawdads skitter on river dildoes].  It’s a fun ride . . . or fun-adjacent.  Each of his GBP chapbooks is a little strange and (strangely) hard to describe, so I asked him to describe it.  Mike wrote that it “was written at a four way stop where closed captions, stage directions, fluxus events, and the lyric poem had a terrible accident.”  The closed captions and stage directions definitely play a part as you can see here:

“[people argue about god in several languages]

[body fluids boil]

[termites fill the IV]

[floorboards creak mixed with flatulence]

[shark teeth rattle in unknown person’s bladder]

[nurses and gentle rain create an alphabet]”

You can pick up a copy at the Titles page.  They come in a rainbow of colors, so mix and match!  And while you’re there, pick up some of his other work, including his collaborative chapbook (with Elisabeth Workman).



In just a few days, we’ll be wrapping up the 2017/2018 Open Reading Season with a chapbook from Mike Sikkema.  This one is titled [crawdads skitter on river dildoes], and I think it’s his best one yet.  (For the record, this will be his third Grey Book Press chapbook, not counting the collaboration with Elisabeth Workman [Terrorism is What Whale] in 2014.)  I think with one more chapbook, we have to change the name of the press to Grey Book Press: Home of Mike Sikkema’s poetry. 

After that, we head into “off cycle” work from Cat Conway . . . and others . . ?  Speaking of, I’m rethinking the Open Readings.  Yes, our next one is still planned for the two weeks that kick off midnight of Halloween, but I think we’ll be limiting selections to two chapbooks to give us more flexibility in choosing other manuscripts through the year.  (Typically, we select four or five and just one or two “off-cycle” manuscripts.  I want to flip that around somewhat.)  I have a couple manuscripts in my email, along with a poet or two I’d like to solicit for future projects.  By October/November, we should have our schedule set through Spring 2019, and by January 2019, we should have a schedule set for most of that year.  The goal, as I see it, is to have a manageable backlog of manuscripts (but, generally, not longer than six to nine months) with lots of flexibility built in. 

Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah . . . see you in a few days!


7/11 Manifesto

The next chapbook of this year’s open reading selections is Under Half-Empty Heaven by Peycho Kanev.  The first line of the opening poem, “Manifesto” (“I grew up in Communism”) hints at a story of sorts that unfolds over the course of the collection, along with a sense helplessness and oppression that the poems deliver . . . but not without flourishes of beauty and hope. There’s a lot to contemplate in these pieces. 

From “Lament”:

“Loud music starts from the house,
cutting the songs of the crickets in half
and the voice of the dead soprano
weighs like a gravestone in the air.
In the night’s darkness I look into
seek nothing,
just to lift this cold beer to my mouth
and listen to the deathly music.”

You can now get a copy on the Titles page. 



As we’ve now blown through the Summer Solstice and Fourth of July (here in the U.S.), it’s just about time for our next chapbook.  This time it’s Under Half-Empty Heaven by Peycho Kanev, and it will arrive next week, which is a little later than planned.  As a result, the next chapbook (from Mike Sikkema) will follow close behind (mid/late August).  And then we’ll be preparing for our next open reading period and an off-cycle collection from Cat Conway.