Archive for November, 2016

Small Press Week #SPWshop

Last day of Small Press Week! Today we’re engaging in capitalism, since it’s also Small Business Saturday!

Most of our titles could only be released by a small, independent publisher not beholden to a large corporate editorial structure. Upper Rubber Boot has the freedom to take risks. Poetry books, especially, are hard to sell, but, I believe, vitally important to the literary conversation—every one that we publish is a risk. I also love stories that are hard to quantify and pigeonhole, which can make our anthologies riskier to publish because they aren’t absolutely clearly one genre or another.

We exist on the fringe. It’s even in our name (Upper Rubber Boot is Canadian for a place that’s far away from the center of things, and probably uncool and insignificant).

Here are some of our riskiest titles:

  • Flight 505, a rock-and-roll road trip turns violent after an ill-considered heroin theft in this chilling novella by ex-Sparks bassist Leslie Bohem, who also wrote A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5, Dante’s Peak, and the mini-series Taken.

    [Amazon ; elsewhere]

  • Three short books of poetry in a single volume: brothers Anders and Kai Carlson-Wee explore America by train; F. Douglas Brown and Geffrey Davis explore fatherhood in the era of Black Lives Matter; and Enid Shomer explores environmental destruction and hope for the future.

    [Amazon ; elsewhere]

  • Memory, a novelette by Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría (trans. Lawrence Schimel) of oppression, genetic engineering, non-binary relationships, and—you guessed it—memory, on a colony on a terraformed Mars.

    [Amazon ; elsewhere]



Previous URB Small Press Week posts:

26 November 2016

Small Press Week #SPWreads

Some books I’m interested in that other presses have released:

Antigona Gonzalez
Sara Uribe
Les Figues
Assdeep in Wonder
Christopher Gudgeon
Anvil Press
Home Tour 2014 booklet
Assi Manifesto
Natasha Kanape Fontaine
Mawenzi House
Canto General: Song of the Americas
Pablo Neruda
Tupelo Press
The Conjoined: A Novel
Jen Sookfong Lee
Roberto Harrison
Green Lantern
Tiana Clark
Bull City Press
How To Draw a Rhinoceros
Kate Sutherland
Book Thug
I Am Providence
Nick Mamatas
Night Shade
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Tommy Pico
Birds, LLC
Lament for the Afterlife
Lisa L. Hannett
Literature for Nonhumans
Gabriel Gudding
Ahsahta Press
Anne Keefe
Bull City Press
Allison Joseph
Mayapple Press
Background fabric
John Scalzi
Subterranean Press
The Missing Museum
Amy King
Tarpaulin Sky
Monsieur de Bougrelon
Jean Lorrain
Spurl Editions
Myriad Lands
Stories by: Tade Thompson, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Lyn McConchie, Daniel Heath Justice, Dilman Dila, Daniel Ausema, and more.
Guardbridge Books
Khadijah Queen
Litmus Press
Notes on the Assemblage
Juan Felipe Herrera
City Lights Books
The Performance of Becoming Human
Daniel Borzutzky
BAP Books
Winner of the 2016 National Book Awards for Poetry
Pirate Utopia
Bruce Sterling
Tachyon Publications
Remembering Animals
Brenda Iijima
Nightboat Books
Selected Works
Jose Antonio Ramos Sucre
Noemi Press
Some Nights It’s Entertainment; Some Other Nights Just Work
Matt Robinson
Gaspereau Press
Street Magicks
Stories by Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Bear, Catherynne M. Valente, and more.
Prime Books
Sympathetic Little Monster
Ricochet Editions
Cameron Awkward-Rich
Vickie Gendreau
Book Thug
Vile Men
Rebecca Jones-Howe
Dark House Press
When the Ghosts Come Ashore
Jacqui Germain
Button Poetry
When the World Wounds
Kiini Ibura Salaam
Third Man Books
Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone
Sequoia Nagamatsu
Black Lawrence
Words Are My Matter
Ursula K. Le Guin
Small Beer Press
Written in the Dark: Five Poets in the Siege of Leningrad
Ugly Duckling


Previous URB Small Press Week posts:

1 comment 25 November 2016

Small Press Week #SPWthanks

It’s Small Press Week! Today we’re focusing on who and what makes us grateful to be in publishing.

