Of course I wanted to know more about how the press came to be and why they decided to run this contest. See my interview with founder and editor Danny Rosen and graphic designer Kyle Harvey, plus info on how to submit below.
HOPKINSON: How/why was Lithic Press originally started? Who is your target reader audience? What type of work are you looking for?
ROSEN: Lithic Press arose directly from my friendship with Jack Mueller, a great poet, a man with a wide mind, vast experience and a big presence. It was an invigoration to hang out. He was a poet in the heart of the word, one of the few constant makers I’ve known. At the counter in my kitchen, on the edge of the mountains in the veranda in his yard, he drew cartoons with pointed, insightful, often acerbic captions; he invented the revolutionary airfish, horizontal tornadoes, wooden tears, and, of course, the screw worm. Thousands of drawings on bar napkins, coasters, 3X5 cards, bookmarks, license plates, paper plates stacked up on his kitchen table and all about his house, my house, and anywhere else he frequented. One early morning, in a rapid primate fit of action, we put a pile of them together, I took it to Kinko's. That was, Whacking the Punch Line, and Lithic Press was born. At first I only thought of making books of Jack's work, but slowly a chappie or two for some friends came along. I did a book a year for a few years, then I met Kyle and the press took off. Kyle is a point source of energy, a real Sun. He is a man who gets things done. We make six to ten books a year now.
Jack, Wendy Videlock, Art Goodtimes, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, and I spent lots of time together from around ’04 until he died last year. They were hightened moments of existence. Energy levels were up. The nights were short. We had lots to say. We spoke at the same time. We heard everything that was said. Poems were the core of the conversation, along with the rest of the universe… I brought the stars into the living room. Wendy had her magik with a k, Art, a planet unto himself, dripped earth all about, RoseMer bared her burning heart. Jack provoked all soft spots, questioned any certainty, found solid connections out of thin air. He was a toe dancer. He spoke often of Olson, projective verse, obey emerging form. Bring all learning into moments of being open to receive and when the poem strikes learn from it as it goes and let it go of its own accord and when it’s good it's an earthquake in the brain and the urge strikes – to do it again. That's the kind of work I look for: the work is the thing, language is paid close attention, an internal visceral trajectory emanates, abstractions are perceptible. I am more attracted to conversations bluebirds have among themselves than with how beautiful they are. Everything is beautiful. I like writing from the inside out. I don't want to be told. I don't want much explanation. I want to be taken for a ride and get off at a new station. That may say something about our target reader as well. This is the kind of work that rarely shows up. We generally have not been open to submissions at all and have operated on an invitation only basis for finding manuscripts. But just the other day in our ongoing conversation Kyle and I saw the possibility of another chappie contest, within a few minutes the announcement designed and ready to roll and here we are. Last time we did this we met you, Trish!
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
HARVEY: There are a lot of great lit mags and journals right now. While I still prefer the tactile experience of holding a book and love reading some of the work published in the classic print journals--Poetry, Paris Review, etc-- I'm most excited by the online lit mag scene. The possibilities online offer mags/journals to take risks they might otherwise shy away from. Some of my favorites are Dream Pop, Reality Beach, Apartment Poetry, DIAGRAM, Sixth Finch, BOAAT, Pinwheel, A Dozen Nothing, Souvenir Lit, Dreginald' I could go on and on. Recently, here at Lithic we received 5 or 6 back issues of Positive Magnets which is edited by Collin Schuster. I've been enjoying reading those' lots of really interesting work' Hoa Nguyen, Patrcik Dunagan, Marcia Douglas, SotÃ¨re Torregian, Keith Jones. So much to read, so little time!
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
HARVEY: Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. They should be sent as a Word Document or PDF Attachment.
DEADLINE: April 30, 2018
PRIZE: Winner will be announced August 1 and will receive $250 and 25 author copies of their chapbook upon publication
FORMS: Chapbook length collection of poems