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.


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.


It is always bittersweet to announce these winners each year. I am thrilled that enough writers trusted us to send us 220 manuscripts to review, and that I had the honor of reading these collections that few others have had the opportunity to read. And then knowing that I’ll get to work closely with a handful of these writers and help make their manuscript a finished chapbook is always exciting. All of that is pretty incredible. But it’s also sometimes hard to deliver over 200 rejections to individual writers in one sitting on a Saturday morning, knowing that at least some of these people will probably be pretty disappointed, and perhaps doubt the quality of their work. There were many, many more manuscripts even beyond the finalists listed here that I would publish in a heartbeat if Paper Nautilus could take them on. So, please keep writing and doing your important work, and it will find the right press at the right time.

Below is a list of winners and finalists in each category. We received almost 90 Debut Series entries, and over 130 Vella Entries.

Debut Series Winners:
Jess Kim: These, Our Bodies
John Miller: Heat Lightning

Debut Series Finalists:
Lisa DeSiro: Simple as a Sonnet
Melody Nielsen: Navelgazer
Jennifer Bradpiece: Lullabies for End Times
Jacquelyn Shah: Small Fry
Woody Woodger: Postcards from Glasshouse Drive
Robin Parsons: Burnt Offering
Ellene Moore: What We Do with our Hands after Flood
Kelly Bancroft: Agnes
Laurie Barton: Ring My Bell
Kolleen Carney: Your Hand Has Fixed the Firmament

Vella Chapbook Winners:
Eloisa Amezcua: Symptoms of Teething
Michael Cuglietta: The Feast of Jupiter
Anita Olivia Koester: Arrow Songs

Vella Chapbook Finalists:
Jennifer Van Alstyne: Pelt
Eliot Khalil Wilson: The Lunatic’s Left-Hand Man
Massiel Ladron De Guevara: Wild Horse
Kat Meads: Miss Jane Repurposes
Vivian Wagner: Erratics
Joyce Goldenstern: Way Stops Americana
Billi MacTighe: Simulacrum
Brett Riley: Movies and Daydreams
Marina Carreira: I sing to that bird knowing he won’t sing back
Victoria Moore: Au Bateau
Anne-Marie Yerks: The Cat Photographer
Holly Woodward: Read Whatever You Want Into This
Pedro Ponce: The Sign Crash

Thank you again for sharing your work with us.

I can hardly believe that we’re nearly midway through August already, and am stunned at how quickly Summer has passed. We have some exciting things in progress that we’d hope to have done, but are not quite to fruition yet.

Kathryn Kulpa’s “Girls on Film” was sent to the printer today! Be on the look out for it in the next two weeks or so, and please consider placing an order for this stunning short fiction collection. Fellow 2015 Vella Winner Jill Khoury’s “Chance Operations” will be quick to follow, too!

Talisha and I have been devoting a lot of time to “Excavating Honesty: an Anthology of Rage and Hope in America,” and we have made huge amounts of progress this summer. There were so many excellent works submitted — and a handful we are still actively discussing — but we expect to have this digital anthology released some time in September 2016. I am confident it will be well worth the wait.

Because I had initially hoped the anthology would have already been completed by the beginning of Summer, I had also anticipated on having that time to review Chapbook submissions — and had also not necessarily planned on teaching an intensive Summer class the last six weeks (but, hey, those bills aren’t going to pay themselves, unfortunately). All of this is to say that — surprise! — chapbook decisions are also delayed as well. The new goal is October 1st for results. I know that is a long time to wait for those of you who sent in manuscripts in mid-February, but I also have manuscripts of my own languishing for what seems like forever in other publishers’ Submittables, so I definitely understand and thank you for your patience!

The 2016 issue of Paper Nautilus is, at the moment, still slated for it’s late fall/early winter release of around Thanksgiving.

Like most small presses, we have been busy here at PN: all three of our 2015 Debut Series chapbook winners have been produced and released — and some have even sold out and gone into their second printing already! I was nervous about exploring handmade chapbooks, and there has definitely been a learning curve in figuring out the time constraints in sewing them by hand, but they ultimately appear to be some of our most successful titles. I couldn’t be more thrilled. We have two more 2015 Vella titles that are in very late stages of layout and just waiting for some final touches, and those should be available very soon, too.

