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 Monday Night Rumble, February 9

On Saturday, I reminded myself that I needed to write a Sunday Night Rumble post, but between a freelance deadline and my really terrible organization skills, I forgot.

So here we are, rumbling on a Monday night, which isn’t so bad because Mondays traditionally suck. But at least now you’ll have some great things to read.

 

New Issues

Hippocampus Magazine is a fairly new-ish destination for short creative non-fiction. Their new issue went live February 1st and includes a piece by yours truly (my first published CNF piece, so I feel like I’m allowed to humblebrag a bit).

 

Contributors Killin’ It

Jared Yates Sexton isn’t just a contributor–he’s also the author of Split Lip Press’s first full-length collection, The Hook and the Haymaker.  He has a great story over at Juked right now, and you can check out the first review of his collection over at Alternating Currents (thank you to Al Kratz for reading and seeing all the good in it that we saw).

 

Stories I Loved

Two Hurts by K Brattin  at Wigleaf

Tell Me What to Do by Kerry Cullen at Luna Luna Magazine (I may be a little biased, but still. Read it.)

 

Rumor has it that it’s National Pizza Day (I know that for some of you out there, it’s every day), and I have a couple pies on the way. Hope your evening is as delicious/fraught with heartburn/etc.

-AKM

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!

Bear_Ate_Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

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.