Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest Winner!

For months, our small group of readers have been reviewing the 250+ chapbooks submitted to this year’s contest. Last week, we finally narrowed it down to 10 finalists and some honorable mentions–there were just SO MANY GOOD MANUSCRIPTS.

Guest Judge Sara Lippmann was sent the finalists, and after careful reading, she has chosen SJ Sindu‘s chapbook, I Once Met You But You Were Dead, for publication at Split Lip Press in early 2017.

SJSindu_authorpic

SJ Sindu

Of the manuscript, Sara said:

“This chapbook is raw and timely and unforgettable. I love the textured layers, how the stories unfold, the jagged edges, how they push up against one another in juxtaposition and in accumulation. The prose is assured, dynamic and alive, confidently moving through time and space. I love the mix presented: of style and structure, point of view — held together by a consistent yet refreshing voice. I love how the author comes at theme from different angles to prismatic effect. People ask me why I read, and my answer is for work like this: that stirs me out of my comfort zone, that upturns expectation and burrows into the deep, that grabs me by the heart and transports me, leaving me changed. This chapbook delivers on that front. There is a vitality and vulnerability to this voice, evidenced by how it shifts, often within story, breaking rules, that excites me in a way I have not felt in some time. The stories feel urgent and necessary and not overworked, seams showing, stories that speak to a big literary future ahead.”

FINALISTS

First Runner-Up:   Shasta Grant, Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home  

(which Split Lip will also have the great fortune to publish in summer 2017!)

Second Runner-Up:  Lara Coley, WE 

Samantha Duncan, Chaos Theory

Katie Flynn, Border Patrol

Katherine Gehan, National Treasure

Meghan McClure, Portrait of a Body in Wreckages

Clare Paniccia, Threaded Daughter/Threaded Child

Emily Pinkerton, Adaptations 

Jesse Rice-Evans, Twin Hungers (recently picked up by Damaged Goods Press!)

Pete Stevens, The Girl Who Could Float

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Kelly Dulaney, Grog Blossoms

Jessica Roeder, Staircases Will Outnumber Us

Susan Rukeyser, What is Reflected

 

Hugely grateful to our readers: Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice, Jenne Knight, Sonya Vatomsky, Jon McConnell, and Sara Biggs-Chaney, as well as the talented + insightful Sara Lippmann for helping us make this really tough decision.

Stay tuned for more!

–AKM

 

It’s HERE! I Am the Oil of the Engine of the World by Jared Yates Sexton

Happy Book Birthday to Jared Yates Sexton’s I Am the Oil of the Engine of the World, his second collection from Split Lip.  We are thrilled to be able to put this weird + wonderful stories out into the world.

OILcover

Here is a clip of Jared reading one of the stories, You Are But a Pilgrim Venturing to a Strange and Honest Land, originally published in Cleaver Magazine.

The book is now available through Split Lip (buy directly and support small presses) or Amazon, and you can save it and review it on Goodreads. Or if you’re a book reviewer for a blog or journal, we’d be happy to send you a .pdf or hard copy–just drop us a request: editor@splitlipmagazine.com.

Thank you for reading and supporting our authors and books! Keep an eye on our social media accounts all day long for a chance to win a I Am the Oil of the Engine of the World Leap Day Grab Bag, that includes a signed copy of the book, Split Lip swag, and other surprises.

Also: Jared will be on a panel at the upcoming Voices of the Middle West 2016 and at AWP 2016 in Los Angeles (w/ BULL and Split Lip at Table #233 and at our reading w/ Little Fiction/Big Truths). Be sure to shake his hand–and get his book if you haven’t yet.

 

 

Save The University of Akron Press

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Hey folks. I’ve been seeing some heartbreaking headlines posted all over social media regarding the University of Akron’s potential to close its book press and couldn’t help but to post an open letter to its top administrators: Scott Scarborough (President), Lawrence Burns (Vice President of Advancement), Mike Sherman (Senior Vice President, Provost & Chief Operating Officer), and Paul Herold (Secretary of the Board of Trustees). It’s posted below. If you feel inclined to learn more and see what you can do to help keep the book press in biz, visit the Save The University of Akron Press’ Facebook Page!

