Interview about Orange Monkey Publishing
Author: Larry Eby
What makes Orange Monkey Publishing a unique part of the publishing community?
Part of Orange Monkey Publishing’s goal is to foster a thriving and active literary community within the Inland Empire. Though I am looking for great work across the nation, I want to see the community here expand and grow, and OMP is a part of that growth. The Inland Empire is going through an artistic and literary renaissance and is still a very under represented area of Southern California. I would say that this press is unique in its goal to promote this area and to help develop a new culture of next generation poets.
What is Orange Monkey Publishing’s contests? How long have you been running the contest? What motivated you to start the contest?
The current contests we are running are the chapbook contest judged by award-winning poet Gary L. McDowell, and a poetry contest judged by award-winning poet Jennifer K. Sweeney. The chapbook contest is a 15-40 page manuscript. The winner receives $500 and publication and distribution. The poem contest is a $500 prize and manuscript consideration if they have one in the works. The contests have entree fees, but all of that money goes to printing. The contests have been open since June 1st and the deadline is September 1st.
I started with contests because I like the idea of seeing a large number of works and having a very established poet look through them and pick a winner. It gives credibility to the book, being that the press is new, and I feel like builds connections for poets to read each other’s work. I would like to see the connections grow, and who knows, maybe friendships will be born out of something like this.
What sort of qualities do you look for in a manuscript or piece of work up considered for publication? Does Orange Monkey Publishing have a specific aesthetic preference? Is so, please describe that.
I look for manuscripts with very deep and revealing images that stick with you. But, I wouldn’t be turned off to an experimental manuscript either. I’ve seen poets make the best out of any genre, and firmly believe that you can do almost anything well as long as it is made fresh. I’m usually turned off to sentimental poetry, though. Show me something fresh, with energy, deep image, and some grit, and I’m all for it.
What up and coming projects do you have for Orange Monkey Publishing?
Currently I’m working on the layout for a chapbook by a fantastic poet, Nikia Chaney, from the Inland Empire. I don’t have an exact release date (sometime in 2013), and I can’t get into too much detail yet, but let’s just say that the poetry is incredible. It plays with language, has a gritty yet beautiful narrative, and sticks with you. It’s a manuscript that burrows itself into your bones. Keeping checking our website for upcoming announcements regarding this chapbook.
What has been the most exciting part about running your own publication? The contest?
As far as excitement goes, there are two moments that really stand out. The biggest being the first submission in Submittable. I was surprised it came so soon after the contest announcement, and it was one of those “This is really happening” moments.
The second was when I found and talked to the author of the chapbook I mentioned above. Her worked seemed like the perfect fit (and still does, even more so the more I read it!) and I’m really honored she is letting me put her work out there as our first poet.
I’m eagerly awaiting the release of our first book, as well as all of the readings and events we will put on. That excitement is continual, and the most intense.