The Bear Who Ate the Stars Available for Pre-Order!

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The Bear Who Ate the Stars, the new chapbook by Split Lip’s Uppercut Chapbook Award winner Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, is now available for pre-order. Visit Split Lip Press to purchase and receive your copy by November 1st. Want a taste? Scroll down and read “Expected Gestures,” which first appeared in Split Lip Magazine’s issue 8.

Expected Gestures

From house to house we drag

our tired, unlived-in things:

the half-filled photo albums

where our childhoods twin,

Midwest with Eastern European,

your flattened fields of corn

where thunderstorms roamed wildly

down from a gunpowder sky

over pale plains, and my black

earth-born wheat, growing far above

where I could reach; and then

there are those unforgotten relics

full of brittle petals, guiltless poems,

and lingering smells of lovers we lost

or regret or naively thought

we loved. From room to room

we carry each other, our bodies:

these weary, changeless things.

You watch the same woman

unveil her same nakedness:

her aging, growing curves;

her hipbone, less prominent now,

still casting a kind of dark, sharpness

over thigh and dip of stomach,

over those places you’ve overlooked.

                                                         Here –

can we still find the curtainless

windows where we will make love

so late only streetlamps keep witness;

the goose bumps around my ankles

and your chin, their suggestion

of saccharine, grain-like stubble,

finding its way to the surface; and

the steeping stairs, where we will stumble

after too much wine or too little sleep?

Here, can a freshly scratched

outline of a shoulder blade remind us

of beauty: the sliver of daytime

sent to highlight bones or

the living room walls where

our future children will paint?

Or are we, in leaving one place

for another, creating more duffels

to lug from house to swollen house,

ignoring our unremembered,

                                                      but God-like things.

Love & Sundries by Nicholas Reading is Now Available!

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Split Lip Press is super excited to bring you Love & Sundries by poet Nicholas Reading. The book haunts, bites and sometimes breaks bone. If you dig visual and observant, narrative poetry, then this chapbook is for you. According to Keith Montesano, author of Ghost Lights and Scoring the Silent Film, Reading writes in “the hard-bitten spirit of Richard Hugo,” that the poems “tether themselves to hope amidst the elegiac emptiness of miles of flat land and peripheral characters who turn out to mean much more…”

Reading is a solid portrait of Split Lip’s aesthetic: poems full of grit and hurt that can, at times, get a little weird in the best way possible. Check out the sample below, and pardon the double-spacing we have no control over. YOUR BIRTHDAY SAYS FORGET YOU is one of our favorites. Once it’s one of your favorites, you can buy it HERE. Pick up a copy and support the poet.

Find out more about Reading at his WEBSITE. He’s a pretty big deal. Just ask him.

 

YOUR BIRTHDAY SAYS FORGET YOU

 

Maybe you found a street you didn’t know of

before. Maybe you were drunk and didn’t remember.

 

I hope the street said, Hello. And I expect you said

the same. And the lined streets reminded you of age

 

and that time when you were younger and shot

pigeons out of the sky with acuity. Complements

 

came by the bushel. Some said you were the best shot

since Liberty Valance. Look it up. Find a horse.

 

Treks we take are epic. A sunrise when we aren’t ready.

A moon when we’re just getting started. And sometimes

 

we’ll find a moment to be still. A nice creek to scramble in.

A very dark morning in Siberia. Really, nothing makes sense.

 

What life do we remember? I suggest to forget the memories

and create a future again and again and again tomorrow.

Poet Michael Meyerhofer Signs on with Split Lip Press

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Split Lip Press is excited to announce it will release What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, a poetry collection by Michael Meyerhofer, author of Leaving Iowa, Blue Collar Eulogies and Damnatio Memoriae. The book is tentatively scheduled to release in April 2015.

Split Lip Press is punk rock publishing, and to amplify that message further, the press recruited poet Michael Meyerhofer because of lines such as: “Somebody said we should / vandalize the coach’s Camaro, / suggested we stop for shaving cream / and syrup and maybe toilet paper / to toss through the dark biceps / of the cedars wreathing his backyard.” Split Lip is the type of press that would suggest picking up shaving cream, syrup and toilet paper for a night of vandalism.

“I’m blown away,” says Editor-in-Chief J. Scott Bugher. “I’ve been a fan of Mike’s for a number of years, and his new manuscript kicks every kind of ass out there. He’s got poems about sticking switchblades through a cans of Budweiser and poems that satirize the publishing business. His poems  entertain, a trait that most of today’s poetry fails to provide. I’ve never understood why poets pen works that do what most poetry does: make people hate poetry more. Reading Meyerhofer is as enjoyable as sipping on a Manhattan and puffing on a stogie at a jazz club. We need more poets who can pull that off.”

