Push your shoulders and hands under the surface of the water.
Who: Disorder Press
Where: Queens, New York and New Orleans What: Independent press
Can you tell us a bit about how your press got started?
My sister, Mikaela, started the press with her friend Michelle as a means of putting out her small book of poetry These are the Things We Tell Each Other in the Dark. Once that was out, they figured they'd start publishing other people's stuff. I had started helping out a bit, and when Michelle had to step away, I jumped on. Now we are sibling-owned and sibling-operated. A brother/sister publishing house. Who woulda thought?
How did the name come about?
My sister came up with it, I think she was inspired by the Joy Division song. Now we also use the word "disorder" to describe what we publish. Sometimes I throw on that song when I'm editing, or sending emails, and just scream along with those last lines. I've got the spirit, but lose the feeling!
What types of publications do you put out?
We started out publishing chapbooks, but now we're open to full-length poetry collections and novella-length works of fiction. We don't like to set too many boundaries. Who knows. Maybe one day we'll publish a 1000 page book.
Can you tell us a bit about the space where you run your whole operation from? Is it an office space, a kitchen-table/bedroom operation or just from inside a smart-phone or a laptop?
Disorder Press is wherever I am. Or wherever my sister is. That's the beauty of it. So, right now, it's run out of my small apartment in Queens and out of my sister's house in New Orleans. It's also run out of coffee shops, trains, bookstores. And many phone calls and emails.
Can you tell us a little bit about the city in which you are based and what influence, if any, it has on your press?
We are based 50/50 out of New York and New Orleans. I am in Ridgewood, Queens. My sister is in New Orleans. Living in New York makes me a very poor man, that's its biggest influence on me. I think I'll be packing my bags pretty soon so that I can continue working on Disorder Press and also not starve to death. It is nice being in New York though, in terms of having a literary community and throwing an event that people will actually attend. New Orleans doesn't have the small press community that New York does, but I think in some ways that's kind of refreshing for my sister. You'd have to ask her.
Do you see any commonality with the world of independent record labels and independent presses? I suppose we’re thinking about how the two things share an independent spirit, small run fanzines/photocopied magazines, merchandising etc?
Hell yeah, I do. My favorite record labels curate a sort of sound and a sort of attitude, and it's the same thing with my favorite small presses (I'm thinking of Two Dollar Radio, Civil Coping Mechanisms, Broken River Books, Lazy Fascist...the list could go on and on). If you run a small press, especially one as small as ours, there's no way in hell you're in it for the money or the "fame", so there's a lot of passion that has to be there, and I think you can see that passion in the work that we choose to publish.
These days every writer can get connected to their own social-media channels and promote and publish their own work, what do you see as the best role for the independent publisher now? Or do you think not that much has changed?
I think we just hope to give a voice to writers whose work we appreciate. If we can help them get their work out there, in the hands of readers who might not normally find a small press book or author, then I think we're doing something right. We want to do our best to champion these people and their work. If we're doing a book with you, it's a project, a collaboration of sorts, and by the end of it we'll probably feel like family, or at least pals. I know that sounds kind of cult-y, but fuck it, it's how things have gone so far. Disorder Press is the Manson Family of small presses. Ahem. That's a joke.
Finally, please tell us a bit about a few of the next things that are due to come out?
We just published a book by Bud Smith called Dust Bunny City. We call it a novel, although some of it looks like poetry. Rae Buleri, Bud's wife, did some beautiful line drawings that appear throughout the book. This book is joyful. It was made with a lot of love. It'll help you quit wallowing.
We are doing a second run of our poetry book Memory Foam by Adam Soldofsky, a lot of people are hungry for that book now because Juan Felipe Herrera, the U.S. Poet Laureate, spoke highly of it in the Washington Post.
In the middle of the year we are publishing a chapbook by Christine Stroud entitled Sister Suite. It's a haunting work, and it had my eyes welling up with tears when I first read it.
Near the end of the year, we are publishing a book of stories by the great Troy James Weaver. Right now, Troy's book keeps evolving, so I'm excited to see what it will turn out to be in its final form.