Editor Interview: Hyacinth Girl Press

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: alchemy

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Chapbook presses I really admire include Blood Pudding Press, Tree Light Books, Imaginary Friend Press, and Greying Ghost Press. Versal, Arsenic Lobster, Bateau, and Menacing Hedge are favorite lit mags of mine.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: Some of my favorite poets/inspirations include Judith Johnson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Anne Waldman, Frank X. Walker, Maria Sabina, and Diane di Prima. The name of the press was lifted from T.S. Eliot, so clearly I've got to give him a mention, too.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: Is there another feminist press that publishes poetry of science and radical spirituality with a secondary focus on environmentalist themes? If there is, I would love to meet them and have tea and become besties. Hyacinth Girl Press can be set apart in that I publish what I truly love and can truly devote myself to as an editor, a promoter, a designer, and a financial backer. What I love and feel that level of devotion to will most certainly not be exactly what another press of the same bent has devotion for.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Everyone says this, but buy a chapbook that I've published first, either from me, from a bookstore that carries my books, at a reading, at a fair, or from the author. They are really inexpensive. I do my best to make them lovely but not pricey. If you can't buy a copy (and I totally understand that many people can't), pimp the press on your prefered social media, read work by the poets who I have published, check out the poets and presses I link to on my web page. Don't be intimidated - I am not scary or angry or looking to mess with you. Read my guidelines. They are pretty simple. If you mess up, though, it's not the end of the world. Bring more happiness to the world than unhappiness.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: My ideal submission is simply one that has a beauty to it that I have trouble putting words to, suprises me, and gives me a sense that the poet cares deeply about what they have written about. Yes, yes, that is very abstract, but I care less about 12 point font and more about the poet and the effect their work has on me. Make me need your poetry. In THAT way.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: My submitters have all been very cool people so far - very conscientious and kind. Every so often someone forgets to attach a cover letter or the requested contact information, but without exception every single person who has done this caught their mistake and sent me a follow-up email. I have no complaints about my submitters.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: I want to know their name, their contact information, and if the manuscript has been simultaneously submitted. I'd like to know how they found out about Hyacinth Girl Press, but that's just because I'm a curious gal.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: I read the entire manuscript twice through. When I do not, it is only because the manuscript is very clearly not for us and the submitter probably didn't look my web page over too carefully.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: I read it out loud. I consider how much I love it. Is it like-love or love-love? Would I give my last cupcake to this manuscript? Will I mean it when I say that everyone needs to read these poems? Running a very small press can be very difficult, particularly starting out. All the money that is spent on these chapbooks is my own. I have to be able to say, without hesitation, that even if I don't make a single cent back on this chapbook, it will be worth it to me.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: I get up around 7am. I go to my day job. I think about poetry while doing my day job. On my lunch break I go to the post office and send out any copies that need mailed. If I don't go to the post office, I read submissions or do promotional work or proofing work or work on my own writing instead. I go home around 5pm. I play with my son, make dinner, hang out with my roommate. I am very, very normal. Honestly, being the only editor for Hyacinth Girl Press (I do have a layout/design/website editor, Sarah Reck, who also helps out with some of the editing of the various anthologies we publish, but I make all decisions regarding what we publish in terms of chapbooks) makes the work schedule very liberating in certain ways. I read when I can. I do what I can. I love this press, and that helps a lot.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: Important-ish? I am probably going to be the last person clinging to my paper books when the rest of the world is cloud-computing (is that the right term?) all of their media. I am working to keep my chapbooks physical, but at the same time, to allow electronic submissions (but don't ask me to use a submissions manager yet for the chapbooks), to use audio and video recordings for promotion, have a web page, etc. I write on a typewriter. I don't think that the computer is the ideal place for an art form that I see as very shamanistic, but at the same time the internet allows us to reach people with our art who we never could have reached 20 years ago.