Meyerhofer first worked with Bugher in 2013 as a featured poet for Split Lip Magazine, the press’s original publication. “His appearance in the magazine,” says Bugher, “really shook things up and raised the bar in our poetry department.” Included in the feature were four poems from What To Do If You’re Buried Alive along with an interview. Both can be found in the magazine’s archive at http://www.splitlipmagazine.com.

About Bugher and Split Lip Press, Meyerhofer says, “I couldn’t be happier to be working with them! I’ve been following Scott and Split Lip Press for a while now and I’ve been really impressed with the way they promote their authors, not to mention their commitment to writing that’s meaningful but also fun to read. Scott’s the kind of dedicated editor that writers love to work with. So when he and Split Lip approached me about publishing What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, I couldn’t say yes fast enough!”

Split Lip Press is a very selective affair with regard to manuscripts. It seeks fiction and poetry by authors who make it clear that they strive for excellence. Excellent is quite an understatement when it comes to Meyerhofer’s work. Things don’t stop at a manuscript’s merit, though. The press works only with writers who are active and maintain a presence in the literary scene. With eight poetry collections and chapbooks along with his brand new novel, Wytchfire, on top of 100+ journal publications, it’s clear Meyerhofer’s out to play with the best of them. It takes only a quick Google search to discover work he’s published, interviews he’s given, workshops he’s teaching and literary events he’s reading at.

About Michael Meyerhofer:

Michael’s third poetry book, Damnatio Memoriae won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. His previous books are Leaving Iowa (winner, Liam Rector First Book Award) along with Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books’ Grub Street Book Prize finalist).

He has also published five poetry chapbooks: Pure Elysium (winner, Palettes and Quills Chapbook Contest), The Clay-Shaper’s Husband (winner, Codhill Press Chapbook Award), Real Courage (winner, Terminus Magazine and Jeanne Duval Editions Poetry Chapbook Prize), The Right Madness of Beggars (winner, Uccelli Press 3rd Annual Chapbook Competition), and Cardboard Urn (winner, Copperdome Chapbook Contest).

Michael has won the Marjorie J. Wilson Best Poem Contest, the Laureate Prize for Poetry, the James Wright Poetry Award, and the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, North American Review, Arts & Letters, River Styx, Quick Fiction, Split Lip Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and other journals. He also serves as the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review and is the author of a fantasy trilogy published by Red Adept Publishing.

About Split Lip Press:

A former top Nashville session musician, J. Scott Bugher bases Split Lip Press on the modern music industry, where recording artists understand major label record deals are things of the past, which has triggered the rise of indie labels releasing the best music out there and the decline of men in suits seeking the next Carrie Underwood. Bugher feels writers have yet to see things this way. “Writers, for some reason, sit on manuscripts for up to a decade while paying up to thousands in reading and contest fees, hoping for a major book deal,” says Bugher. “Why hold onto a manuscript for that long and pay that much when small press publishing is an option?” Though Split Lip can’t publish all it receives given its intent to release only four to six titles per year, the bookmaker believes small press publishing is the new world order for the literary scene.

For more information on Michael Meyerhofer, visit www.troublewithhammers.com.

For more information on Split Lip Press, visit www.splitlippress.com.

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach Reads Her Poem “Origin”

All sorts of awesomeness has us at Split Lip Press all filled up because we’re privileged to have Uppercut Chapbook Award winner Julia Kolchinisky Dasbach on our roster. Her new chapbook, The Bear Who Ate the Stars, will be released by Split Lip Press on November 1st, and we’re eager to deliver it to you all. Julia has a poem called “Origin,” and it won Burlington Book Festival’s 2014 Short Works Writing Contest. It’s included in her forthcoming chapbook and is read by the poet below. Take a look, a listen and delight in her brilliance.

