Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2016!

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.

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A Sentence About a Sentence I Love: An Anthology, of Sorts

A few months ago, in April, to be exact, I started a series of posts entitled “A Sentence About a Sentence I Love” with a sentence about one of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s magnificent sentences. This concentration, or, rather, this obsession with the sentence may have come from my, at the time, recent readings of William Gass’s essays wherein he concentrates much of his attention on the sentence as a primary building block in poetry and prose. Essays by Gass like “The Soul Inside the Sentence,” “The Sentence Seeks Its Form,” “The Architecture of the Sentence,” take as their focus the centrality of the sentence toward the construction of thought, and particularly of thoughts within the parameters of fiction. In “Philosophy and the Form of Fiction,” Gass claims that sentences are “the most elementary instances of what the author has constructed….a moving unity of fact and feeling.” Moreover, sentences

must be sounded, too; it has a rhythm, speed, a tone, a flow, a pattern, shape, length, pitch, conceptual direction. The sentence confers reality upon certain relations, but it also controls our estimation, apprehension, and response to them. Every sentence, in short, takes metaphysical dictation, and it is the sum of these dictations, involving the whole range of the work in which the sentences appear, which accounts for its philosophical quality, and the form of life in the thing that has been made (Fiction and the Figures of Life, 14).

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Rose Metal Press Announces Fifth Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest

Dear Rose Metal Press Supporters:

A reminder for those of you who write short shorts, or know people who do:

Our Fifth Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest submission period begins October 15 and ends December 1, 2010. Our 2010 judge will be Kim Chinquee.

During the submission period, please email your 25–40 page double-spaced manuscript of short short stories under 1,000 words each to us at rosemetalpress@gmail.com either as Word docs or rtf files. Individual stories may have appeared in journals or anthologies, but we ask that collections as a whole be previously unpublished. Please accompany your entry with the $10 reading fee, either via the payment button on our website or by check. We prefer the former, but the latter can be sent to PO Box 1956, Brookline, MA 02446.

Writers of both fiction and nonfiction are encouraged to enter, and we are open to short shorts on all subjects and in all styles. We hope you’ll check out the books of our previous contest winners, including, most recently How Some People Like Their Eggs by Sean Lovelace (selected by Sherrie Flick) and We Know What We Are by Mary Hamilton (selected by Dinty W. Moore).

The winner and finalists will be announced by February 2011. The winning chapbook will be published in July 2011 in a limited edition of 300 copies, with an introduction by the contest judge. As with all of our previous winners, we will be letterpressing the covers of the winning chapbook by hand at the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Massachusetts.

Thank you as always for your continued support, and we look forward to reading your work!

Sincerely,
Abby & Kathleen
Editors
Rose Metal Press

Check out the previous winning chapbooks on our website by clicking on the covers below:

A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness includes our 1st winning chapbook, The Sky Is a Well by Claudia Smith, as well as the chapbooks of 3 other finalists.

In the Land of the Free, by Geoffrey Forsyth.

How Some People Like Their Eggs, by Sean Lovelace.

We Know What We Are by Mary Hamilton.

Happy Birthday, Big Other!

With sites (especially blogs, I’d imagine) coming and going, resembling fairweathered friends with their weighty promises and concomitant lack of follow-through, and with evanescence and disposability, perhaps, being two of the internet’s primary characteristics, an internet year must be to an in-real-life year as what a dog year is to a human year. But it’s not for these reasons I’m happy to say that Big Other is celebrating its first year today.

A year ago, thinking about how frustrating it was to find a place that invited dialogue (and by “dialogue” I mean the concept formalized best, for me, by Paulo Friere, that is, a nexus that allows, encourages, fosters communication characterized by respect and equality, where diversity of thought is encouraged, where understanding and learning are privileged over mere judgment, although conclusions and sound and informed discernment, that is, sound judgment, and maybe even wisdom, may, in fact, result); thinking about how many blogs encourage stereotypes, discord, stupidity, inanity, macho posturing, and self-reflexiveness, blogs that are havens of groupthink, blogs that are really just another kind of mirror, mirror, on the wall, blogs that are really just digitized lint in an electronic navel; thinking about how I wanted something different from all that noise, I launched Big Other with the idea of it being what I, in some kind act of faith, called “an online forum of iconoclasts and upstarts focusing its lens on books, music, comics, film, video and animation, paintings, sculpture, performance art, and miscellaneous nodes and sonic booms,” a place to “explore how we are made and unmade by images, language, and sound; examine computer-mediated worlds; and dance along with various tumults, genre- and other border-crossings, trespassings, transgressions, and whatever, nevermind.” And I have to say that I haven’t been disappointed. Big Other has become all those things for me, and so much more, and by “so much more,” I mean, it has truly become a conduit for meeting many incredible people in person, and so, I really can’t wait to see what comes next for us.

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Buffalo ArtVoice Flash Fiction Archive

There’s been some new pieces lately so I wanted to refresh this.

Mark Doten    “The Spider and Salt Hearts: A Fragment”

Sean Lovelace  “My Identity was Stolen”

Amber Sparks  “May We Shed These Human Bodies”

Rusty Barnes    “Something Like Love”

Thomas Cooper  “The Primary Reason”

In order of appearance:

Ravi Mangla  “Souvenirs”

JA Tyler “Inconceivable Wilson”

John Madera “Was What it Was”

Scott Garson “Buffalo Gymnopédie”

Nicolle Elizabeth “Bean Counting” and “I Do All My Own Stunts”

Peter Zinn “You’ve Got to Feel Bad for Hardware Stores”

Neely Terrell “E”

Ken Sparling “The Worst Day of My Life”

Kim Chinquee “Soldier”

Matt Bell “Hali, Halle, Hamako”

Eric Beeny “Laundry Day”

Lydia Copeland  “She Turns Out the Lights”

Interview with Ken Sparling

Sean Lovelace interviews Ken Sparling for Big Other

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My Favorite Books from 2009 (in alphabetical order):

I’ve read over 120 books in 2009, and by the time the year is up I’ll have reviewed over fifty. At the risk of being redundant, I’ve put together a list of the books I thought were this year’s best. I’ve also included links to the ones I reviewed. But before that, I should mention some great books that weren’t published this year: Eugene Lim’s Fog & Car, Eugene Marten’s Waste, Mary Caponegro’s first three books, Ken Sparling’s Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Lavinia, and Michael Kimball’s The Way the Family Got Away and Dear Everybody. And then there’s Shane Jones’s The Failure Six, David Shields’s Reality Hunger, and Ander Monson’s Vanishing Point, all of which won’t be released until next year. By the way, while the so-called major presses churned out a whole lot of fluff I did enjoy John Haskell’s Out of My Skin and Anne Michaels’s The Winter Vault. Oh, and I should mention The Complete Cosmicomics, by Italo Calvino which  is playful and inventive in that inimitably Calvino way. Each chapter is a combination of pseudo-science (as far as I can tell) and fantasy—a weird mishmash of fable and fact. They sound like entries from an encyclopedia sometimes, albeit a whimsical one. This was the best way to close out the year. So, besides beautifully-crafted language, eddying narratives, evocative imagery, and provocative characters—whose quirks, thoughts, and comings and goings remain with me—what the books on this list have in common is that they were published by independent presses.
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