During our 2017 submission period, we received almost 230 manuscripts: 87 for the Debut Series, and 141 for the Vella Series. As I’m sure I state every time, these decisions are so difficult, especially because there are so many excellent poems and stories, and they deserve to be told. I limit the Finalist list to roughly 10% of the submissions received in each category; my list of submissions that I had flagged as extraordinary and as serious possibilities for publication was over double that, at closer to a full quarter of the works received. This is all to say that, while we’re certainly celebrating the authors listed below, please also take a moment to celebrate your own work, and the value of your own words, even if I didn’t have room to take them on this year.

Please join me in congratulating the following winners and finalists of our 2017 contest reading period:

Debut Series Winners:
Humming Dirges – Geoff Anderson
Postcards from the New World – Shankar Narayan

Debut Series Finalists:
Bayna-Bayna, In-Between: Poems about Refugees and Loss – Zeina Azzam
Red and Vast – Kristi Carter
Peninsular Scar – Leah Claire Kaminski
Mobile Devices Can’t Smell Honeysuckle – John Meyers
What Paradise – Linda Michel-Cassidy
Never Leave the Foot of an Animal Unskinned – Sara Ryan
Onset – Kate Schultz
The Veteran’s Wife – Laura Budofski Wisniewski

Vella Winners:
A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky – Melissa Fite Johnson
After Bullet – Casandra Lopez
Like Drowning – Victoria Moore

Vella Finalists:
Two Good Ears – Leah Browning
Echo, Unravel – Amy Ash Callista Buchen
Protection – Jonathan Cardew
Triptychs on a White Belt – Yu-han Chao
Decants – Heidi Czerwiec
Terminating Physics [a reference guide] – Bryce Emley
A Small Book of Jumbies – Justin Haynes
23 Minutes to Midnight – Justin Jannise
the burgeoning world – Sonja Johanson
Erasing the Book of Pregnancy – Heather Lanier
The Belle of San Francisco – David Maduli
Pentimento – Alysse McCanna
Onset – Kate Schultz
Your Heroes for Ghosts – Eliot Khalil Wilson

My sincerest thanks to all who entered this year, and for the honor of being able to read your work.

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Happy fall, folks! If you are the author of one of the 228 manuscripts we received between February and May for our annual chapbook contests, you may have been patiently (or perhaps less-than-patiently) waiting for results to be announced, since we estimated results to be ready by the end of September. This post is, sadly, not that announcement. However, we are getting very close and approaching a finalists list for each of the two categories. So, while I hesitate to give a specific date, we should have decisions announced soon. I know that it can be nerve-wracking to not hear about the status of a submission for so long — especially a manuscript — and so I wanted to offer this brief note as reassurance that the news shouldn’t be much longer, and that we are only a few weeks behind and really looking forward to getting the winning works published.

In the meantime, enjoy some recent accomplishments from some of our past contributors:

  • Meg Cowen (PN 11), Co-Editor and Co-founder of Pith and Kin Press, recently released this anthology of selections from the first year of the journal’s online issues. Also includes work from Nancy Chen Long (PN 11) (and yours truly). You can find it here.
  • Stephanie McCarley Dugger — who was a 2014 Vella Co-Winner — has her first full-length poetry collection available for pre-order here.
  • Charles Rafferty — a 2015 Vella Co-Winner — has had two poems in The Writer’s Almanac recently. You can find them here and here.

Thanks for your patience, and keep an eye out for some big announcements here soon.

We are overjoyed to release our final chapbook from our 2016 contest, a Debut Series Co-Winner: Jessica Kim’s “These, Our Bodies.” These poems are at once luminous, hard-wrought, and tender. Jessica is also a talented in visual work, and is the cover’s photographer and graphic designer, making this a truly gorgeous book, inside and out.

You can order a copy here directly, or also look around our Books section, to see if any of our other great titles catch your eye.

You can also see more at our fledgling Instagram, @paper.nautilus (which, for this 30-something millennial, is more intuitive than Twitter), where we share a few more insights to our bookmaking process, day-to-day tasks of being an editor, and shout-outs to former contributors and editors doing great things.

Now that all five of our new titles this year have been published and released, I’ve turned my attention more towards reading the 2017 chapbook entries. While I still have quite a ways to go on the 228 entries we received across categories, I can already tell there are going to be some very difficult decisions. Stay tuned, and hopefully we’ll have some exciting news to share about the results by sometime this September!