Dear Scott Scarborough, Lawrence Burns, Mike Sherman & Paul Herold––

I am writing with uniformed concern for the University of Akron’s book press, and I say uninformed because I am unaware of the school’s situation in full, and, though a bit speculative, I frankly believe media outlets suppress facts to produce more persuasive journalism. If, however, recent headlines are accurate regarding University of Akron’s plans to halt its book press funding, then I am obligated to ask: would you please consider other means to transpose the institution’s budget from deficit to reclamation?

Akron’s book press has been an essential contributor to the literary arts for thirty years, and its most notable effort, I’d argue, is the esteemed Akron Series in Poetry. On the one hand, through an entrepreneurial lens, I can see how one may justify considering poetry an expense worth omitting since, as a product, it has very little monetary value, and its supply trumps its demand. On the other hand, through an academic lens, there is a fundamental need to preserve and respect poetry since it cannot be forgotten the arts are precursors of the sciences, and if academia believes the arts have been exhausted to the extent of futility, then the academy is, in fact, blaspheming its own being.

The first and foremost duty of academia is to embrace and respect preexisting knowledge, to shelter it in order to promote research and discovery and/or creation of yet-to-exist knowledge. Poetry of the past must remain in the proverbial knowledge arsenal, and the poetry of contemporary thinkers that has yet to be written and/or published must remain in the academy’s diet for even more knowledge. The academy must stay hungry for knowledge and remember an appetite for profit belongs to the entrepreneur’s diet.

While I can respect the business component of university operations, I cannot say I fully understand it since I am a romantic with a fervent desire for academia to get reacquainted with its roots, or to at least aim effort toward doing so. There are valid reasons, I’m sure, that the academy has been pressed to take a more corporate approach to operations, but there has got to be a way to balance things and take a reformative approach rather than a transformative approach by remembering knowledge stockpiles as a result of synergy between multiple domains in both the sciences and the arts.

You claim to function as a polytechnic university––an admirable approach. Your website even defines it to an etymological level: Polytechnic = Polutekhnos, which is Polu (many) + tekhné (arts). By cutting the book press, it seems your approach will deflate to: Ligótera (fewer) + tekhné (arts). Please be kind to your reputation and maintain the purity of your polytechnic approach by preserving your book press.

Thank you,

J. Scott Bugher

Founder & Publisher

Split Lip Press & Magazine

www.splitlippress.com

www.splitlipmagazine.com

Katie Schmid Wins the Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest!

Katie Schmid Cigarettes Web

Photo by Aaron Ottis Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though Split Lip Press does not condone or promote smoking cigarettes, take a look at this pic of Katie Schmid, winning author of our Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest with her manuscript Forget Me / Hit Me / Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor. Such a cool photo, but even cooler, her book tentatively forthcoming sometime in late summer. Stand by for the official release date announcement.

Though a tough decision, our guest judge Meg Pokrass selected Katie’s manuscript as winner, finding it original and expansive in its entirety, and I concur. The collection is diversified with regards to both content and form. Her poetics are delicious, and she is astute in discerning the form that will serve a given poem best, ranging from those only in line, others broken in stanzas of different lengths, others with some long lines / some short lines, others as prose poems, some formatted with text aligned to the right or centered, and my favorite part, her series in the middle called “Daughter Psalms,” which are not individually titled pieces, just blocks of text unified by the series’ title placed mid-page on each page of the section. Another cool part is a series of prose poems titled “The Boys of the Midwest,” followed by a number as per the order they appear in. And, most importantly, the quality of her writing is masterful and striking––full of risk, balanced and tasteful shifts in diction choices, daring syntactical moves, and a touch of wit within otherwise dark, haunting poems––how, at times, such wit serves as a stepping stone to begin a lineage of rising tension as seen in “Some Brief Information About the Spartans”––

Boys pay tribute to Saint Jude: patron saint of dollar single cigarettes from the bar, patron saint of working a double at the granite factory, patron saint of watching the bitter candle of your father going to hell.

