Interview with Michael Anzuoni, Founder and Editor-in-Chief; and Daniel Schwartz, Editor
How did Inpatient Press start?
The NSA has the origin story on file. Rory Hamovit, who handles production of our full-length titles from San Francisco, proposed the idea to Michael Anzuoni in late 2013. Michael is the voice and spirit of the operation. He handmakes the chapbooks, manages all print and online projects, and sets up events and readings. Daniel Schwartz, who works full-time in book publishing, was invited to join as an editor and handle other duties (soliciting work, submission backlog, contracts, copyright and permissions, etc.). We found that, with so many talented friends and allies surrounding us, it was hard to resist the call to make their efforts known. Our first two print publications—Immaterials by August Cross and Blue Sun by Tamas Panitz—reflect that approach.
Tell us a bit about Inpatient Press. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
We seek work that is messy, chaotic, glitchy, not out of obscurantism but because those elements are scars of the real. Grove and Olympia are two looming influences.
One of our favorite pieces that we’ve published online is a PDF of excerpts from Rose Miniatures, a translation of homoerotic and politically charged verse from a pseudonymous Iranian playwright writing from Isfahan.
The author writes, “i’ve collected enough of your lifelines / on my chin to last eight eternities of / reincarnation, even though i am / tehran’s last living atheist.”
That sort of elegant subversion deserves a platform, and we hope to shape Inpatient as such.
Can you give us a preview of what’s current and/or forthcoming from your catalog, as well as what you’re hoping to publish in the future?
We’ve just published two chapbooks: Troll by Dorothy Howard, a hysterical internet-age criticism, and Matthew Johnstone’s syntactic meditation/experiment o n e. We’ve sold out of the first run of each and are currently reprinting both titles.
Our next full-length book, An American Suite by Pierre Joris, is tentatively set to publish in early 2016.
One idea we’re kicking around is an anthology centered on politics, information freedom, and data dissemination. Chelsea Manning would write the introduction, and it would be printed entirely on transparent Mylar sheets.
In the meantime, we intend to publish more chapbooks and pursue visual/hybrid content for our online plexus, so we encourage anyone reading to send work.
What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
Shout out to O’Clock Press, GaussPDF, Ugly Duckling Press, Glass Press of the Future, Poor Claudia, Wonder, Isti Mirant Stella, Publication Studios’ Fellow Travelers Series, Tea Party Republicans Press, AK Press, Timeless Infinite Light, and Wave Books. These operations make it obvious that the best time to be a small press is right now.
How do you cope? There’s been a lot of conversation lately about charging reading fees, printing costs, rising book costs, who should pay for what, etc. Do you have any opinions on this, and would you be willing to share any insights about the numbers at Inpatient Press?
Michael and Rory work full-time to support the press and keep it truly independent and self-sufficient. We are anti-profit. The costs for production, distribution, bribes, etc. are split right down the middle between these two archons, and the three of us together determine all editorial and aesthetic choices. This can be incredibly empowering and also overwhelming. But that vertigo is what drives us.
We will never charge submission fees. We eventually hope to make all of our publications available online (given each author’s permission, of course). We are restructuring our royalty system so that, once production costs are recouped from initial sales, all further earnings will be paid to our authors.
The beauty of publishing is that it can be such an inefficient enterprise—all those precious dollars and hours converted to pure artifice. We want our authors to get paid because we want them to eat and keep creating, but at the same time publishing is like lighting money on fire. At least if you burn a large amount, you can cook something over it.
You’re turning two years old this December. What have you learned in those first two years that’ll affect how you run the press during the next two, and beyond?
Attend more book festivals—we always reach the most readers in those settings. Don’t skimp on the champagne at release parties. The best work should scare you. Never talk to cops.