We are so pleased to announce the release of John Miller’s Heat Lightning, now available for order! You can purchase a copy here, or over under the books menu, where you may find a few other titles you’d like to pick up.

Miller’s poems received the following praise:

“At the crux of John Miller’s poetry is a search for heat as a way “to know the origin of desire.” This yearning is rooted in the physical world and complicated by empathy for even the most unpleasant places (the site of a bridge demolition) and most unlikable fellow-travelers (late-night partiers singing karaoke). This is the voice of a poet searching for what he knows he won’t find, who “lean[s] into the stinging rain / straining to glimpse / what would teach us to die.” These are beautiful, beautiful poems.”

Lauren Goodwin Slaughter, author of a lesson in smallness, recipient of the 2012 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, Editor-in-Chief at PoemMemoirStory.

* * * *

“John Miller’s debut collection is deft, adroit–downright beautiful. The wise old cormorant Coleridge teaches that poetic genius unleashes via the balance or reconciliation of opposition. Around every corner in these elegantly crafted poems, Miller’s balance beam brain beckons, reconciles, gets shook, stays lit up. Tenacity; desire and hope in equipoise; deific baritone! From haunting to jaunty to moving, what’s clever rams into what’s wise again and again. These days so many poems dance us and demand that we are impressed with their sway. Miller’s debut steps a full fathom farther: these are the generous, subtle musics that linger in your ear.”

Abraham Smith, author of Ashagalomancy; Only Jesus Could Icefish in Summer; Hank; and Whim Man Mammon.

We have just one more chapbook to release this year: another beautiful collection of poems that I can’t want to hand-stitch and have ready to share with all of you. Every once in a while, I share some progress shots of the assembly (and other writing-related moments) on our new-ish instagram.

If you think you have a manuscript we might love, our annual contest ends May 31st, 2017 — that is just ONE WEEK. You can find all the details you need at our Submittable. We hope to see your book release announcement here next year!

We are so pleased to announce the release of Anita Olivia Koester’s, Arrow Songs, now available for order! You can purchase a copy here, or over under the books menu, where you may find a few other titles you’d like to pick up.

Koester’s poems received the following praise:

Arrow Songs is what becomes of Cupid’s arrow once the target has been hit and the flesh is open to receive — it is the body in the rapture and injury of love. There is music throughout — repetition, refrains, alliteration, that assonance that keens, the grief that seems to lullaby, the desire so insistent you listen, you follow, you let the beat shape you. In these heartbreakingly beautiful poems “no one is ever lost, only transformed.
Arisa White

We have two more chapbooks to release this year, one of which is currently part-assembled in my living room, and awaiting its hand-stitched binding.

If you think you have a manuscript we might love, our annual contest ends May 31st, 2017. You can find all the details you need at our Submittable. We hope to see your book release announcement here next year!

One final thought: if you are in Salem, Massachusetts or the surrounding area next week, please consider checking out the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, May 5th – 7th, which will have some wonderful workshops, readings, a small press fair, and a lot of wonderful people. Hope to see some of you there!

We are so pleased to announce the release of Eloisa Amezcua’s, Symptoms of Teething, now available for order! You can purchase a copy here, or over under the books menu, where you may find a few other titles you’d like to pick up.

Amezcua’s poems received the following praise:

Here is a book of poems that is, at every turn, deeply invested in the kinds of love we share—with each other, with ourselves, with our pasts, and with our futures. In one moment, “we fall asleep / and there is no more falling.” In the next, the morning where “we fabricate each / other into being.” I am so grateful to Eloisa Amezcua for all her fabrications, for building us this little museum of love.
Kaveh Akbar, Calling a Wolf a Wolf

We have three more chapbooks to release this year, with two titles very close to release

If you think you have a manuscript we might love, our annual contest ends May 31st, 2017. You can find all the details you need at our Submittable. We hope to see your book release announcement here next year!

We are excited to announce the release of Michael Cuglietta’s chapbook, Clams in White Wine, now available for order! You can purchase a copy here, or over under the books menu, where you may find a few other titles you’d like to pick up.