Dear god, the escalation: a gritty denotation of the Saint Jude figure.

And then how she manages to personify her narrators and characters with such a high degree of verisimilitude. It fascinates me, like this passage in “Letter to the Midwest”––

I too, am afraid that I can never escape:

these cracked sidewalks, the empty storefronts

like raw wounds, the fair weather drunks

who lie in doorframes with their abandoned

bodies in a puddle of vomit. And me:

I wake to find myself scuffed, badly bruised,

like a peach your thumb could sink into

with the lightest touch.

Beautifully tragic in my opinion.

So, that’s the skinny on our winner Katie Schmid, but let’s give props to those contestants who wound up finalists:

In the Valley of the Sun by Gleah Powers

The Prophetic Western by Meredith McDonough

11:58 by Ann Stewart McBee

PERSONA: Noun, Feminine, Singular by Carolyn Moore

Sleepstart by Heikki Huotari

Stranger Underneath by Trish Hopkinson

American Spirits by Jackson Burgess

Take Me Home by Sarah Levine

Tiger Laughs When You Push by Ruth Lehrer

Velocity by Martha Clarkson

Winter & Construction: Michigan Stories by Matthew Fogarty

Rock n Roll, Split Lip fans. We appreciate your support and look forward to bringing you Katie’s book Forget Me / Hit Me / Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor this coming summer.

 

 

 

 

 

Split Lip Magazine: New Editor-in-Chief

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After searching for a significant period of time, and as we waited patiently for the perfect person for the job, Amanda Miska was recruited to serve as Split Lip Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief in December, 2014. She joined with her fists up throwing brass knuckle punches with all sorts of plans to push Split Lip to its next level. She is the former fiction curator at Luna Luna Magazine, one of the most visited online magazines out there, and one that also features media outside of literature like music, fine art and film. Split Lip’s perfect fit.

Amanda received her MFA in Creative Writing from American University. Her work is all over the place in fine journals like Whiskey Paper, CHEAP POP, jmww, The Collapsar, Storychord, Five Quarterly, Cactus Heart, Lockjaw Magazine, Pea River Journal, Hippocampus Magazine, Cartridge Lit, Atticus Review and elsewhere. She lives and writes in the Northern part of Virginia, but you can find her procrastinating on Twitter: @akmiska.

 Check out a few of her stories below:

Sorry Not Sorry @ Five Quarterly

Strangers @ CHEAP POP

ISO @ Whiskey Paper

An Interview with Kristina Marie Darling

4 Books Published in One Month? Unheard of.

4 Books Publishedin One Month? Unheard of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been a fan of Kristina Marie Darling for a couple of years ever since poet David Tomaloff turned me onto her work. As a writer who favors short fiction by folks like Richard Yates and Raymond Carver, and poetry by folks like Stephen Dobyns and Richard Hugo, it’s kind of surprising I’m a fan of Darling’s approach to writing. It was weird. She sent me a review copy of Brushes with, and though intimidated by its cerebral nature, I dug in. I mean, I really, really dug in. Her work makes me want to read closely and critically, something I’d rather not do with most poetry. Whatever she’s doing, and despite my poor interpretations of her material, it’s working in her favor. She’s on fire, too! 17 published books with 3 more forthcoming. Let’s ask a couple of questions and see what’s up with her.

So, congratulations on your newest three books! When can we expect their release? What can you tell us about each title?

First, thank you for the kind words about my work! Although I’m excited about all three of these new releases, I’m especially thrilled about the publication of Scorched Altar: Selected Poems and Stories 2007-2014. The book includes excerpts of my previous collections, which include Night Songs, Compendium, The Body is a Little Gilded Cage, Petrarchan, Vow, and more. Scorched Altar is available from BlazeVOX Books and can be purchased here.

