News & Events

Mini-Interview with Ocean Vuong, Judge for Slope Editions’ 17th Annual Book Prize

Slope had the chance to chat with Ocean Vuong, the judge for this year’s book prize, on a small handful of poetry topics we thought might be of interest to potential submitters. Check out Ocean’s answers below, and don't forget to submit to our book prize here.


Slope Editions: What do you consider a "poem"?

Ocean Vuong: Something that complicates the very questions that necessitate the text's creation.

SE: How do you start writing a poem? How do you know when a poem is "done"?

OV: I mostly start a poem in my head, language clanks in there, like a pennies in a can, I suppose--until rhythm and meaning collaborate into something that excites, terrifies, surprises. As for "doneness," I don't really know. I'm not sure I'm actually ever done with anything, let alone a poem. But sometimes I just let things go. Sometimes a poem is "done" not so much because I'm through with it, but because another poem, or scrap of language, has found its way in, saying "Look at me! Look at me! Do you know who I am? I'm you, but better!" Naturally, I drop everything and follow it--often to a dead end or, even more likely, a beautiful starless night of which I'm inside, surviving with emotional intensity while watching Netflix. C'est la guerre.

SE: Who are some writers you draw inspiration from?

OV: Lorca, Rimbaud, Kim Hyesoon, Ben Lerner, Wong May, Cathy Park Hong, Kayo Chingonyi, William Brewer, Natalie Diaz, Grace Paley, Eduardo C. Corral, Sally Wen Mao, Rosemarie Waldrop, Mary Ruefle, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Chen Chen, Jenny Offil, C.D. Wright, Linh Dinh, Etheridge Knight, Angel Nafis, Jean Valentine, Bei Dao, Zachary Schomburg, Morgan Parker, Solmaz Sharif, Rick Barot, Jaques J. Rancourt, Sandra Lim, Jenny Johnson, Wendy Xu. There's a poet named Mark Pajak from the UK whose work I love. His debut, Spitting Distance,  contains poems that work, for me, like little dark hallways you can wander in and lose yourself.

SE: What are you reading right now?

OV: Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America. It's wild. Also, Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, which is also wild.

SE: How do you feel about the idea of a poetry book as an art object?

OV: I feel really good about that. That's a nice great thing, when we tend to fabrication and production, too, as art making.

Want to join the Slope Editions team?

Slope Editions, an independent poetry press based in the Pioneer Valley, is currently looking for a new Special Projects Editor!

About Slope

Founded in 2001 by Chris Janke and Ethan Paquin, Slope was one of the very first independent presses/online journals in the country— we’ve since transitioned to only publishing books and chapbooks. Our most recent titles include this shouldn’t be beautiful but it was & it was all I had so i drew it  by Keegan Lester (chosen by Mary Ruefle) and Speech Rinse by Vanessa Couto Johnson. You can take a look at our website to see more of what we’ve done in the past: www.slopeeditions.org

Slope Editions is a micro-press. We publish, as volunteers, between one and four titles a year, mostly funded through our contests. As a tiny operation, our positions take the shape of the people involved. We have no office, and we hold weekly meetings during which editors check-in with the progress on their various independently-run projects, and we look forward to the individual and sometimes idiosyncratic contributions that individual editors make.

About the Job

This newly-created position will be even more in flux than other Slope jobs. While also participating in the editorial process of selecting finalists for our annual chapbook contest and book prize and releasing a new full-length in the fall, the Special Projects Editor will work on developing new creative projects in collaboration with the Managing and Assistant Managing Editors. The Special Projects editor will have wide discretion to propose and implement new publishing projects, including projects of their own creation. Two projects that the Special Projects Editor will be asked to investigate are: a political pamphlet series in response to the current political climate, and a resurrection of slope dot org, our currently dormant online journal. We are also open to planning Slope events or readings, managing reading tours for our writers, developing grant-based programs, and more.

The ideal candidate must be adept at taking the reins and working independently, as well as collaborating over long distances. Because we are a tiny organization, anyone in this position will be considered, should they desire, for other roles: Assistant Managing Editor, Managing Editor, etc, when those positions are open. Because each editor operates quite independently, we rely on and strongly emphasize skills of that allow for self-management and an ability to follow-through, to identify and complete tasks in a timely manner.