Cugiletta’s collection of short fiction received the following praise from Jaimy Gordon, National Book Award winner for Lord of Misrule:

“An air of fly-by-night, strip mall, paycheck to paycheck impermanence laces the crafty short tales of this Florida writer, in which the one thing you can count on is good fast food — Szechuan dumplings, Cuban sandwiches with sweet fried plaintain, cream-piled cupcakes white brown and red. Michael Cuglietta’s characters at least know how to eat well in this anxious world. What to do with the anger, grief and loss lurking just under their place mats is another — no, the very same — story.”

Clams in White Wine is the first of our five 2016 chapbook contest winners to be released, with Eloisa Amezcua’s collection of poems, Symptoms of Teething, to follow soon.

If you think you have a manuscript we might love, we are one month into our annual contest, which ends May 31st, 2017. You can find all the details you need at our Submittable. We hope to see your book release announcement here next year!

I have been opening the Vella and Debut Series Chapbook Contests on February 15th for the past several years — which also happens to be my birthday. But this year, I just did have a chance to prepare in time, and that deadline came quietly. So it made me really happy that a few writers contacted Paper Nautilus and asked if we’d be accepting manuscripts this year. It felt like this pattern had become something people looked forward to, and that was a nice reminder of how much I enjoy doing this work.

Submissions opened yesterday, February 17, and will be open until May 31. You can submitt — or find all the details you’ll need on each of the contest categories — here.

Sadly, the annual issues of Paper Nautilus are on a hiatus. That doesn’t mean they’re permanently discontinued, but it does mean that we’re unable to juggle that project right now. My amazing staff who have been reading and voting on the submissions for the annual issues, have largely moved on to other stages of their lives where they can’t contribute as much anymore. It seems like the obvious solution to that is simply find more staff to serve as editors; my life has also shifted in a way where I don’t have as much time to devote to Paper Nautilus. I enjoy the work of the chapbooks so much more, and I also believe it has a more significant impact for the writer than publishing an individual work, which guided this decision. As I’ve noted in previous posts, it may also be time to reassess the publishing landscape, and figure out if a print periodical is the best way to support a writer’s work. So, more on this sometime, when I myself know more.

In the meantime, please tell the writers in your life to send their 16-24 page manuscripts of any and all literary genres our way!

Dear friends, we all know today is a historic day, and one that — for many, many people — represents an ugly and terrifying change in American politics and policies. There have been reports that the White House website has already removed pages on climate change, health care, and LGBT rights. But we also know that there has been injustice for a long time before today, too. Which is why, more than ever, I am so honored to be able to share this collection of work from marginalized identities nearly two years in the making.

papernautilus_excavatinghonesty

Please take a moment to download this free digital anthology. Feel free to share it widely: with your students, your neighbors — your friends of all political persuasions, but especially those who have felt perplexed or uncomfortable or even offended by those speaking out against the administration and recent acts of resistance and speaking out. I have always believed that it is our stories, one at a time, that can bridge our experiences and show us what true empathy can really look like and become; it is so much harder to shrug off what happens to others once we are offered the finite details that make up another person’s life.

Deep thanks to all the authors who shared their work with us and allowed us in turn to share their stories — and my deepest thanks to Talisha, who is one of the most brilliant, ambitious, and compassionate people I’ve ever had the joy of working alongside.

2016 issue and into 2017

January 12, 2017

We managed to wrap up the 2016 issue of Paper Nautilus just in time — received back from the printer on December 23, 2016 — to finish up the year with a collection of really incredible writing. We received a few emails about how much contributors are enjoying this issue, both in content and design, and we couldn’t be happier. If you want to check it our for yourself, you can order a copy of the 2016 (or any other) issue here: https://readpapernautilus.wordpress.com/issues/ for just $8. Recent orders will be shipped out tomorrow. We’ll also be shipping out international contributor copies tomorrow as well, who haven’t been forgotten, but do take a few extra steps at the post office. Rest assured they are on their way!

Keep an eye out for our digital anthology very soon. I know there have been many claims of “soon” for this project that have turned out to be relative, but Talisha and I are working like mad to get this wrapped up before the next two weeks are through. Your patience means the world to me.

Our five chapbook titles in progress are coming along beautifully, and I cannot wait for when they are ready to be released and shared. It is incredible to think that the chapbook contests for 2017 should be re-opening in about a month!

Thanks, as always, for your readership, your words, and your support. Creative acts matter more than ever, and even when I can’t devote as much time as I wish to supporting this press, I am always delighted and honored to be able to support the writing of others through this small way that I am able to.

xo,
Lisa