I’m also delighted about the publication of my flash fiction collection, The Arctic Circle, which is available from BlazeVOX Books too. The collection includes linked stories about a woman who gets married to the man of her dreams… only to find that his first wife was found frozen inside the house. A short excerpt from the manuscript is online at Tupelo Quarterly. Get your copy of the book here.

Lastly, I’m so happy to see my collection of astronomy poems in print. The Sun & the Moon is available from BlazeVOX Books, and invokes the astronomical clock as its central metaphor. As the book unfolds, a marriage between astral bodies crumbles, and the constellations become into ghosts, their dresses covered in ice. The book is available here. It’s worth purchasing even if only for Noah Saterstrom’s beautiful cover art.

I hope you’ll check out any or all of these new books!

I’ve seen several different sides of your writing. I mean, you’ve done straight narrative like the lovely “Self Portrait, Evicted.” Erasures as found in some of your books. Then you do footnotes, glossaries and whatnot like “A History of Transcendence.” Now I’ve been hearing about all sorts of hybrid work you’re putting out. Tell us. Why do you seem to be interested in everything poetically possible? How do you afford your voice to so many different writing methodologies?

That’s a great question. For me, each book is its own idea, its own concept, so it usually calls for a style that’s different from the ways I’ve written before. This is good because it keeps me from getting too comfortable in any one way of writing. The poems I’m the happiest with usually feels like a process of discovery while I’m writing them. I have no idea where the poem, the idea, or the style of writing will take me. Because each book is its own idea, though, that means that the prospect of starting a new project is very intimidating. But once I do, watch out! That project usually takes over my life until it’s finished.

With a publication history of now 20 books and a CV that contends with the length of the old testament, how do you manage to get it all done? The writing, the revising, the editing, the submission process, reaching out for reviews, et cetera.

I get asked that question a lot, and the answer is always the same: I don’t have a one-year old baby. I have a one-year old nephew. If I were a parent, I think my priorities would be much different, and poetry would take a back seat. But for now, I can have fun with my adorable nephew and still write tons of poems.

While on the subject of publishing, how would you advise one who is trying to get their first book published if they approached you about it? The literary world is like the porn industry. A lot of people want in, but most don’t get to play. That sounds harsh, but I think it’s fair to say. Dunno. Anyway, I’d love your thoughts regarding getting a publisher to pick up one’s manuscript. I’m asking “for a friend.” 🙂

It’s good to publish in magazines that are attached to small presses. Like Thrush Journal and Thrush Press. Or Prick of the Spindle and Aqueous Books. Or BlazeVOX Journal and BlazeVOX Books. Or Anemone Sidecar and Ravenna Press. And Wicked Alice and Dancing Girl press for the ladies. The list goes on and on. But it’s always great to test the waters with a magazine submission, then build a relationship with the editors, and later approach them with a manuscript. At least, that’s how it worked for me. I was a contributor to the Gold Wake Press E-Chaps Series for years, and when the editors started a print series, they graciously agreed to take a look at my project.

Now that you have all of those books, are in the process of earning your Ph.D. in poetics, and get a billion search results when Googling your name, what’s next for KMD?

Gainful employment, hopefully. I’m finishing up school, traveling, and getting ready to apply for jobs. I’m hoping to find something that’s a mix of teaching and editing, but I’m open to many different possibilities: curriculum development, arts management, higher education administration, or just about anything else that involves books.

One last question. A fun one. Would you ever consider writing a mainstream or young adult novel? I’m asking since your career reminds me of Julianna Baggott’s, who has 18 published books of poetry, commercial novels and children’s books. Is that a realm you think you’ll ever enter? I heard there’s money in it. Imagine it–– “Footnotes to Hunger Games,” a trilogy by Kristina Marie Darling.

First: Thank you for the flattering comparison! I love Julianna Baggott’s work. Second: You are a mind reader! I’m working on a novel about a woman who’s in love but can’t speak. It’s called Frances the Mute. Because I never really stopped being a teenager, I have a feeling that the book is something teenage girls would really love. Hopefully once I get a working draft in order, anything will be possible.

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.