Sunday, January 15, 2012

YesYes Books on "Being Indie"

On "Being Indie" is a monthly feature that will be hosted here on TNBBC. We will meet a wide variety of independent authors, publishers, and booksellers as they discuss what being indie means to them.

Meet KMA Sullivan, owner and publisher of YesYes Books

I accidently stumbled across her amazing publishing company a few months ago and it' s been true love ever since. (And I'm not just saying that because one of the YesYes poets, Nate Slawson, premiered a previously unpublished poem here a few weeks ago.)

KMA Sullivan's poetry has been published (or is forthcoming) in Potomac Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Gargoyle, > kill author, diode, and elsewhere. She has been awarded residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in creative non-fiction and from Vermont Studio Center in poetry and is the co-founder and editor of Vinyl Poetry. Today, she defines indie in her terms, while giving you a taste of YesYes Books has to offer....

YesYes Books 

The essence of Indie publishing is independence. And so we are free to publish always and only the work that keep our minds and hearts alive. For YesYes Books that means poetry and prose about sex and love, connection and despair, longing and living.

I want to smell the sound of you eating
My thighs, spread
                                                Like warm apple butter

                                    -from Heavy Petting by Gregory Sherl

We look for words that challenge and sooth; that make us cry and laugh and sweat and search for our partners so we can get busy. Life is a fucking shitstorm. At YesYes Books, we want to read words that are not afraid to live right in the middle of the tornado. And so that’s what we publish.

My pills are blackberry kissing. 
My pills are tiny fish exploding 
in the morning. 
It's 1989 again every where 
I look. My name is Bank Teller's 
Red Button & I am happy 
for lightning bugs & De La Soul 
so happy my boundless affection 
is not lost it's all right my boundless 
affection is only bleeding. 
I wish your knuckles. 
I wish your alligator teeth
your barbed wire love a universe 
where stars explode into congregations 
of birds. 
I wish your fists & exploding birds 
& bruises on my lungs. 
I wish your goodbye hand 
was a derringer muzzled 
into my gut.

                        -from Panic Attack, USA by Nate Slawson

But with freedom comes responsibility.  Since Indie presses are small in size in terms of manpower and capital, we need to make up for that in quality and innovation and commitment so that we earn the trust our authors place in us. As a result, we seek the highest physical quality for the books YesYes produces. We use McNaughton & Gunn for printing. We obsess over paper choices. We seek cover art that can live as art by itself as it also engages in conversation with the poetry that lives inside. We want people to want to touch and hold our books and feel pleasure even before they crack the spine.

 With freedom also comes the ability to take risks and think in new ways.  At YesYes Books we have a strong commitment to innovation. This shows up in who we publish.  Our first three print books are the first full collections for each author. We are also pushing forward a number of poets in our Poetry Shots and Frequency series who do not have full books out yet such as Phillip B. Williams, Ocean Vuong, and Dana Guthrie Martin. We are pairing them with well-known voices including Bob Hicok, Dorothea Lasky, and Ben Mirov.

We Mark Time with Ceremonies

They roam. They build moats. 
They build fierce men named Marcus 
and quote them until we grow tired of listening 
to quotes by men named Marcus. 
They build women whose cunts we bedazzle. 
We gather at the cunts but avoid 
the anuses. But the anuses are free, 
they tell us. 
We aren’t listening. 
We are living like cats now, 
maximizing our time in the sun. 
We are poets. We are all poets. 
Poets is all we are or ever were.

                        -forthcoming POETRY SHOT by Dana Guthrie Martin

Innovation also shows up at YesYes Books through our attention to the electronic landscape. YesYes has been hugely blessed by the crazy work ethic and brilliant brain power of Thomas Patrick Levy. Not only is he a poet to swoon for (check out his chapbook Please Don’t Leave Me Scarlett Johansson and his forthcoming I Don’t Mind if You’re Feeling Alone), he is a dynamite web developer and designer. We are about to roll out the first of three electronic-based poetry initiatives and we can’t wait to share!

To finish, how about one more spot of life in poetry.

from 30 30

I expect a bat to replace the bumblebee trapped between the window’s outside side and its smudged inside. This bat would not need to transform, would be content with its bat-self, it’s wide expanse of wing dependent on its knotted sternum, it’s small smashed face perfect in this weathered light.

 -forthcoming POETRY SHOT by Metta Sáma

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