Black Lawrence Publishing



Sapling #100


Dear Sapling Subscribers,


We can hardly believe it: it's our 100th issue! For those of you who have been with us from the start, we're so happy to have kept you among our readers. And for those who have joined us along the way, we hope you're feeling at home here in the Sapling community. Looking back at our now lengthy archive of past issues, we're pretty darn impressed with ourselves. (Interviews with the editors and publishers of Wave Books, Rose Metal Press, Smartish Pace, BOA Editions, CutBank, and The Collagist! Feature articles by Patrick Michael Finn, Christopher Kennedy, and Mary Biddinger! Profiles of conferences and workshops at Tin House, Provincetown, and Colgate!) And we've got so much more on the way.


To kick things off this week, we have the inside scoop on a few book deals from our friends at fellow small presses. Yes Yes Books is open to pre-orders on Nate Slawson's Panic Attack, USA, and they'll throw in free shipping and an e-book download with all pre-orders! Yeah! Go here to get on that train.


Wave Books is offering a deal on translations in honor of their upcoming translation festival: three books for $30! The three-pack includes Micrograms by Jorge Carrera Andrade and translated by Alejandro de Acosta and Joshua Beckman, Into the Snow by Gennady Aygi and translated by Sarah Valentine, and Poet by Default by Tristan Corbière and translated by Noelle Kocot. Go here to check it out.


And finally, a bit of shameless self-promotion (we blush): we're having our very own October Sale right here at Black Lawrence Press. Featured titles include Yelizaveta Renfro’s A Catalogue of Everything in the World, Sandra Kolankiewicz’s Turning Inside Out, and Louella Bryant’s While in Darkness, There is Light. The sale runs through the end of October. Happy reading!


And enjoy Sapling #100!




Kit Frick

Associate Editor / Sapling Editor

Black Lawrence Press

Featured BLP Title: 

What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo

Black Lawrence Press is very proud to offer the U.S. edition of Pascale Petit’s most recent volume of poetry. What the Water Gave Me contains poems in the voice of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Some are close interpretations of Kahlo’s work, while others are parallels or version homages where Petit draws on her experience as a visual artist to create alternative ‘paintings’ with words. More than just a verse biography, this collection explores how Kahlo transformed trauma into art after the artist’s near-fatal bus accident. Petit, with her vivid style, her feel for nature and her understanding of pain and redemption, fully inhabits Kahlo’s world. Each poem is an evocation of “how art works on the pain spectrum,” laced with splashes of ferocious color.




Pascale’s poems are as fresh as paint, and make you look all over again at Frida and her brilliant and tragic life.

—Jackie Kay, Observer Books of the Year


Poems about paintings rarely set off fireworks, but this is ekphrasis with a difference: Petit speaks in Kahlo’s voice with eerie believability.

Time Out London


This arresting collection…exploring the way trauma hurts an artist into creation, celebrates the rebarbative energy with which Kahlo redeemed pain and transformed it into paint.

Ruth Padel, Guardian


No other British poet I am aware of can match the powerful mythic imagination of Pascale Petit.

Les Murray, Times Literary Supplement




Order your copy today!


Contest Profile


Award Name: Boom Poetry Chapbook Contest, Bateau Press


Award Type: Chapbook publication ($250 and 15 copies of the chapbook)


Deadline: December 31, 2011


Who's Eligible: poets


How to Submit:


Judging: Manuscripts are read anonymously by Bateau Press editors.


A note on the press: Bateau publishes beautiful chapbooks and journals with drool-worthy letterpress covers. Check out a copy of their journal or a previous Boom winning chapbook to get a feel for the editors' aesthetic.

Literary Magazine Profile


Title: Caketrain journal


Type: print




Publishes: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction (no book reviews, please), and visual art


How to Submit:


Note on Submissions:

Caketrain is currently considering submissions for Caketrain Issue 10, tentatively slated for release in late 2012.


Bonus: Caketrain is also a small press and runs an annual chapbook contest. Look for an interview with the editors in an upcoming issue of Sapling!






Small Press Profile


Press: H_NGM_N BKS




Publishes: the portable document format chapbook series as well as full-length collections of poetry


How to Submit


Notes on Submissions: The portable document format chapbook series accepts submissions of poetry and prose year-round. Published chapbooks are available for free online and in accompanying print editions of 75 copies.


