Go Forth (Vol. 28)
Go Forth is a series curated by Nicolle Elizabeth and Brandon Hobson that offers a look into the publishing industry and contemporary small-press literature. See more of the series.
There are many literary journals and publishing houses in the indie realm. This year’s Pushcart Prize had eight-thousand nominations from journals, which means that if each journal sends four nominations, that’s at least two-thousand journals that participate. And considering not every journal participates in the competition, that’s a lot of journals. Rescue Press is one of them.
We do these interviews because sometimes readers say, “I keep reading the same people and the same journals” and while we are very pro reading what one just plain likes, we are also very pro the outside guy. Also, I think it’s really important that people who want to participate can read and say, “Well that’s how that guy did it and maybe even so can I.” Believe in yourselves, and add positively to the craft of writing, ok?
Love, Nicolle Elizabeth
NICOLLE ELIZABETH: Hi Danny. What is Rescue Press?
DANIEL KHALASTSCHI: Hi Nicole! Rescue Press is an independent publisher of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid texts. As our mission states, we are “a library of chaotic and investigative work,” and we aim to publish books that transform us. Together with my co-editor, the talented poet and essayist Caryl Pagel, we have spent the last five years seeking out manuscripts that haunt our brains completely. The collections, novellas, anthologies, experiments, and genre-bending projects we share with the world are not only books we emphatically believe in, but they are also books we feel showcase the wild possibilities of contemporary literature. With that, it’s important to note that both Caryl and I are writers and readers first. Even if I didn’t co-own/manage Rescue Press, I’d still want these beautiful books on my shelf. Is that a nerdy thing to say?
NE: Define haunt.
DK: Gladly. When I say we seek out manuscripts that “haunt” us I mean we look for books that refuse to leave us alone. In other words, Rescue Press produces books the reader can’t shake; the authors we work with shock, surprise, confuse, bewilder, entertain, and recalibrate us in astonishing ways, and that’s exactly what good literature should do. I mean, doesn’t that sound like a lovely kind of haunting? Who wouldn’t want ghosts like that in their lives?
NE: And what is Rescue Press’ manuscript acquisition process? i.e., do you seek out authors?
DK: That’s a great question. Though we continue to solicit work from writers we admire, we also publish manuscripts that come to us through our Open Prose reading period and our annual Black Box Poetry Prize. The Open Prose Series is edited by the phenomenal writers Zach Savich and Hilary Plum, and our goal is to support the wider discussion of contemporary literary prose. Submissions are open each year during the month of January, and the first book in the series (Anne Germanacos’s Tribute) was just released May 1st. The Black Box Poetry Prize is entering its fourth year, and writers can submit full-length poetry collections to the contest during the month of June (there’s no singular aesthetic here—we’re interested in all forms, styles, and voices). Past winners of the contest include Blueberry Morningsnow (Whale in the Woods), Todd Melicker (Rendezvous), and Bridgette Bates (whose debut collection will be released next fall). Oh, and I should mention that we are very excited to announce that this year’s Black Box Prize will be judged by Maggie Nelson. More information can be found here.