First of all, I’m grateful to you. Thanks for stopping by! Readers are some of the best people I know, and I am grateful when you invest your time in reading our books. Ask any writer how much work it is to write a story or a poem or an entire novel. It’s similarly hard work to edit, design and format the actual book. Without you, our efforts would be for nothing.

I’m extraordinarily grateful to work with so many wickedly clever editors and writers, who are also often luminously kind and good people. Special shout-outs to Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, who edited Apocalypse Now: Poems & Prose from the End of Days and carries the Floodgate Poetry Series every year from cradle to grave; to Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Wieland, who are currently editing Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk & Eco-Speculation; and to H. L. Nelson, who edited Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good with me, and who will be co-editing another women-focused anthology with me next year.

I’m thankful for my family, friends, and co-workers, who are constant sources of support and inspiration. A special shout out to my husband, who juggles so many things so that I can keep this business going.

I’m also thankful for gummy bears and Kroger’s double chocolate protein bars, which have been a significant source of comfort to me.

Finally, thank you to everybody who makes the human race look a little more human. I’m so glad that you are here with me.


Previous URB Small Press Week posts:

1 comment 24 November 2016

Small Press Week #SPWfutures

It’s Small Press Week! Today we’re talking about the future.

Our next release, in spring 2017, is Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk & Eco-Speculation, an anthology of fiction focusing on solutions to environmental disasters, and the people living during tipping points and inhabiting the crucial moments when great change can be made. Follow the book on Facebook to keep in the loop on this release!

Next autumn, we’ll be releasing an anthology of long poems, Warning! Poems May Be Longer Than They Appear, co-edited by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum and Matthew Silverman.

Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 4, featuring some kickass poets, will be released in January 2018.

We’ve also got big plans for two still-unnamed anthologies of women-focused fiction for 2018, edited respectively by Octavia Cade, and by H. L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam!


Previous URB Small Press Week posts:

1 comment 23 November 2016

Small Press Week #SPWzoom

Today for Small Press Week we’re zooming in on 2016 releases. Upper Rubber Boot has two releases this year: The Museum of All Things Awesome And That Go Boom, an anthology of derring-do, explosions and blunt force trauma, and Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 3, comprised of a short poetry book by Enid Shomer, another co-written by Cave Canem fellows F. Douglas Brown and Geffrey Davis, and a third co-written by brothers Anders and Kai Carlson-Wee. We thought we’d have some fun with this and just tantalize you with some snippets:



















Previous URB Small Press Week posts:

1 comment 22 November 2016

Small Press Week #SPWpast

It’s Small Press Week! Today we’re talking about the history of our press.

I’m Joanne Merriam, the Publisher of Upper Rubber Boot. I had toyed with the idea of starting a press for over a decade, since my days as a staffer at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, where I was one of two staff, doing everything the Executive Director didn’t do (essentially running the office and our programming, and helping our members and the public understand submission etiquette and industry standards). Working there both made me feel like running a publishing company was a possibility, and gave me a great primer on much of what I needed to know.

After I immigrated to the United States, I was having trouble connecting with other professional writers, mostly because I was mired in poverty and couldn’t attend workshops or the like. I met Molly Peacock at a reading, and she suggested that I start something that made writers come to me, like she had started The Best Canadian Poetry in English series.

I started URB in 2011. I ran a very modest kickstarter which gave me the funds to buy 100 ISBNs, and spent my two-week Christmas break releasing and promoting Heather Kamins’ Blueshifting and 140 And Counting: an anthology of writing from 7×20.

In early 2012, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum approached me about an apocalyptic anthology, which became Apocalypse Now: Poems & Prose from the End of Days, containing stories by Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, and Pinckney Benedict. I started to feel “real” at that point!

Andrew has stayed on as an acquisitions editor for the Floodgate Poetry Series, which annually releases three chapbooks (short poetry books) in one volume. He is also co-editing the forthcoming Warning! Poems May Be Longer Than They Appear.

