Lit Spotlight: Mud Luscious Press
by Treehouse Editors
Founded in 2007, Mud Luscious Press is an independent press with a name that makes you want to dig in and wiggle your toes around. Besides the main body of books they publish, they also have two imprints, and they ran an online quarterly journal for several years. Our managing editor Jean Glaub learned more about MLP from their editor J.A. Tyler.
Q: Since our readers at Treehouse are fans of authors like Matt Bell, do you think they would enjoy the other books you publish? If so, what other favorite authors are a good sign?
A: Those who enjoyed Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby, released from us early last year, will absolutely dig several of our other authors, beginning with Robert Kloss, whose novel The Alligators of Abraham was the #2 fiction best-seller at Small Press Distribution in January and February of this year! These same readers would also likely enjoy his earlier Nephew imprint title How the Days of Love & Diphtheria as well as Ben Spivey’s Black God, recently released from our Blue Square Press imprint.
Q: Your website says you publish “raw & aggressive works by writers unafraid to destroy and re-suture words.” How challenging is it to find and evaluate manuscripts that fit the bill?
A: Starting with our first title, Molly Gaudry’s We Take Me Apart, we wanted to bring attention to those works that beautifully and seamlessly linked poetry and narrative, and since then, between our own solicitations and our summer open reading period, we’ve found exactly what we were looking for, and have a fantastic line-up ready for the rest of 2013 and into 2014-2015 as well.
Q: From a publisher that puts out books as diverse as An Island of Fifty and The Alligators of Abraham, what are some of the most exciting differences between your published books?
A: For us, the excitement stems from finding books like those you mention, so different in terms of tone and content, yet seeing our brand, our direction as a press across that novel(la) series, remain cohesive all the while. We also now run the Nephew imprint series, featuring pocket-sized works a touch shorter than traditional novel(la)s, and our Blue Square Press imprint, whose works are even more linguistically and aesthetically aggressive than our own.
Q: What are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a small press? Does the Internet help close the gap?
A: The disadvantage is financing. Mud Luscious Press supports itself through sales, so if sales drop off, our budget does too. Everything else though, for an indie press like MLP, is an advantage. We get to select the works we love, produce them in any artistically inventive way we like, and do whatever it takes to get them into the hands of readers. This includes massive use of the internet (sales, publicity, etc.) but we try not to be limited by technology either, meaning we still work directly with our authors to find them local, regional, and national readings and events to get them face to face with their audience.
Q: What are some of Mud Luscious Press’s goals, both for the press itself and for modern literature in general?
A: We simply want to continue producing quality works that expand the gray area between poetry and fiction. We are elated for the books we have coming down the pike in the next few years, so right now we are focused entirely on those. As for modern literature, our goal there is to continue widening our own place amongst it all.
Q: Could you share a little about MLP’s books Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard) and First Year [An MLP Anthology], which some talented writer will win?
A: Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard) started as a writing performance: strangers lined up to share the intimate details of their lives while he wrote their biographies for them as they waited. In the end, more than 10,000 years of life was condensed into just over 300 postcard life stories. Besides the complicated and beautiful lives of so many people, there are postcard life stories for cats, dogs, a rooster, an apple, a bar of soap, a t-shirt, a chair, and a horse.
First Year [An MLP Anthology] collected our first 43 chapbooks into one anthology. In their original form these were 4×4 handmade chapbooks produced in limited editions of 50-150 copies, and the anthology collects them all, including spectacular and previously unpublished work by Shane Jones, Blake Butler, Sam Pink, Jac Jemc, Kim Chinquee, Brian Evenson, Peter Markus, David Ohle, Johannes Göransson, Ryan Call, Kevin Wilson, Lily Hoang, Michael Martone and many others.