Nicholas Reading’s LOVE & SUNDRIES Coming October 10th

 

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After months of seeking the poetic voice of Split Lip, we stumbled upon poet Nicholas Reading, who writes narratives in verse that haunt, upset and sadden their readers––a perfect, almost too perfect, fit for a punk rock publisher called Split Lip Press. “We’ve had the privilege of publishing a number of gifted poets in Split Lip Magazine,” says Editor-in-Chief J. Scott Bugher. “All of them contributed works that come with a hard punch, but when the press started recruiting a variety of poets with hopes of finding a manuscript that truly sets the poetic bar for Split Lip Press, our hopes were satisfied upon reading Nick’s manuscript, Love & Sundries.” Reading, an active writer and editor in the literary scene, agreed to take up the press’ offer upon looking into what the press was all about. On Split Lip, Reading says, “Writers of great caliber respect J. Scott Bugher, his mission and unwavering enthusiasm for publishing work that matters. That pushes. That asks the audience to not only read and enjoy, but to sleep with it. Wake with it. Live with it. And when you die, remember it. Split Lip isn’t in the game for itself as much as it is obsessively focused on presenting a platform for some of the best voices, veteran or emerging, in contemporary literature. Split Lip won’t settle for less. If anyone says otherwise Bugher and his editors will have some choice words and will not go gently into any good night without a fight.”

Love & Sundries will be available October 10th via www.splitlippress.com & www.amazon.com.

Listen to Nicholas Read An Account of Extreme Weather.

About Nicholas Reading:

Nicholas Reading earned an MFA in Fiction at Purdue University and an MFA in Poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the author of the chapbook The Party In Question (Burnside Review Press, 2007). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Bat City Review, jubilat, Nimrod, Painted Bride Quarterly, and San Pedro River Review. He also serves as the Managing Editor for Sport Literate. His most recent chapbook, Love & Sundries is schduled to release by Split Lip Press on November 15th, 2014.

About Split Lip Press:

A former top Nashville session musician, J. Scott Bugher bases Split Lip Press on the modern music industry, where recording artists understand major label record deals are things of the past, which has triggered the rise of indie labels releasing the best music out there. Bugher feels like publishing is evolving similarly. “For some reason, writers have sat on manuscripts for up to a decade while paying up to thousands in reading and contest fees, hoping for a major book deal,” says Bugher. “Why hold onto a manuscript for that long and pay that much when you can partner with a determined and passionate small press?” Though Split Lip can only do so much, the bookmaker believes small press publishing is the new world order for the literary scene.

For more information on Nicholas Reading, visit www.nicholasreading.com.

For more information on Split Lip Press, visit www.splitlippress.com.

Split Lip: The Origin of Our Name

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by J. Scott Bugher

Some have asked how I came up with Split Lip as the name for the press and magazine. Kind of funny, too. Literary analysis geeks have tried to figure out the correlation between our brand name and the content we publish. Here’s a hint: There is no correlation, so go take a breather and get back to cracking the codes of Jack London and Kate Chopin because there’s nothing to analyze up in here. Anyway, the name – Am I a Split Lip Rayfield fan? Not exactly. Do I enjoy the sight of blood dripping from one’s mouth. Nope. Am I big fat copy cat who is stuck in the early 90s? Yep.

Twenty years ago, I was active in the Indianapolis hardcore underground music scene, a bunch of pissed off kids onstage playing guitar and screaming into microphones or offstage moshing in the pit, the hardcore equivalent of line-dancing. I spent a lot of time at a local punk venue, The Sitcom, listening to Jackhammer, Shelter, Birthright, Endpoint, et cetera, and I liked it. I liked things loud. I liked to get injured in the mosh pit. I liked the angst of it all. And I really liked my favorite band from back then: the Split Lip, a band that produced one of my favorite records, For the Love of the Wounded, a record I still spin today.

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Split Lip, 1992

Besides their music, I am inspired by the longevity of the band. While most bands of that era came and went like Little Caesars’ employees, Split Lip continued. Of course they outgrew their days of teenage punk, but instead of throwing in the towel, they grew up and moved on to name themselves Chamberlain and punk became an influence on their music rather than a definition. Guitarists Adam Rubenstein and Clay Snyder pawned off their DOD metal distortion pedals in exchange for Ibanez Tube Screamers and let go of their solid-state Crate rigs for lower wattage tube amps. Bassist Curtis Mead stopped strumming power chords and developed a more melodic approach to the bass, much like Carol Kay. Their almighty drummer, Charlie Walker, stowed away his chops and laid down the boom pop, boom boom pop grooves. Lastly, vocalist David Moore stepped up as a front man, dropped his screaming and developed a unique voice with hints of Springsteen and Petty present in it. I hate categorizing music, but think Goo Goo Dolls meets Dire Straits? Something like that? Kind of? Or Springsteen meets The Screaming Trees? I don’t know. I’ll give you a hint, though. They did not sound like Los Lonely Boys.

