Few exceptions aside, the most compelling, challenging, absorbing literary art is being produced by small presses and their respective writers. I asked a number of writers, editors, and publishers to send me a list of small press books to look out for in 2016. Below you’ll find my own list, which is informed by Kate Angus, John Cayley, Lauren Cerand, Samuel R. Delany, Rikki Ducornet, Andrew Ervin, Lily Hoang, Sean Lovelace, Scott McClanahan, Hubert O’Hearn, Jane Unrue, and Curtis White.
Below you’ll also find lists from Jeff Bursey, Tobias Carroll, Gabino Iglesias, Janice Lee, Dawn Raffel, Nick Francis Potter, John Reed, Adam Robinson, Michael Seidlinger, Terese Svoboda, Jason Teal, Angela Woodward, and Jacob Wren. All the abovementioned people are small press heroes and great writers in their own right. My thanks to all of them.
Wouldn’t it take an outsider to aptly critique the American scene, the American people, the American culture? Hugh Kenner, a Canadian, did this at the end of a section devoted to Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams in his book A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers. A book dedicated to Guy Davenport. A book on Donald Barthelme’s syllabus.
I am editing fiction for 3am Magazine this summer. Guidelines
A couple of things I would like to add:
Ezra Pound’s poem “Portrait D’ Une Femme” was “rejected by the North American Review in January 1912, according to Pound, on the grounds that ‘I had used the letter ‘r’ three times in the first line, and that it was very difficult to pronounce.'” *
Line: “Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea,”
I don’t edit this way and frown upon those who do; in fact, the more difficult to pronounce, the better.
James Salter: “The secret of making [art] is simple. Discard everything that is good enough.”
I am not looking for toss-offs or something “good enough” for an internet journal. This is 3am Magazine, it’s been here for over thirteen years, that’s centuries in internet time.
If this is brusque, think of the process this way. Roughly 15% of all submissions (print, internet, and otherwise) never get replied to. I am replying to all because I take this seriously.
Here are two shorter stories that I was grateful to be an editor for:
Amber Sparks’s “May We Shed These Human Bodies”
Lance Olsen’s “Robert Smithson”
* Ezra Pound, New Selected Poems and Translations p.287