Tinfish Press is a nonprofit print journal and press coming back after a ten year haitus with a new editor Jaimie Gusman taking the reigns in 2020. They are specifically looking for poems and essays that are experimental while considering the themes of rage and hope.
I wanted to know more about this press and what they are up to, so I asked soon to be Editor-in-Chief Jaimie Gusman a few questions to find out. See my interview with Gusman and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about Tinfish.
GUSMAN: Tinfish Press is a nonprofit publisher, established in 1995 by Susan M. Schultz, who is a poet, critic, and professor at the University of Hawai’i. The press is dedicated to publishing experimental poetry of the Pacific. I’ll be taking over the editorship in 2020.
HOPKINSON: How/why was Tinfish originally started?
GUSMAN: I wanted Susan to answer this question, since she founded the press. She said:
“I started Tinfish in 1995, first as a journal, then as a chapbook publisher, and finally as a book publisher around the turn of the century. The purpose was two-fold, both to show that there is experimental poetry in the Pacific, and also to encourage its production. That this poetry is different from the Language-poetry that was then seen as experimental almost goes without saying, but added significantly to conversations about language, form, and content. Much experimental poetry in the Pacific is multi-lingual, post- or anti-colonial, and rather directly political. It focuses on language without asserting that language is its primary subject. The aim was also to concentrate on method rather than ethnic, racial or other category. That permitted conversations to occur between poets who had not known of each other’s work, and might not have seen themselves as embarked on similar projects. Since 1995, the press has expanded its purview to include work that engages with Buddhism and translation from Chinese and Japanese, while retaining its sense of home in Hawai`i.”
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
GUSMAN: I want to say, everyone, of course. Tinfish books are often taught at universities, internationally, in both creative writing and critical courses. Readers who are interested in the decolonization of language and its possibilities will find our writers’ work exciting. The journal has always pushed the boundaries in both form and content, and we hope to continue to do that for the next issue (the first in a decade).
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
GUSMAN: Unlike other journals who want only the best of the best, we do have a niche. We are looking for the best work that uses/misuses language in all the necessary ways. We want work that creates conversation and inquiry, work that tells urgent stories, especially those rooted in the Pacific. For this upcoming issue of the journal, we are specifically looking for poetry and short essays that engage with the theme of RAGE + HOPE. We anticipate submissions will be political, engaged with the theme, while honoring our mission to publish experimental work.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
GUSMAN: Right now we need non-binary writers. We need women, LQBTQA, POC. We need writers who feel connected to the Pacific region. I love seeing work that looks and feels like a surprise and tears at my gut.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
GUSMAN: I’ve always loved Guernica for print and DIAGRAM for online. However, there really are gems everywhere. Container isn’t a lit mag/journals, but I have to say how much I love what they are doing by creating beautiful text-art objects. They works feels substantial and special. Susan likes publishers Ugly Ducking Presse and Vagabond, which is out of Australia and Japan.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
DEADLINE: September 1, 2019
THEME: Rage and Hope
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: poetry, essays