If you were a super hero what would your name be?
With my Enchanted Laptop, I would wave a hand and books would typeset themselves. I would be to magnetically draw people to readings and summon rainclouds to spontaneously appear above people with e-readers.
What great literary crime would you fight against?
I would wage war on obscurity for obscurity’s sake, battle the forces of social justice who insist on political stances in art, and stand firm in the face of academics who don’t know the difference between “those who can” and “those who can’t.”
Interview with Jason Cook:
Interview with Jason Cook:
How did Ampersand Books begin? Was it epic like the birth of Zeus or was it inevitable as the butterfly effect?
The Genesis of Ampersand Books was certainly the butterfly effect, like a few clumps of snow falling down Mt. Everest. While running our literary journal, The Ampersand Review, we came to know Joseph Riippi (alter ego: Something Man). We published an excerpt of his newly-completed novel and, later, agreed to look at a few chapters as a possible chapbook. But when we saw the entire manuscript, we knew we had to publish the whole thing, and Ampersand Books was born.
What advice would you give to others interested in starting a press?
Don’t expect to get rich. Don’t even expect to pay your bills. Expect, instead, to have fun. Do what you want.
How do you “find” the authors Ampersand Books publishes?
It is true (and an open secret) that Ampersand Books only publishes our friends. However, it is also true that it’s very easy to become our friend. Submit to the Ampersand Review, get accepted, and commence getting friendly. Soon we’ll be forgetting who owes who a beer.
How do you define “good” writing?
Writing should do more than tell a story. I like writing that takes everyday things and turns them around, not in a way that we’ve never seen before, but in a way that we would all recognize from our lives. Those little things we all experience and don’t talk about. I’m also a sucker for surprising imagery and sharp dialogue.
What does a fleet of angry nouns do to unnecessary adjectives?
Like the angry feminists of the 1960′s, angry nouns declare their independence from the elements society and chance have paired them with and degrades their power and true nature. They then pull out brass knuckles and beat them into unrecognizable smears.
Is there a unifying quality to all of the books published by Ampersand? Do the books you publish stand as a super-team against the evils of unnecessary adjectives?
Not only unnecessary adjectives! Ampersand Books stand against all sorts of evils – the evils of monotonous style and easy categorization! Our books all straddle some kind of line, with a foot in separate worlds. J. Bradley’s poetry stands between the street and popular poetry (if there is such a thing.) Melissa Broder has solid academic training she trains on pop culture. Adam Gallari’s soft-spoken style is used to tackle the inner lives of athletes. Joseph Riippi’s work is cerebral but rough, like early Grunge rock.
What new projects are in the works for Ampersand Books?
We are publishing an anthology of recycled stories, ready for AWP next year. We are creating two of the most beautiful poetry books ever, and throwing parties constantly around the country with other awesome indie presses. Check your local listings!