After the success of Apocalypse Now, URB has released a number of anthologies of speculative fiction: Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good, How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens, and The Museum of All Things Awesome and That Go Boom.

We’ve also released single-author books of poetry by Peg Duthie (Measured Extravagance), T. D. Ingram (Hiss of Leaves), Lyn Lifshin (Marilyn Monroe: Poems), Corey Mesler (The Sky Needs More Work), of fiction by RJ Astruc (Signs Over the Pacific and Other Stories), Sergey Gerasimov (The Mask Game), and most recently by Argentine author Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría and translated into English by Lawrence Schimel (Memory: A Novelette).

I feel tremendously fortunate to get to work with talented writers on books that are important, that talk about vital things, and that challenge readers to think and act!


Previous URB Small Press Week posts:

21 November 2016

Small Press Week #SPWsecrets

It’s Small Press Week! Look for these hashtags this week on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and other social media sites:



Today, we’re sharing some secrets and behind-the-scenes glimpses of life in small press publishing.

Small presses come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. Some use digital typesetting and print-on-demand technology to fulfill orders one at a time, while others produce limited editions on small letterpress machines of their own, while still others order a few thousand copies from a printer and maintain an inventory. Some run their own associated online or physical bookstores. Some employ 30 people and some are one person’s passionate hobby.


Upper Rubber Boot is a micropress, because of the small number of titles we release a year (typically 2 or 3). Because of our low profits, I run URB as a part-time job, while holding down a full-time job as a program co-ordinator and admin at a local hospital. It can be tiring! Some days I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. But it also means I can choose projects with very slim margins, or which I know will lose me a small amount of money (most of our poetry titles lose money in their first year, and some never break even). I have a lot of freedom to publish what I love.

I also have an almost pathological need to create order out of disorder, and getting everything just right scratches that itch for me. And it’s an amazing privilege to be able to work with so many intensely talented writers, and to make actual physical things that go out into the world and have a life independent of me. Curating the stories that will appear in an anthology, or helping one of my editors to take a book from cradle to—well, not grave, since none of our titles are out of print, so let’s say, healthy middle age—is extremely satisfying work.

20 November 2016

Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 3

“We like to say that we kind of beg, borrow and steal,” said Brown. “We beg one another to become better fathers, through the work and our conversations. We borrow from the things we are reading, and other people who are working with the same themes. And we steal from one another.”
                                                         —PBS Newshour


Buy print (978-1-937794-81-1):

Buy ebook (978-1-937794-37-8):

Go to: About | Goodreads | Reviews
Released 15 November 2016



About this book:

Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 3 collects three chapbooks in a single volume: brothers Anders and Kai Carlson-Wee’s Northern Corn invites us on a trip across an America of dust, trains, poverty, dignity, and dreams; Begotten, co-written by Cave Canem fellows F. Douglas Brown and Geffrey Davis, bravely and tenderly explores fatherhood in the era of Black Lives Matter; and Enid Shomer’s Driving through the Animal lovingly moves between unflinching witness of destruction and hope for the future.

It’s the third volume in the Floodgate Poetry Series, edited by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum. Chapbooks—short books under 40 pages—arose when printed books became affordable in the 16th century. The series is in the tradition of 18th and 19th century British and American literary annuals, and the Penguin Modern Poets Series of the 1960s and ’70s.


Anders Carlson-Wee is a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow and the author of Dynamite, winner of the 2015 Frost Place Chapbook Competition (Bull City Press). His work has appeared in Ploughshares, New England Review, Narrative Magazine, AGNI, Poetry Daily, The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Best New Poets, The Best American Nonrequired Reading series, and many other journals. The recipient of Ninth Letter‘s Poetry Award and New Delta Review‘s Editors’ Choice Prize, he was named runner up for the 2016 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize. Anders lives in Minneapolis, where he is a 2016 McKnight Foundation Creative Writing Fellow.

