What I’ve Been Up to Lately…

Needless to say, there’s been plenty of work for me lately in terms teaching — classes, grading, committees, and conferences, to name just a few of the things that have been keeping me out of trouble lately — but I’ve also had the good fortune to start working with a number of my favorite writers on several projects in my capacity as Acquisitions Editor for PS Books. Two projects I recently finished working on are Randall Brown‘s flash fiction collection Mad to Live and P.C. Scheponik’s poetry collection A Storm by Any Other Name.

While “acquiring” these collections for PS Books was certainly rewarding in its own right, I especially enjoyed working on the design of each book. For Mad to Live, I was pleased with the art we chose for the cover — a painting by Gary Koenitzer titled “Gugenheim.”

If you look closely, you can see that the painting bears the imprint of a vinyl record, which worked especially well with this collection, as it gave us the opportunity to include several pieces that we referred to as “bonus tracks” along with the works that appeared in the collection when it was originally published by Flume press a couple of years ago.

I also had a lot of fun designing and editing PC Scheponik’s A Storm by Any Other Name. As with Mad to Live, I had a chance to work pretty closely with the writer on this project. This time around, though, a major part of the project involved taking the raw material of Scheponik’s manuscript and arranging it to form a narrative of sorts. Over the course of several emails and some face-to-face dialogue, we built the collection around a series of motifs: songs of self, faith, family, and nature.

We also went back and forth a bit about the appropriate artwork for this book before hitting upon an image we both agreed was perfect for the project, a piece titled “Solitary Splendor” by Lee Muslin.

One final project that was especially close to my heart was a posthumous collection of poetry by Richard William Pearce titled To Befriend a Fox. Richard had been a friend mine for years before his untimely passing, and we used to spend a lot of time talking about our mutual love of writing — as well as the frustrations of seeking publication. It was therefore an honor to put together a collection of his work and also to write a foreword for the collection.

As for the future, I am, of course, always teaching and writing, but I’m also looking forward to working with a number of other poets and writers in my capacity as an acquisitions editor and amateur book designer. Up next: a collection by Courtney Bambrick tentatively titled It’ll Be Nice (though this, like all things, is certainly subject to change). After that, I’m looking at a few more manuscripts from poets whose work I admire quite a bit, and then I’ll be working with Nicole Monaghan on a collection of flash fiction whose origins can be traced back to a seemingly innocuous blog post

If the past is any indication of what I can expect from these projects, I’ll definitely have my hands full, but I’ll enjoy every minute of it.

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