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Split Lip / Chamberlain 2011: Reunited after a six-year hiatus.

So, Chamberlain did their thing for a good while – up until the early 2000s. But all good things come to an end. The band called it quits in 2005. BUT. David Moore and Adam Rubenstein continued to write and catalog music, which resulted in David Moore’s solo record, My Lover, My Stranger, another one of my favorite records, along with Adam Rubenstein’s Excavator, another great record. Drummer Charlie Walker has also maintained a presence in the music industry as drummer for Bush and Helmet.

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David Moore’s Solo Record: My Lover, My Stranger

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Adam Rubenstein’s Solo Record: Excavator

I could write more on the evolution of these musicians, but I wanted to make it clear that not only did I name the magazine Split Lip because I thought it would sound cool; I named it after a band that represents birth, progress and longevity–my hopes for the magazine.

Bad Ass: The Blade Runners!

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by J. Scott Bugher

Split Lip is a bad ass press that likes bad ass things like professional wrestling. Read further and learn about Split Lip’s favorite two people one should never, ever fuck with.

Who were the most bad ass masters of wreckage to step inside a WCW or WWF ring? Give you some hints and some history: They were both a part of The Blade Runners, a tag-team for the ever-so-popular CWA (Continental Wrestling Association) back in 1985. One of the team’s world destroyers was Steve Borden, better known as Flash in the day. The other expert of torment was James Hellwig, better known as Rock. Not the Rock who took over our WWF brand sleeping bags and lunch boxes in 1996, but simply Rock. BAD ASS.

They were first known as the Freedom Fighters, a team of one looking like Zack Morris on steroids and the other looking like Lou Ferrigno on more steroids. But once the new wave music scene hit the radio, the two kings of demolition changed their look to spiked hair––Flash bleached his blonde and Rock dyed his jet black. BAD ASS.

Once the freedom-fighting brow-beaters of doom realized The Blade Runners would be a far more bad ass name, they painted their faces and fought as intensely as Kiss guitar solos. But only after six months as a tag team, they parted ways. Rock moved on to fight in the WWF and changed his name to the iconic Ultimate Warrior (RIP, Bruiser) and Flash went with the WCW as the oh-so-mother-frackin-bad-ass name, Sting! BAD ASS to the 10th power.

Why are these men loved by Split Lip? Because these two legends of pain define BAD ASS. Just look at the timeline below.

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A little cute, but still pretty Bad Ass.

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Who just escalated to complete Bad Ass? Oh, I think these guys did.

future

OH MY GOD! ‘Scuse me while I go puke. I can’t stomach the Bad Ass.

So, there you have it folks. The definition of Bad Ass. Split Lip Press can only hope to be as bad ass as these two Doctors of Ruin.

Size Does Not Matter To Editors

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by J. Scott Bugher

In the publisher / writer relationship, size doesn’t matter. Yet I’ve encountered so many writers who do not concur with that. They think it’s all about the size of their dick (and I’m speaking metaphorically when it comes to female writers). So take the following illustration and learn your lesson if you believe size matters.

I rejected a manuscript from a contest held by Split Lip Press. Upon receiving the contest results announcement, the writer of the rejected manuscript got upset. So he emails me. Says, “I have four published books, have appeared in over 100 magazines, and many of the poems from the manuscript you rejected have been published by a number of elite journals.” What was he expecting by telling me this? For me to write an apology and admit I fucked up and am a failure as an editor / publisher? No. Fuck that guy. I could give a shit that he has 4 books and all sorts of publications. That didn’t change that his work blew chunks.

Now, if you’re a writer who believes you’re a big deal, consider this:

Say, if you’re a male, you ask a woman out for a date and she rejects you. What do you do? Do you say, “Oh yeah? Well, I have a ten-inch dick and have slept with 78 women and have had 22 threesomes.” Will that make the woman apologize and feel that she made a big mistake by rejecting you? Probably not. Instead, you’ll probably receive a backhand to your face or a well-earned kick in the balls.

Bottom line: If you’re a writer and feel it’s important to tell an editor how important you are, or how big your dick is, you’re doing nothing but asking for a backhand to your face.

“Punch for Punch” Read by Jared Yates Sexton

Split Lip Press is happy to bring you a short video of Jared Yates Sexton reading “Punch by Punch” (first published by PANK) from his book The Hook and the Haymaker, which is scheduled to release by Split Lip Press in early 2015. Take a look, give it a listen and enjoy this masterful storyteller do his thing.