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One of the things I do is run a small literary press in Venice, California.  We have a chapbook series and we've just released two new chapbooks from award-winning poet, Adrian Blevins, and actor, director, writer, James Franco.  These are the 20th and 21st chapbooks in the series and we're pretty excited about it.

After the orange colophon is more information about the books (for which I apologize in advance if it seems a little commercial in nature).  

Let me say a little more about the press, something of a labor of love for the past 12 years.  I didn't really know much about publishing when I got into this but so-called "print on demand" or "digital short-run publishing" seemed like an ideal way to set up a press. The initial investment was low and we could reach out to writers of literary fiction and poetry, writers whose books might not otherwise be published or if published, might not stay in print very long, and get and keep those books in print.  That's been part of our mission.  Even if the book only sells a couple of a copies a year, we keep it in print.  

We've publish literary fiction and a poetry chapbook series.  We've managed to interest some of the luminaries in the poetry world including Dean Young and Tony Hoagland.  There's an attraction to doing a chapbook because it offer poets a way to keep their work in print in between larger collections.  It offers them a way to create what Tony Hoagland has termed "a little bouquet" of poetry.  

I really enjoy working with the poets and the novelists to put their best work out there.  I've also been very active in the book designs.  

The challenges of publishing these days are not small. Something like 700,000 books were published in the U.S. last year alone. How do you rise into view? How you let people know there's something out there worth reading? It's very difficult, made moreso by the cutbacks in outlets for reviews. Newspapers, struggling to survive, aren't reviewing that much, and when they do, it seems like the big NY publishers and well-known writers are the ones that get the attention.

So we do what we can. But I think the most important thing is that the books are in print and available.  

Here is more information about the two new chapbooks.  

Adrian Blevins' chapbook, Bloodline, deepens her ongoing exploration into the subjects which have always been the focus of her poetry: babies, mortality and an anxious kind of mother love. In language that is by turns, celebratory, edgy, stylized, sad, and sassy, the poems riff on the irreconcilable differences between the speaker's love for her children and the worried, death-obsessed uproar that love can't help but bring. Blevins wades into sacrosanct regions declaring, "I'm not saying this was my incarceration / because I was too devoted" even as the poems draw a topography of grief for a life arrested by the speaker’s procreative powers.

In James Franco's chapbook, Strongest of the Litter, a vision of power is at the center of these poems.  It's a power both generative and frightening, self-consuming and bracing. The chapbook is the story of an artist's power of self-making using the collective memory of Hollywood along with specific memories of the poet's own past. The poems are beautiful and spare and leave echoes of empathetic longing.

You can find both chapbooks at Amazon:


Strongest of the Litter

Or at the Hollyridge Press website: Hollyridge Press

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