So, one of our favorite literary & blogging things every year is Dan Wickett's creation of May as "Short Story Month." Like Dan, short stories are quite possibly my favorite form of writing to read. That said, one of my new favorite formats to read those stories (and, even better and more specifically, short shorts) is the chapbook. Not that the chapbook is new as a format but... you know. It's a relatively new personal favorite.
I love the small size and being able to carry one around wherever I go. I love when they are letterpressed or even stitched by hand or anything else that shows that a little extra love and care went into the making of the object itself, not just the words inside. I love that they seem the perfect format for these short shorts that I have somewhat fallen in love with (similar to poetry, it seems a few short shorts can be so much more powerful than one individually and, yet, too many and it can be easy to lose sight of them individually as they all start to blur together).
So, all that said, we are going to try to devote this month to highlighting some of our favorite chapbooks, albeit with less drive and effort and commitment than Dan's Short Story Month. Because, for one, we're a bit lazier around these parts. Also, it's already a week into the month. Oops. What can we say? These are crazy and busy times and, also, see previous mention of Hobart's leanings toward laziness.
To start with, we thought we would highlight some chapbook contests. If you know of more, shoot us an email or leave a comment and we'll try to keep this post updated. Also, for what it is worth, we will probably be focusing specifically on publishers that either focus on, or who we know are receptive toward, collection of short shorts.
PANK (due soon! 10/15/09) -- this will be their first chapbook, so there is no precedent to judge, though we are a huge fan of the journal and most if not all of the Hobart team has contributed or has work there forthcoming. So, obviously we like their tastes, right?
Rose Metal Press (due 12/1/09) -- Previous winners include Claudia Smith, Geoff Forsyth, and Sean Lovelace. Holy shit, right? These are 3 of, if not the 3, our favorite chapbooks.
Bateau (due 12/31/09) -- what can we say? Bateau is beautiful; like the RMP chaps, there covers are letterpressed and we love what they've done so far.
New Michigan Press (due 4/30/10) -- we enter this every year, and every year we get no love, but we keep going back for more. Because we love what they put out and so we just can't help ourselves. This one is a ways off, but maybe start trying to get that mess together now no?
Noemi Press (haven't announced this next year's contest yet, but usually due mid-February)
OK, I am getting tired and going to put this blog post up, even though I know that is only 5 contests, which is a small "list." But I'll add more soon!