Holy hell, it's January! How did another year go by ?! Oh yeah, we were living twelve months of chaotic pandemic life (filled with Trump-era-shitshow politics) we published three books, and our publisher, Christina, had a baby … that's how …
Anyway! While we can hardly believe it's 2021, we're eager to share our plans for the year. First, we're starting things off with a bang by announcing our full lineup of authors and books for 2021, as well as sharing a bit of incredible news about funding we received from the Tacoma Arts Commission and upcoming membership options! Read about all of that, and more, below.
To support Blue Cactus Press and the authors and artists who make up our team, please consider heading to bluecactuspress.com after reading this newsletter to purchase a book or two. Now get to readin'!
Moss Covered Claws, the debut short story collection from fantasy author Jonah Barrett, is filled with tales of anxiety-feeding demons, anti-fascists that travel dimensions, and the vengeful spirits of dead seabirds. Barrett mashes dreams and reality together in these ten macabre tales of speculative fiction. They offer a fresh, cheeky voice to Queer fiction and fantasy genres, delivered in this multiverse of forgotten dreams and broken promises. Pre-order Moss Covered Clawstoday!
Jonah Barrett is a queer filmmaker, writer, and multimedia artist. Their debut book, Moss Covered Claws, will be released with Blue Cactus Press in March 2021. They have also been published in the Forest Avenue Press collections Dispatches From Anarres and City of Weird. Jonah has directed and written three feature films, a dozen-ish short films, and four web series—with their film work being presented at the Olympia Film Society, Northwest Film Forum, and Trans Stellar Film Festival. They usually find themself in old haunted buildings or overgrown swamps.
JUNE: Green River Valley by Robert Lashley
Green River Valley, Robert Lashley's third poetry collection, is an unapologetic and harrowing look at gentrification, racism, and personal and collective loss in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. With each poem, Lashley asks readers to bear witness to his lived experiences there and to honor the people, places and memories that shaped him alongside the city we know today. Lashley pulls no punches in this collection, which showcases his signature, rhythmic eloquence and acuity more than ever. His narrative threads expose hidden intimacies amid trauma and ambivalence in the face of institutionalized racism. Readers will leave this book asking, how do we build and honor a city's legacy, and what part did we take in that journey?
Robert Lashley is a writer and activist whose was a 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and a nominee for a Stranger Genius Award. He has had work published in The Seattle Review of Books, NAILED, Poetry Northwest, McSweeney’s, and The Cascadia Review. His poetry was also featured in such anthologies as Many Trails to The Summitt, Foot Bridge Above The Falls, Get Lit, Make It True, and It Was Written. His previous books include THE HOMEBOY SONGS (Small Doggies Press, 2014), and UP SOUTH (Small Doggies Press, 2017). In 2019, The Homeboy Songs was named by Entropy Magazine as one of the 25 most essential books to come out of the Seattle area.
SEPTEMBER: Red Earth by Esther Vincent
Red Earth is a poetry collection that invokes the spirit of place by reinstating a woman’s voice amidst the boom of machinery and economy in the context of capitalism, urbanization, and the ensuing alienation from nature. It seeks to establish the personal female voice within dominant patriarchal ideologies and narratives, and searches for home and belonging to the world as a daughter of the earth rather than as citizen of a nation. Tracing its poetic lineage to ecofeminist forebearers like Mary Oliver, Eavan Boland, Grace Nichols, Joy Harjo and Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Red Earth is an ecofeminist act of solidarity with marginalized others (human and non-human person-beings) and an artifact of social and environmental activism. Located in Singapore and moving across geographies, Red Earth embodies a new planetary politics of relations that ‘makes kin’ with fellow person-beings (the elements, animals, plants, places, environments) to offer hope and healing in a time of state-sanctioned violence against the land and by proxy, its people, and increasing urban alienation.
Esther Vincent is the editor-in-chief and founder of The Tiger Moth Review, an eco journal of art and literature based in Singapore. She is also co-editor of two poetry anthologies, Poetry Moves (Ethos Books, 2020) and Little Things(Ethos Books, 2013). Her debut poetry collection, Red Earth, was a finalist for the Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize 2020 (New York). Her poems have been published online and in print locally and internationally. She was a Second place winner and finalist at the National Poetry Competition (Singapore) 2020 and 2019 respectively, and a Best New Poets (US & Canada) nominee in 2019. A literature educator by profession, she is passionate about the relationships between art, literature and the environment. Follow her on Twitter @EstherVincentXM
DECEMBER: Non-Fiction Anthology by Women of Color
BCP is excited to officially announce the publication of an anthology of non-fiction creative writing highlighting and uplifting the voices of Women of Color (WoC) in the greater Tacoma area. The anthology will be created by women and gender non-conforming folx of Color with with support of the Tacoma Women of Color Collective (TWCC), an organization working to cultivate spaces for professional WoC to nurture community, collaborate, and share professional, educational and life resources.
A few weeks ago, we also learned that this anthology will be funded, in part, by the Tacoma Arts Commission!
"We are honored and thrilled to support the efforts of organizations and groups funded by the Community Arts Projects program,” said Tacoma Arts Commission Chair Rosie Ayala. “As we continue stepping into equity efforts, the collective recipients for 2021 reflect the diversity of our city and celebrate honored traditions, stories and practices. We fully acknowledge that equity efforts are everlasting and we're here to continue the work year to year.”
Over the winter, we were hard at work developing a membership plan that's launching in March! Friends of the press can purchase memberships at four different "levels," each of which will unlock special, members-only discounts, exclusive lit journal and podcast content, access to digital advanced reader copies (ARCs) of forthcoming books, and FREE books of their choice! We'll send more info out next month, but for now, just know that we've got loads of goodies in store for our members!
We Handpressed Notebooks at Olympia Community Print
Last week, Moss Covered Claws author Jonah Barrett headed to Olympia Community Print to hand-press the "Scratchings" notebooks that will accompany their book (reminder: these notebooks are only available to Kickstarter backers who opted for the Story Maven reward tier).
Each notebook features artwork by Moss Covered Claws’ cover artist, Samantha Breaux. The woodblock featuring the art was carved by Kelsey Smith. Not a bad way to start off the new year in indie publishing!
The extended deadline for Women of Color (gender non-conforming and women identifying individuals of Color included) to submit their work for an anthology of non-fiction creative writing is almost upon us! Folx have until January 15th to submit their work! Check out our submissions guidelines here.
Media & Reviews
Michael Haeflinger on Wandering Locals Podcast
One of our talented authors, Michael Haeflinger, recorded a podcast episode with Knic Pfost on the Wandering Locals podcast! Check it out to hear some of Michael's incredible poetry recited by Knic while Michael accompanies with guitar! The two also chat about artistry and life experiences with a delightful amount of details. Enjoy!
Christina Butcher in South Sound Magazine
Blue Cactus Press and Christina Butcher, the publisher behind the press, were featured in South Sound Magazine's "Publishers of the Puget Sound" article by Carlisle Huntington late last month. BCP is one of three publishing houses featured in the article. Our lil' company is featured alongside Heather Momyer of Arc Pair Press and Jessica Parfrey of Feral House Press. Read the article here.
New Opportunity for Local Poets
2021-2023 Tacoma Poet Laureate Position
The Tacoma Arts Commission is now accepting applications for the 2021-2023 Tacoma Poet Laureate position. Literary artists who are emerging, professional, or established artists producing poetry in any form, genre, or style are encouraged to apply. We will also consider writers who work in additional genres whose work intersects with poetry. The Poet Laureate will build community, amplify what is unique about Tacoma, and provide opportunities for people’s voices to be heard.