QuillsEdge co-founder Jane Seitel catching up with sister-Breadloafer Chloe Yelena Miller at Split This Rock
QuillsEdge Press had our coming out party at the Social Justice Book Fair during the Split This Rock Poetry and Politics Festival. We had a great time, talked with lots of poets, pushed our introvert selves to socialize and hand out business cards, and came away exhausted and happy. Hey, we’ve launched a press!
After Judge Barbara Crooker read through our 6 finalists, she wrote us to say she couldn’t decide between her top two choices. Both were so good, and so different, she said. We agreed, and so decided to commit to publishing both.
About our first winner, The Garlic Peelers by Lucia Galloway, Barbara says:
One of the things I look for in a chapbook is unity of theme, keeping in mind Frost’s dictum that if 26 separate poems make up a book, then the 27th poem is the book itself. The Garlic Peelers exemplifies this. I love the stunning title poem, and the way the other poems unfolded, like cloves of garlic from its core. I also admired the variety of forms and voices used, and the central metaphor: women’s lives as many-layered and essential as garlic. I like the way Lucia Galloway plays with multiple levels of meaning (chase/chaste/chastened; skins/scraps/leavings/chaff), the quotes that are salted between sections, and the way each section is introduced by lines that are excerpted and reworked from the title poem. No good recipe is complete without garlic, and no poetry shelf will be complete without this fine book.
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After spending weeks reviewing our 6 finalists, Judge Barbara Crooker wrote to us to say she could not choose between her two favorites – both were so excellent, and so very different from each other. We agreed, so have committed to publishing both. We’re starting the editing process now, so stay tuned about publication information!
Of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife by Suellen Wedmore, Barbara Crooker says:
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife has as its narrators five very different women, five separate personas, five unique voices, like the multi-faceted Fresnel lens used in lighthouses. Each poem is a small gem; “lapidary” comes to mind in describing them. The central metaphor, women finding their strength in adverse and sometimes unchosen circumstances, took my breath away. This is a book of poetry that reads like a novel, and I challenge any reader to come away unmoved.
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In brief, our mission statement:
Quillsedge is a non-profit press dedicated to promoting the work of women poets over the age of fifty through the publication of high quality chapbooks and through building connections and community among older women writers.
And for a bigger picture, our vision statement
The vision of Quillsedge Press is to fight the social invisibility of women poets as we age. We know that these women poets are producing some of the best, most vibrant, and most important contemporary poetry, and we know how often our work is dismissed by editors and editorial committees. To counter this invisibility we plan to publish beautiful chapbooks of highest quality poetry, and to take action to educate the poetry community about why this writing is indispensable.
As a press we take a broad view of what “woman” means and respect gender self-definition. Our goal is to publish great poetry that grows out of the rich variety of living as female: living coupled, partnered, single, having children or not; defining orientation as heterosexual or lesbian with the complex of identities– dyke, queer, trans, butch, femme, etc. Further, we understand that race and gender are integral aspects in the lives of women of color, and women whose first language is other than English.
Our goal is to publish poetry that astounds, delights, explodes, makes startling connections, and both expands and empowers what it is to be a woman writer. We seek poets with a deep commitment to craft, and clear engagement with the world of contemporary poetry. Rather than poems that stay in the realm of memoir or autobiography, we seek poems that launch from the personal, that are resonant with life here and now, that display tenacity, vibrancy, innovation and that explore the timeless and the timely.
Deep respect for women and for the art and craft of poetry are our guiding principles. We intend to grow connections between poets, and so expect the poets we publish to engage with each other’s work through reviews, blogs, tweets, readings, and other publicity. Because we embrace poetry as deeply personal and deeply political we expect our work, and yours, to change the world.