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.

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.

Jared Yates Sexton Signs Book Deal with Split Lip Press

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Split Lip Press is privileged to announce it has signed a two-year, two-book deal with fiction rock star Jared Yates Sexton. The first of the two forthcoming titles, The Hook and the Haymaker, is scheduled to release January 15, 2015.

A perfect fit for Split Lip’s punk rock aesthetic, Sexton says of his first collection, An End to All Things (Atticus Books, 2012): “When I was younger I challenged myself to write things my family members would be uncomfortable reading, or things that could get me in hot water with people I knew.” Split Lip, a press unafraid of hot water in any manner, is exceedingly proud to have Sexton join its roster.

“Sexton defines Split Lip fiction,” says Editor-in-Chief J. Scott Bugher. “His dry wit and dark humor, how it colors his prose about life’s complications that are universal to all, led me to seek him out. There is no better way of putting it: If you want a clear understanding of the Split Lip brand, take a look at any story by Sexton. Notice the hints of Carver, McCarthy and Bukowski. The work has grit, and grit is Split Lip Press.”

Sexton joined Split Lip after J. Scott Bugher, a lifelong fan, recruited him heavily. Seeing all the press had to offer, Sexton’s reply was a very enthusiastic “yes.” Bugher, also publisher of Split Lip Magazine, was thrilled enough to have published Sexton’s short story, “Behold, I Come as a Thief” in the magazine’s January 2013 issue, then even more so when that story was selected as one of only four stories in Sundress Publication’s prestigious Best of the Net anthology. Now that he’ll be releasing two full books by the author, Bugher considers this deal “a milestone” for his company.

Split Lip Press is a discerning outlet seeking select titles that celebrate solid literary works. Stepping in to fill the industry void left by big wig publishers, Bugher is a leading figure in the literary scene as one who releases only the best-written fiction and poetry rather than young adult book franchises and murder-mysteries released by major publishing houses. Selectivity is a stringent affair for Split Lip Press when seeking manuscripts for book publication, and such selectivity is based on high standards for quality writing, which Sexton surpasses, and an author’s activity in the literary scene, a world that Sexton is very tapped into given his impressive publications, appearances at major literary events, and his memorable, animated readings.

The grounds for Split Lip’s high standards come down to this: Split Lip believes there are fans still hungry for new literary fiction and poetry, fans willing to comb small presses for the such. It is Split Lip’s mission to provide readers with books that shine brighter than the rest.

About Jared Yates Sexton:

After receiving his MFA at Southern Illinois University, Sexton moved on to teach writing at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and serve as managing editor for BULL: Men’s Fiction. In 2012, he landed a gig with the creative writing faculty at Georgia Southern University. Winning attention from editors worldwide, Sexton, along with his Best of the Net selection, has had work appear in publications like Salon, Southern Humanities Review, Hobart, PANK, and elsewhere. His stories have been nominated for a handful of Pushcarts, the Million Writers Award, and was a finalist for the New American Fiction Prize. His first book, An End To All Things, has been lauded by critics in Publisher’s Weekly, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Portland Book Review, among others. In short, Sexton is a force in the literary scene. He doesn’t throw punches in the dark; he knows his targets and lands a hard blow to each one with every swing of his bare-knuckled fist.

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 Jared Yates Sexton, visit http://www.jysexton.com.

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

Who Do We Publish

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by J. Scott Bugher

So, as you might have read in the first post, we have a few forthcoming books: A Two-Year Diary: The Best of Split Lip Magazine  (August 31, 2014),  Ice Children by Ed Harkness, (September 22, 2014) The Bear Who Ate the Stars by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach (October 20, 2014) and Love & Sundries by Nicholas Reading (November 17, 2014).

Who are we looking for and what are we seeking to publish next? The “who” we’re looking for needs to an active contributor to the literary community, not one simply seeking to add leverage to their CV. The “what” we’re looking for needs to be in sync with the information below.

We like something that does something, which results in something new. Fiction with an arc and poetry with a narrative. Vignettes of mundane life, notes of pop culture, hints of sex, etc. Stories that take place in a motel room instead of the jungle, poems narrating a story instead of a stretch of abstruse metaphors. We want grit, and grit does not mean porn or gore. Grit means trouble, the “I’ve been there before” type: rolling up the window next to a panhandler at a stoplight, getting yelled at for public breastfeeding, trying to slip a condom over a half-erect penis, running without grace to the bathroom in need of relief, selling prized possessions to a pawn shop due to hard times, et cetera.

Still uncertain? How about we list some writers we like. That always helps.

PROSE: Nicholson Baker, Ann Beattie, John Cheever, Anton Chekov, Raymond Carver, Mary Karr, Charles Bukowski, Richard Yates, Janet Fitch, Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O’Connor.

POETRY: Kim Addonizio, James Tate, Stephen Dobyns, Sharon Olds, Richard Hugo, Michael Meyerhofer, Jack Gilbert, Allison Joseph, Claudia Emerson, Marie Howe, Yusef Komunyakaa.

Split Lip Press publishes poetry or flash fiction/memoir chapbooks, full-length poetry or short story/memoir collections, and novellas.

Writers taken in by Split Lip will get: the Split Lip  imprint, 25% royalties instead of the standard 10% – 15%, an ISBN, a well-designed book, a handful of author copies, promotion, and additional copies sold to the author at a fair price. We also offer discounted rates on author website design if one is interested.

We accept queries with a manuscript sample: 3 – 5 poems or 3 – 5 pages of prose. Please do not submit full manuscripts. If the sample blows our minds, we’ll ask for the full package.

Submission guidelines and how to submit can be found HERE.