Our 2016 chapbook contest period finished up in mid-May, and I am excited to begin reviewing the manuscripts we received. Entries were down probably about 35% from last year. I love being able to help support as many titles as possible, but having fewer to read and produce is likely a good thing, since this past year has been a bit overwhelming.

Submissions for our 2016 annual issue are open for roughly two more weeks, or until 6/15.

My amazing Co-Editor Talisha and I are working hard at getting the “Excavating Honesty” digital anthology closer. We have gotten some incredible work, and are anxious to finish deciding on submissions and make the final product available, as I’m sure all of the writers who’ve patiently waited on this project are as well. This has been a long work in progress, so thanks to all of you for hanging in there while we’ve been working towards making a strong collection. It means the world to us.

And another note on long delays, but directed toward general submissions to our annual issue: we have had some staff who needed to leave PN for various reasons, and the staff who remain with us, myself included, have day jobs and demanding, complex lives. None of us get paid to work on this journal or small press, but we do it out of a desire to support good writing and writers. So please bear with any backlogs and delays kindly — we’ve gotten a few nasty messages from writers who were unhappy about how long it’s taken to respond to their work. I am not, in general, a patient person, so I can understand the frustration at having to wait, especially with something so personal as one’s writing. Please just remember that there are real people at the other end of Submittable or an email you send (both at PN and other journals) who are not customer service bots, but are donating time to these publishing projects out of love.

Expect to see some updates on the final two 2015 Vella releases soon, and until then, I hope you all enjoy the long days of late light we get this time of year.

Lisa Mangini

2016 and Looking Forward

February 13, 2016

We have just released two of our 2015 Vella Chapbook Winners – Charles Rafferty’s Diminution and Christina Olson’s Weird Science – and have several more late in the proofing stage and very close to the end of production. Which means I’m shocked to realize that it’s already time for all of you to start thinking about what manuscripts you may want to send to our 2016 contests! Both the 2016 Vella Chapbook Contest and the 2016 Debut Series Contest open February 15, and run through May 15th. We cannot wait to see what incredible work we receive this year; the decisions get more difficult each time, and the number of entries keeps growing. We are overjoyed to be a place where so many writers trust us with their work, and are amazed at the rate that we seem to be growing.

Which brings me to another point: Paper Nautilus has gotten so big that we really need to consider how to make our production more manageable. This means making some changes, which always seem to make people a bit nervous. But I think we can make these transitions in a way that everyone can benefit from and be all the happier with.

It’s worth noting that nothing with the chapbook contests will change. Vella winners will get 100 perfect-bound copies + ISBN, Debut Series will get 50 hand-bound copies, and we will NEVER pressure our authors to make additional purchases or reach pre-sale goals. We believe that artists should be able to earn money from their work, but not that they must reduce their art into something that should be profitable. That’s why we give our authors the books and let them decide. And while we’re a bit behind on our production schedule from last year’s amazing winners, the small press end of Paper Nautilus is strong and successful as-is.

The annual issue, however, is more challenging. It requires an enormous amount of time from both my staff and myself, and we think that our production schedule makes it difficult to obtain the best work we can. By accepting submissions all year, we get backlogged quickly, which means lots of wonderful work gets withdrawn before we can even read it – and also makes for some frustration for writers who have to wait so long to hear back. To address this, we’re closing our reading period on June 15, 2016. Moving forward, our reading period will run February 15 – June 15. 

We are also considering potential format changes four our 2017 issue. We love print for a number of reasons, but it can sometimes really limit who can see our authors’ work, which we think is potentially a disservice to them. No decisions have been made on this yet, and we’re surveying other editors and writers to get a full sense of what makes the most sense and keeps as many people happy as possible. More to come on this in the future — and we’d love to hear your thoughts as well!

And we’re still making progress on the Digital Anthology, another thing we’re beyond excited about, but also behind on, which is all the more reason to keep thinking about how we can shift our process to run more effectively. Stay tuned for more on Excavating Honesty‘s release, which we’re hoping will be late spring!

Thanks as always for being a part of this; having so much interest and excellent writing is a great problem for us to have, and it’s because of your support of us.

Lisa Mangini