The Special Projects Editor should feel comfortable working remotely while also participating in a weekly phone or skype meeting to discuss different projects and creative directions.

Please indicate if you have any past experience working in an editorial position with a magazine or press. Grant-writing experience or experience working for a non-profit is a plus.

Compensation

Every job at Slope Edition is a volunteer position. While we expect regular attention to current tasks, the hours per week can vary widely, and each editor has control over their own hours. We expect this to be a very part-time position. In addition, Slope Editions is happy to work with existing internship programs with universities to provide oversight, reporting, and grades when necessary for academic credit. In addition, Slope will provide letters of recommendation to future job prospects. We consider ourselves to be participants in a large literary community which is more-often-than-not financially undercompensated. We are not blind to the ways in which free labor can be exploitative, and we strive to work with our volunteers that their own needs are met along with the needs of our organization. In the 15+-year history of Slope Editions, editors have often found that the skills built during one’s time at Slope Editions can lead to important entries on a CV or resume. We also find a reward in helping to shape the literary landscape, something that every staff member at Slope has an opportunity to engage in through our editorial meetings, manuscript screenings, and reading periods.

To Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to our Managing Editor, Emily Hunerwadel, at slope.editions@gmail.com by February 15th.  We will begin holding interviews with prospective candidates in late January/February 2018.

Thanks,

Slope Editions

Announcing the Winner of Slope Editions’ 5th Annual Chapbook Contest

Slope Editions is pleased to announce the results of our 5th Annual Chapbook Contest. We are thrilled to publish The Body Beside Herself by Julianne Neely in 2018!

julianne.jpg

Julianne Neely is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where she received the Truman Capote Fellowship and was awarded the 2017 John Logan Poetry Prize.  Her writing has been published in The Rumpus, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Hobart, LEVELER, Pacifica Literary Review, New Orleans Review, and more. Find her online: @juleneely.

We also want to extend congratulations to our four finalists. We've read so many incredible manuscripts over the course of this reading period—thank you for entrusting Slope Editions with your work!

The Adversaria: Four Closet Dramas by Samuel Corfman
Since Sunday by Brittany Tomaselli
Billet Doux by E.C. Belli
Roses in May by Jill Mceldowney

 

“The answer is: Don’t just cog the machine.  
  Hold it under till it casts out the ghost.”  
            —Kit Frick,   Echo, Echo, Light,   Contest winner, 2013  
    We are happy to announce the opening of our Third Annual Chapbook Contest! Winner receives $100 + ten free copies! Submissions will be accepted through submittable,  slopeeditions.submittable.com ; please check there for guidelines & details!    
    

“The answer is: Don’t just cog the machine.

Hold it under till it casts out the ghost.”

—Kit Frick, Echo, Echo, Light, Contest winner, 2013


We are happy to announce the opening of our Third Annual Chapbook Contest! Winner receives $100 + ten free copies! Submissions will be accepted through submittable, slopeeditions.submittable.com; please check there for guidelines & details!

 

"This is the only way to listen
to thunder. I count
backwards, all the way

backwards to lightning—that moment
before knowing, before wanting
when you were still

the only music, unheard of”

—from AN INSTRUMENT FOR LEAVING, by Monika Zobel

Order here

 

the sun is out & so is Monika Zobel’s AN INSTRUMENT FOR LEAVING, the winner of our 2013 Book Prize! Here’s what Dorothea Lasky has to say about Zobel’s book:  
 "Zobel’s poetic hauntings here are like the uncanny feeling of a strange bird in the hand, inescapably present, humming to the dark, smuggling us off with her in an odd and beautiful motionless flight." 
 order now—-www.slopeeditions.org

the sun is out & so is Monika Zobel’s AN INSTRUMENT FOR LEAVING, the winner of our 2013 Book Prize! Here’s what Dorothea Lasky has to say about Zobel’s book:

"Zobel’s poetic hauntings here are like the uncanny feeling of a strange bird in the hand, inescapably present, humming to the dark, smuggling us off with her in an odd and beautiful motionless flight."

order now—-www.slopeeditions.org