H_NGM_N BKS accepts full-length poetry manuscripts during the annual open reading period, November 1st until February 28ththat's right around the corner!


Bonus: H_NGM_N is also an online journal of poetry and prose! Check out the most recent issue online here. Submission guidelines for the journal appear at the same submissions link, above.



Feature Article


For this week’s feature article, we interviewed Jamie Millard, Regan Smith, and Meghan Murphy Suszynski, Co-Founders of Paper Darts.


Sapling: Paper Darts is a relatively new magazine; you started up in 2009 and have three issues out to date. First of all, congrats on getting off the ground and putting together three truly stunning issues. Since you’re still fairly new on the scene, what would you like people to

know about Paper Darts?


Jamie Millard, Regan Smith, and Meghan Murphy Suszynski: Thanks, Sapling! Man, that’s a tough question. Probably the most essential things to know about Paper Darts are as follows:


1) We like wine.

2) We also like beer, quesadillas, and coke (not the soda kind—we’re tuff).

3) All the profits from Paper Darts go directly back into production and operation costs. We do this voluntarily on top of our day jobs (so insert a giant FREE in #1 and #2).

4) We think color is bomb, graphics are ill, and humor is dope.

5) We use dated words like “bomb,” “ill,” and “dope.”


S: Your website describes Paper Darts as “primarily a magazine, but…also a publishing

press, a creative agency, a community, and an idea.” That’s a lot! Can you tell us a little more about the several arms of the Paper Darts operation?


JM, RS, & MMS: The additional arms of Paper Darts came about fairly recently, so we’re still in the process of fully defining them, but we’ve always felt that PD is a lot more than just a bi-annual lit mag and website. We try to bring our overall vision for engaging design, illustration, and smart humor into everything we do, including book publishing, building websites, writing copy for other projects, and throwing rad parties. At the very core of the Paper Darts mentality we are creators. No matter what the medium, and through whichever arm (or tentacle) of the organization, ultimately we just enjoy creating beautiful and engaging products and sharing those products with as many different communities as possible. 


S: What can you tell us about your editorial process? That is, how does the Paper Darts staff go about selecting content for the magazine?


JM, RS, & MMS: Our editorial process is pretty similar to most other magazines, with a basic Yes, No, Maybe, voting system, though it has evolved a lot technically through the years. (We upgraded to an online submission manager, Submittable, last year and it changed our lives.) It’s taken a while, but we’ve definitely developed a clear idea of what we’re looking for in a submission, whether it’s writing, art, music, or any one of our other genres. It’s something that came about slowly and organically between the three of us, so it’s fairly difficult to describe in words without sounding kinda lame. (“Cutting Edge!” “Out-of-the-Box!”)


At this point the majority of work published in our print issues is curated. We make constant mental notes about artists or writers we encounter that we’d like to see in one of our magazines, then contact them about it later. About 60% of the online content is through open submissions.


S: You’re based in Minneapolis and your third issue prominently features Minneapolis writers and artists. How has your homebase / community been important to the development of the magazine?


JM, RS, & MMS: Talking about how awesome it is to live in Minneapolis was recently voted the Number One Favorite Thing to Talk About by the Council of People Who Live in Minneapolis. And for good reason—living here, as an artist, writer, musician, or creative of any type, is really effing awesome. The literary community is tight-knit and extremely active, without being stodgy, exclusive, or incestuous. It would have been beyond difficult to get where we are now if we had started this venture in one of the more “culturally affluent” cities like San Francisco, New York, or even Chicago. Aside from the general support Minneapolis provides organizations like ours, it also has a LOT of really talented writers, but isn’t oversaturated with publishing houses, so a decent amount of those writers are more than willing to publish their work with a smaller press/magazine like ours. We give them the opportunity do something unique with their work and market it in a more direct way throughout the community.


S: In what ways would you say that Paper Darts distinguishes itself from other literary

magazines? This could be in terms of content, style, aesthetics, management, and/or any

other features that come to mind.


JM, RS, & MMS: We’re very much against the idea of “writers reading writers” in lit mags, and what we choose to publish tends to reflect that. We don’t take ourselves all that seriously, so we have a hard time with writers that do. A piece can be poignant without being painful, and a little dose of smart humor can only help otherwise “serious” writing.


