Thursday, August 27, 2009

Field Guide feature in the Andover Townsman

According to staff writer Judy Wakefield of the Andover Townsman, "[Field Guide editor Tara] Masih's research shows the short short story was popular centuries ago across the world." True story.

You can read the whole feature here, and if you are in the Andover area this fall, you can catch Tara reading with flash fiction writer Sue Williams at the Flint Memorial Library in North Reading, MA on Tuesday, September 22 at 7:00 pm.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How Some People Make a Chapbook

We're thrilled to announce the release of Sean Lovelace's chapbook How Some People Like Their Eggs, the winner of our third annual short short chapbook contest. More details about the book are here.

Our fabulous chief book designer Rebecca Saraceno and I letterpressed the covers of How Some People Like Their Eggs at The Museum of Printing in North Andover, Mass. This has become a fun annual tradition for the winning chapbook cover.

Here's how we do it:
First we set the type. This foundry type is called Stymie.

Then we cut the paper down to size using this giant paper cutter.

Once we had cover-size sheets, we used a manual Vandercook press to roll out 350 covers printed with the first color (black).

Then we put each cover back through the Vandercook to print the second color (yellow) and set them out to dry on every possible flat surface. Rebecca carved the silverware linoleum cuts herself.

After a 14-hour day of printing each cover by hand, we celebrated the beautiful covers with exhaustion and a flat tire on 93. But it was worth it to have each cover carefully and lovingly made to house Sean's amazing stories! Special thanks to The Museum of Printing for the use of their equipment and to Red Sun Press for carefully collating and binding the printed interior and the covers and endpapers we supplied. The chapbooks are produced in a limited 300 copy run, so order yours here today!

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Publishers Weekly gives the Field Guide a starred review!

The whole review is so good, it's hard to know which part to quote, so I'll just quote the whole thing:

Accessible enough for pleasure reading but instructive enough for the classroom, this volume brings together brief essays by 25 writers known for their talent in flash fiction, aka the “short short story,” roughly defined as a tale “1-3 pages and 250-1,000 words” long. Along with personal musings on the genre, each author provides a prompt, and their own short piece to illustrate it. Editor and fiction writer Masih provides a remarkably thorough history of flash fiction, dating the phrase “short short story” to a 1926 issue of Collier’s Weekly. Contributors include award-winning writer Jayne Anne Phillips, who writes that “one-page fiction should hang in the air of the mind like an image made of smoke”; Shouhua Qi shares his thoughts on the Chinese short short, which they also call a “Smoke-Long story,” as in the time it takes to smoke a cigarette; and Vanessa Gebbie, who reminds us of Hemmingway's famous 6-word story: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Robert Olen Butler and Steve Almond discuss the difference between flash fiction and prose poetry, the former remarking that “[f]iction is the art form of human yearning”; Almond, meanwhile, chronicles his journey from bad poetry to good short stories. An expansive list of further reading rounds out this smart, fun, provocative guide to an increasingly popular form.

You can read it in its natural habitat here.


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Monday, August 03, 2009

New Pages reviews the Field Guide

Or, more specifically, John Madera reivews the Field Guide in New Pages. "While this field guide certainly flashes, it also illuminates," he says. He has praiseful words for many of the contributors, but of Michael Martone in particular, of whom he writes:

But how could I not fall for an essay that references Victor Shklovsky’s idea of ostranenie, or “defamiliarization?” Michael Martone’s essay may be the one that’s worth the price of admission alone. Beginning as a meditation on titling stories, it ends up a multi-chambered collapsible box of interplaying ideas and crosstalk. Like the stories Martone describes, his essay is “a maze one works one’s way through.” The Oulipian-like exercises are wonderfully insane, and his story, “A Perimenopausal Jacqueline Kennedy, Two Years After the Assassination, Aboard the M/Y Christina, Off Eubeoa, Bound for the Island of Alonnisos, Devastated by a Recent Earthquake, Drinks Her Fourth Bloody Mary with Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr.,” is mind-boggling.

You can read the whole thing here. Thanks, John!

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