Here it is. Like many writers and small presses, we're in DC for AWP. If you don't know what AWP is, it's basically South by Southwest for literary scribblers, a gooey hybrid of small press frenzy and academic hustle.
We'll be high-fiving our friends, harassing our representatives, and eating Peruvian chicken
In the bookfair, we've again joined forces with our old friends at Juked.
Come see us at 529-T!
And because friends are the only thing that makes all the storms worth passing, we'll also be sharing our half of the table with lovely books from Big Lucks, Sator Press, and Called Back Books.
We're totally not sure where we'll be most of the time, by which I mean me, Mike, but I know I'll be seeing Hossannah Asuncion and Kamden Hilliard do toasts with a bunch of slick folks at TOAST, An AWP Offsite Event. This event is raising money for Writers in Baltimore Schools, and MHP is one of the sponsors, so if you're in DC, I hope to clink glasses with you.
Did you feel that cold spot in the room? Did you see the cleaning through the window, another grieving ritual?
In a different neighborhood, the shroud says pamilya, pamilya. Gills itch under the patches of fiberglass, and a city comes alive in each “isolated cell of an animated beehive.”
Hossannah Asuncion’s debut collection of poetry, Object Permanence, maps between all meanings of address. Tangling the softest hands and truest questions, Asuncion holds open every automatic door, suspends all announcements of departure.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths says, “Hossannah Asuncion’s brutal cartography insists that we lose the flesh and fears we use to create borders, especially from the deepest psychic dislocations, desires, and voids within ourselves. I’m in awe of how Asuncion writes inside the nuanced marrow of intimacy.”
And Chiwan Choi says, “The poems in Object Permanence took me back to places I thought I didn’t want to return. Streets and nights and bars and beds. To lovers and death and longing. To loneliness and moments where I thought I was losing grasp of life. But somewhere, sometime, in between the first and the final brutally gorgeous piece, I learned to cherish my pain again.”
You can hear Steve in the backyard, but you should've seen him on the porch.
Bob Seger-loving, Dunkies-sipping, warding off the backslide. His band is The Steamrollers. His wife is Saundra (for now). His daughter is Nancy, and her favorite word is shampoo or loops or whatever friggin suits her.
Through four seasons and a restless survey, Kelly’s Roast Beef and Salisbury Beach, Steve Industry leaks his heart into his harmonica solo.
Hilarious and tender, Ben Hersey’s debut novel disgorges a powerful new vision of contemporary working class New England.
Rachel B. Glaser says, “The Autograph of Steve Industry is a mind-trip between Dickens and Kid Rock.” And Laird Hunt says, “ The Autograph of Steve Industry is set now, and tells a tale of these tricky times, but there are big, older urgencies at work…’”
Does the body want to be a story? Does it always ask for “narrative repair?” What happens when people tell you about your family’s suffering before your suffering tells you about itself?
In this groundrepairing debut book, Christine Friedlander asks, “What if a long pause is all I know?” A stitch-up of poetry, visual collage, bandages, memoir, and anti-advice, Avant Gauze does not fill in. It fills around.
Friedlander rejects the luridity of catharsis to discover gauze: a new form to weave around trauma and gazes and history, a radical redefinition of healing.
"Empathy is about our ability to comprehend the suffering of others. Few books have shaken me into empathy as much as Christine Friedlander’s Avant Gauze. A closer look than most of us have ever had at the poet’s view of blood and gauze, and love for this world. This is a book you will not be lending out. Make them buy their own. I’m holding onto this one for life!"
And Maria Damon says:
"Christine Friedlander explores the false promises of language as a healing element, the gauze that allows us oblique access to something we can infer as evidence of violence—a bruise, a cut, a mangling torque—but it conceals as much as it reveals.
Without revictimizing the viewer or turning violence into abstraction, powerful and, yes, beautiful, illustrations display the linguistic and material gauze that silences, suffocates, heals, lies, taking us deeper into this high-stakes inquiry on which our lives depend."
And the wonderful Carrie Lorig says:
Oh, my love, this book that came to me in the water. This book, Avant Gauze by Christine Friedlander, my love, I don't even know how to begin to describe how it is needed, to describe how it urgently creates, how it insists so deeply on spac ... Avant Gauze is a critical, imperative feeling or a Boiling Forest. A ruthless, compassionate dive into more, a body covered, a body uncovered, a body filled with the inexpressible.
Order this wonderful book now (our first book edited by MHP Assistant Editor Rebekah Hewitt)!
