Editor Interview: Lummox Poetry Anthology

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

A: Poetry I like.

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

A: Bottle of Smoke Press is doing some fine work producing beautiful as well as informative publications; Beyond Baroque Literary Series has a new Anthology out called Wide Awake (about poets from Los Angeles and beyond); Working Stiff Press has new collection of poetry by Fred Voss and Don Winter called Hard Labor; Foot Hills Publishing has a delightful little collection by Teresa Mei Chuc called Keeper of the Winds.

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

A: I don't have any favorite writers at the moment, but I do love the work of all whom I publish.

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

A: I think it's quality and production value and the fact that I base my decisions on my current motto: "Game not Fame." In other words, I publish poets with work that I like because their work is good, not because they are famous. I currently draw from a pool of about 400 poets. I strive very hard to serve the poetry community, partly because as a poet myself, I understand the turf that poets must protect and partly because as a publisher, I have to keep my eye on the bottom line (that which makes it possible to stay viable as a press and still take on new and/or unusual projects.

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

A: Be patient. Follow directions. And most of all don't try to dazzle me with your credits or who you know. Remember, GAME NOT FAME.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: See question 5.

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

A: See question 5.

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

A: Wow, this getting redundant...see Question 5.

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

A: Well, first of all, it's poetry so there will be only 5 poems at the most. I can usually tell if I like it (which either means it's going to move me or I'm going to be stimulated by it...what I call editing by goose-bump or "Aha!") by the second or third poem.

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

A: There is an "aging" process that happens while a book is slowly moving down the line towards publication. As the editor-in-chief grows older and becomes more forgetful, the line slows down. This offers as a bi-product to the publication process, an opportunity to mull over each project. It's embarrassing to have to deal with what seems like my advancing senility, especially at the client's expense, but since Lummox Press is a one man operation, it can't be helped.

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

A: Currently, I'm still working on the 5 month long project that is the Lummox Poetry Anthology #5. Altho I've got the book to the printer and am taking deliveries, I'm still tasked with making sure that everybody in this issue gets a copy (countless trips to the post office to mail out hundreds of copies that I've assembled and placed in shipping packages); while lining up readings to promote sales (currently I have 5 local readings spread out over the next 5 months or so, plus 2 readings in New Mexico and Colorado; and 2 readings in Canada -- I encourage poets to form their own readings in areas outside of LA County where Lummox is based). I am also working on 2 projects that I feel need to be published altho I know they will be an economic dud for the press and for myself (believe it or not, but this is my primary source of income...my job and tho the pay is spartan, I have an obligation).

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

A: I've already published some 70 titles using POD (since 2008). But I still love books over files, so I'm not enamored by E-books. I do have E-copies, which are PDFs of the books and can be read by most e-readers. I use Facebook and email to promote the books I publish, but I still believe that it's the writer/poets job to push their book...a fact that seems to be lost on many writers in today's market. Still, I muddle along trying to make a wage from my job of hawking poetry to an audience that is in woeful need of literature, especially in the trying times ahead...

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: I generally do not like to alter a manuscript, unless I think that the manuscript as a whole is diminished by some sub-par poems. I encourage the writer to make the book as strong as possible. When I was younger and enthralled with certain poets (Charles Bukowski for one) I noticed that I really liked about a quarter to a third of each collection...ideally I would like to see at least half of the material be really good and in rare instances three quarters great! But this isn't possible most of the time, and, because poetry is a process and I like to share that process, journey if you will, there can realistically only be about a third great, a third good and a third that are so-so (hopefully the percentage of bad poems will not exist or be rather small). I think this mirrors life.