Thursday, March 18, 2010

Small Press Spotlight :: Lame House Press

Today, the DWC's Sally Lloyd talks with Gina Myers, the proprietrix of Lame House Press.

Founded in Brooklyn, NY and now based in Saginaw, MI, Lame House Press irregularly publishes chapbooks from emerging poets.

1. What kind of material do you publish: prose, poetry, art, other?

Lame House Press currently publishes poetry only. At one time we were going to publish an artist book, but unfortunately it never came to be.

2. What are your criteria for choosing a collection of poems (or stories) to publish? What genres do you consider?

When the press first launched, I only published work by poets who had not yet previously published any chapbooks or full length collections.

The first few chapbooks were by people who I had gone to school with whose work I really liked and thought should have a wider audience.

As time has gone by, I have opened up to publishing work by previously published authors, though the most recent title, Nathan Hauke's In the Living Room, is his first chapbook. There have been times where I have been at a reading and really liked a particular series I heard read and simply asked the reader afterward if he or she would be willing to have Lame House publish the work, as was the case with Arlo Quint's
Photogenic Memory. Something similar happened after I heard Franklin Bruno read.

My main criteria, as absurd as this sounds, is that it is "good." Most importantly, it has to be work that I like and am excited by. The poetry skews toward experimental work and post-avant poetry (or whatever the kids are calling it these days).

3. How does the selection of your books help fulfill your mission and please share that mission.

I have never written a formal mission for the press, but I guess it would be something like: Lame House Press publishes limited edition hand-bound chapbooks by contemporary poets. Our mission is to support exciting up-and-coming (and established) writers by giving them a venue for their work to help them reach an audience. I think the selection of books helps fulfill this mission because I only publish work I am really excited about and want to promote. I really want my authors to receive positive feedback and hear that their books are getting out there in the world.

4. Choose one of your favorite publications and explain the reason for your selection.

Since the press started in 2005, I have only published 13 titles, so I know each of them very well and it would be hard for me to select a favorite. I do not accept open submissions, so each title I published has been solicited, which means I have seen work by that poet elsewhere that has made me want to ask to see a chapbook manuscript.

I guess how this all got started might be a good story. When I was at the New School, I became very good friends with Gabriella Torres and she had a really wonderful chapbook that I wanted to see published. She had it accepted for publication at a small chapbook publisher, but then the publisher stopped making books and said they were not going to be able to put it out after all. That's when I decided to start Lame House. I didn't have a grand plan--I just wanted to see Gabriella's book, Sister, in print. After that I turned to a couple of people I went to undergrad with, Hazel McClure and Mike Sikkema, with the same idea that they were wonderful poets whose work should be out there.

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