For more preview of what Avant Gauze is all about, be sure to check out:
And thanks to all our friends in Chicago who swung by! Here are some pictures:
Meanwhile, don't sleep on Kamden Hilliard's Distress Tolerance, which just went into its second printing only a few months after its first!
Distress Tolerance is the chapbook for running into your own shadow. It is 7.25x8.5. It is poems that glitch and solidus through form and heart, "funnysad/charming," human-to-bursting, humming with the embodiment and canopy of love and fear and race and money, sparkling with unpolished nails and small fluorescent woodpeckers.
Natalie Eilbert says:
"In Distress Tolerance’s world building, Hilliard infests language itself with a self-aware brutality, and their forms are slanted, stunned, and ripped by a geography wherein 'to mark is to destroy is to court danger.'
Even the destroyed body can flirt with how we’ve ruined one another. But in the wreckage, something—a Yonkers star, a Virginia Slim, a small salmon, a pigeonhole—is glimmering. And it’s remarkable, remarkable."
Click the video below to see and hear two interactive spinning poems from Distress Tolerance!
Back in the ancient days of 2015, we held an open reading period with some categories. It was fun! Here are the open reading period selections!
First off, thank you to everyone who sent us manuscripts! Wow—so much great stuff out there, and it was so great to read work by people we've never read before, as well as discover new work by folks who turned out to be old friends.
And special thanks to Assistant Editor Rebekah Hewitt for her help reading poetry and chapbook manuscripts!
And we also had a satisfying time putting together approximately 4,863,453,629 custom PDF catalog samplers as thanks for everyone's reading fee support. Our reading fees were a choice of $2 to $5, and in turn everyone got to choose three MHP titles to form a 30 to 60 page sampler of excerpts.
Our series selections below will form the bulk of our 2016 catalog, which we couldn't be happier about! Instead of having one "winner" for each series and then a list of "finalists," we decided to embrace the fact this was never a contest and just publish all our favorites as series selections.
We hope to introduce each author and manuscript to you with a special interview series that we'll be running through the rest of this year.
Without further ado, the selections (and a little about the people behind the names of each series):
THE TED HAWKINS INNOVATIVE POETRY SERIES
Object Permanence Hossannah Asuncion
AVANT GAUZE Christine Friedlander
When There is No One and There is Everyone Rex Leonowicz
Ted Hawkins was an American singer and songwriter. He was born in Mississippi, but he did most of his singing as a busker in Venice Beach, California. Once he claimed the rasp in his voice came from the sand in the wind of the beach. Because of a damaged left hand, he wore a glove and did not bend notes.
But it's not like he didn't also live in England, play the Montreux Festival in Switzerland, and have a Top 20 hit in Australia. When Ted Hawkins was fifteen, he stole a leather jacket.
A good choice for your favorite Ted Hawkins song begins "Good morning my darling" and ends "You can be sure you won't suffer no more."
THE ADA LOVELACE INNOVATIVE CHAPBOOK SERIES
Holodeck One Jessica Baer
Distress Tolerance Kamden Ishmael Hilliard
The End Part One MC Hyland
Ada Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron and the inventor of computer programming. When she was very young, she found a dead crow and invented a flying machine.
As an adult, she called herself a Bride of Science. She was addicted to opium, played the harp, ice skated, flirted with Charles Dickens, and ran up debts at the horse track. Her admirers include the Department of Defense and cyberfeminist Sadie Plant.
At the age of thirty-six, dying of uterine cancer and overzealous bloodletting, Ada spent many of her last hours folding and measuring her handkerchief.
THE MAE YOUNG INNOVATIVE PROSE SERIES
Gladness & Other Stories Amy Bergen
Johnnie Mae Young was a pioneer in women's wrestling, competing in the ring for over seven decades and training dozens of wrestlers. She is in the WWE Hall of Fame. One thing she said was "Anybody can wrestle clean, but the heel steals the show."
In Reno, she was arrested for beating up a man who made improper advances. In California, she tried evangelism, but she went back to wrestling.
When Mike Young's dad was a kid, he hung onto Johnnie Mae's bicep, and she pulled him up, because he was her half-brother. That makes Mike Johnnie Mae's nephew.
Her best friend, The Fabulous Moolah, described her this way: "She used to like to go out drinking till all hours, smoking cigars and picking fights with big, bruising men in dark honky-tonks. Shed always laugh later about that expression on their face, a mixture of surprise and shame, just before they hit the floor after shed conked them upside the head."