Kai Carlson-Wee is the author of RAIL, forthcoming from BOA Editions. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and his work has appeared in Narrative, Best New Poets, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, and The Missouri Review, which selected his poems for the 2013 Editor’s Prize. His photography has been featured in Narrative Magazine and his co-directed poetry film, Riding the Highline, received jury awards at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival and the 2016 Arizona International Film Festival. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he lives in San Francisco and teaches poetry at Stanford University.

Together, they have coauthored two other chapbooks: Mercy Songs (Diode Editions) and Two-Headed Boy (Organic Weapon Arts), winner of the 2015 David Blair Memorial Chapbook Prize.

F. Douglas Brown is the author of Zero to Three (University of Georgia Press 2014), recipient of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, selected by Tracy K. Smith. Brown holds an MA in Literature and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow. His poems have been published by The Academy of American Poets, The Chicago Quarterly (CQR), The Virginia Quarterly (VQR), The Sugar House Review, Cura Magazine, Vinyl Poetry and Prose Magazine, and Muzzle Magazine. Brown was featured in Poets & Writers Magazine as one of their Debut Poets of 2014 (Jan/Feb 2015).

He has been an educator for over twenty years, and teaches English at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, an all-boys Jesuit school. When he is not teaching, writing or with his two children, Isaiah and Olivia, he is busy DJing in the greater Los Angeles area.

Geffrey Davis is the author of Revising the Storm (BOA Editions 2014), winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Finalist. His honors include fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center, the Anne Halley Poetry Prize, the Dogwood Prize in Poetry, the Wabash Prize for Poetry, the Leonard Steinberg Memorial/Academy of American Poets Prize, and nominations for the Pushcart Prize. His poems have been published by The Academy of American Poets, Crazyhorse, The Greensboro Review, The Massachusetts Review, Mississippi Review, The New York Times Magazine, Nimrod, and Sycamore Review, among other places. Davis grew up in Tacoma, Washington—though he was raised by much more of the Pacific Northwest—and he teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Enid Shomer is the author of four previous books of poetry, two chapbooks, and three prize-winning books of fiction, most recently The Twelve Rooms of the Nile (Simon & Schuster, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Poetry, Paris Review, Parnassus, Boulevard, and many other magazines as well as more than sixty anthologies and textbooks. In 2013 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the Florida Humanities Council. Among her many poetry prizes are the Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize from Poetry, the Celia B. Wagner Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize. She has twice been the subject of feature interviews on National Public Radio—on “All Things Considered” and “Sunday Edition.” A Visiting Writer at many colleges and universities, Shomer lives in Tampa, Florida. Her new full-length book of poetry, Shoreless, won the Vachel Lindsay Prize and is forthcoming in 2017 from Twelve Winters Press.



Begotten turns a poetic lens on fatherhood, examining how fathers and sons thrive, how they falter, how they learn.

—Christi Craig, Conversations in Poetry, Lessons in Life: Q&A (& Giveaway) with F. Douglas Brown and Geffrey Davis

When poets Geffrey Davis and F. Douglas Brown first met at a poetry retreat in 2012, they instantly connected in discussing fatherhood and the poetry that sprang from that experience. Over time, that relationship grew, and they began writing poetry that came directly out of their conversations. Soon, they were even borrowing each other’s lines or writing stanzas or whole poems back and forth, as a kind of call and response. . . .

“We like to say that we kind of beg, borrow and steal,” said Brown. “We beg one another to become better fathers, through the work and our conversations. We borrow from the things we are reading, and other people who are working with the same themes. And we steal from one another.”

—Elizabeth Flock, “Two fathers use poems to teach their kids about growing up black in America,” PBS Newshour Poetry, February 13, 2017

Northern Corn invites us into a dream America is having about itself, wherein the voices are both the road and the kicked-up gravel dust, memory and the occasion for memory, the flame and its shadow. An entrancing investigation of place and self and other, a spell one never wants broken.

—Michael McGriff, on Northern Corn by Anders Carlson-Wee & Kai Carlson-Wee

The argument Northern Corn makes in poem after beautiful poem—the eyes are connected to the mouth is connected to the heart—is one I am glad is in the world.