There are also very few, if any, publications other than Paper Darts that unabashedly combine illustration with words in the way that we do. Certainly there are a decent number of lit mags out there that are well designed (though we wish there were more!), but there’s this archaic, unspoken law within the literary community at large that illustration detracts from writing, and words need to have room to stand on their own. Many lit mags are so petrified by the possibility that a piece of art might inform the prose it’s sitting next to that they don’t stop to think how informing and imprinting might actually be a good thing, both for the individual artist and writer and for the publication as a whole. By putting an artful, intelligently rendered illustration in the same spread as a short story, we are prompting a conversation between the reader, illustrator, and writer. The choices made behind the writing and the illustration become magnified in fascinating ways. If an illustrator, and then ultimately a reader, chooses to look closely, this powerful ART + LIT combo creates a mini interpretive dance of both the writer’s and the artist’s process and intention. But that is a pretty ridiculous version of the real answer, which is this: we work really, really hard to make Paper Darts real, real pretty.


S: In addition to the standard wisdom of reading a back issue and following the

submission guidelines on the website, what advice would you give to writers who are

interested in submitting to Paper Darts?


JM, RS, & MMS: Send us wine, beer, quesadillas, and coke? We don’t want to be one of those lit mags that complains about how people never follow submission guidelines because that’s just so 2010/forever, so we absolutely WILL NOT tell people again TO PLEASE FOLLOW THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES, because that would be way rude if we did that, right? Man, so rude.


Anyway, taking into consideration where your piece will be published (online vs. print) is pretty important. People have short attention spans, and reading a ten page story on the internet, no matter how awesome it is, probably isn’t going to happen.


S: What other literary journals or small presses are you particularly excited about right



JM, RS, & MMS: Lowbrow Press out of Minnesota is really awesome. We’re not major poetry buffs, but the poets they publish embrace humor in a way you don’t see that often, and they put out a whopping four books a year, which is a ton for a tiny, independent press. Other than that, we’re pretty into the regular group of heavy-hitters: McSweeney’s, Zoetrope, One Story, etc.


S: Any favorite books you’ve read so far in 2011? What’s on your shelf that you’re

excited to read next?


JM, RS, & MMS: When it comes to the writing we publish in Paper Darts, we’re generally on the same page. Outside of that, our personal tastes don’t differ wildly, but we definitely vary to some degree. Jury’s still out on Miranda July (we won’t tell you who’s for and who’s against).


Right now, Meghan’s excited about Fantastic Women: 18 Tales of the Surreal and the Sublime from Tin House, Jamie’s in the middle of Read This or You’re Dead to Me by Matt Ryan, and Regan’s on a multiple month non-fiction kick, mostly revolving around every old Atlantic and BOMB Magazine she can get her hands on.




To learn more about Paper Darts, visit:




Jamie Millard mostly tells people were to sit. Then tweets about it. She is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Paper Darts and brings to the octopus her delight for big picture, strategic planning, and results-oriented action plans—ultimately working to strengthen and build capacity for the arts sector.


Regan Smith writes stuff. Primarily about Cheetos. Also, Alf. She is the Co-Founder and Editorial Director of Paper Darts and is responsible for shaping the voice of both the magazine and the organization as a whole through her own writing and through curating others’ work. She also plans a mean launch party.


Meghan Murphy Suszynski makes pretty things and has long hair. Hearts cats. She is the Co-Founder and Creative Director for Paper Darts. Her duties include curating art from emerging artists and creating design and hand drawn illustrations showcasing Paper Darts’ literature.


Talk to Us


Do you have questions that you think we might be able to answer? Suggestions for your fellow subscribers? Please send an email to:


Sapling is currently accepting proposals for future Writing Conference and Community Workshop Profiles. If you've recently attended (or are planning to attend) a summer writing conference, a community workshop in major city, or a similar type of writing program that you think the Sapling community would benefit from knowing about, please talk to us! If you'd be interested in writing about your experience for a future Sapling feature, please send an email to:


Sapling is also seeking your burning questions on the how's and why's of the book contest system for an upcoming feature on--you guessed it--book contests. (First book contests, general book contests, chapbook contests--you get the idea.) We have a few questions collected already, but the more you ask, the better the feature will be. So, what do you need to know? Anything contest-related is fair game: questions about submitting, judging, what happens after a book is selected, why presses run contests in the first place, and so on. So ask away, and we'll do our best to address what's on your mind. Please email your questions to:


Finally, send along any news about your writing career. We'll be happy to post news about your recent and forthcoming publications as well as news about awards or honors that you have received. 



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