—Ross Gay, on Northern Corn by Anders Carlson-Wee & Kai Carlson-Wee

The imagined and the unsaid collide head on with specifics so sensory they burn, they freeze, they illuminate, and they turn off the lights at once, leave you in a darkness where everything is at its brightest. These voices have kidnapped me.

—Laura Kasischke, on Northern Corn by Anders Carlson-Wee & Kai Carlson-Wee

Begotten captures the bliss, consternation and heart-thumping ruckus of being both parent and child. A wild and tender ride.

—Tracy K. Smith, on Begotten by F. Douglas Brown & Geffrey Davis

Brown and Davis riff off each other’s work, while embodying in their virtuoso poems a rich chorus of familial voices. Raw, tender, headlong, and scared, these poems about fathers and sons walk the knife’s edge of being a parent in the era of black lives matter. Complexity abounds—’the many sounds that can break a thought/into still sharper shards of thinking’—and despite the generational wounds, the single constant expressed so variously and valiantly in these musical poems is love. Begotten portrays fatherhood with dazzling originality. Don’t miss this book.

—Barbara Ras, on Begotten by F. Douglas Brown & Geffrey Davis

“Have I done anything right” ends one poem in this tough, concentrated collection of tender lyric and formal exploration, but the anxiety runs throughout. Brown and Davis trade flows like an Old School hip-hop duo even as the speakers here trade subjectivities—a son to a father, a father to a son. But that very fluidity rhymes with slipperiness—how precarious the inheritance of father to child when to be someone’s spitting image is to risk being worth the same as saliva on a street. How do dads of sons dance in their twin bodies with and for each other, mothers and daughters, wives and beautiful boys? In Begotten, the poets do the steps and missteps again and again to a rich music that buzzes with pops’s fragile cassette tapes, an old-timey tune cut to a fray of light on loop, the blood-blue pulse of sex, and a live feed from cell- and dash-cams. Make no mistake, these are love poems, maybe because they are fatherhood poems, but likely because the poets want desperately to get fatherhood right(ed) despite their own unstable footing.

—Douglas Kearney, on Begotten by F. Douglas Brown & Geffrey Davis

In Driving through the Animal, Enid Shomer writes of her landscape the way a lover describes the body of their beloved; attention to each freckle, cleft, and scar. With crisp formalism and exquisite detail that calls to mind the sea-worn odes of Seamus Heaney and bodily-fluid-soaked lyric of Kim Addonizio, Enid has crafted an erotic and sobering love song for our dying world, one that asks us to glimpse “the perfume hoarded all day by bees” and insists, “through radiance and filth, through blubbering grief and parabolas of rage,” that we not look away.

—Kendra DeColo, on Driving through the Animal by Enid Shomer

In Enid Shomer’s Driving through the Animal, she is, as she states, a “clear daughter of the tides,” which perhaps explains why her mind moves so deftly between inner and outer concerns, between music and silence, between plenty and scarcity, and between a hope for the future and a reckoning with death. Though her landscapes offer a “visual blessing,” they also wrestle with a frightening diminishment, sometimes ecological and sometimes personal. “It’s hard work to ponder one’s moral/failings,” she confesses; yet, like plovers burying eggs in beach sand—too often “reduced by the smallest foot to a yellow stain”—Shomer nudges her poems into place, trying to offer “a pure voice,” never more endangered than now.

—Jeff Hardin, on Driving through the Animal by Enid Shomer

Enid Shomer’s striking new chapbook, Driving through the Animal, takes the reader into timeless natural kingdoms and on to the immediacy of human relationship with the fluidity of water—back and forth, up and down we go. She gracefully exploits what language can accomplish and the way in which it bridges seemingly permanent distances. Many of these poems hang on the cusp of the temporal as in “a spangled globule on the oily feather of a bird.” Such exactly seen miniscule imagery holds ephemera in space thus extending and slowing the reader’s perceptive field. Delight in Enid Shomer as the record keeper of varied and shifting coastlines—those of vital literal and figurative substance.

—Katherine Soniat, on Driving through the Animal by Enid Shomer

2 comments 15 November 2016


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