As you may have noticed, I’ve been doing a lot of “what are they doing now interviews…” as follow ups. I thought it equally important to approach Josh Dale founder of Thirty West Publishing House regarding his upcoming ventures and authors he’s published over the year. Moreover, I thought it might be fun to discuss Thirty West’s new literary Journal due out later this month Tilde. By the way, I was a reader for this journal. And, can tell you without a bias word that the first edition is going to kick some serious a**. Not only with poetry but: prose, images, fiction and non-pieces alike. I'll send an announcement once Tilde is officially released, so that you can all run out and order your copy.
RMMW: I read a couple of weeks ago that Anissa Fritz’s book Inner Warfare is now a required reading at Portland State University. I mean obviously, as the publisher you must be proud – what was your first reaction? And, what do you think the students who study this memoir should take away from it?
JD: When Anissa sent the text, I was elated. Nothing short of a smile was emitted for at least 10 minutes as I was driving home. I couldn’t jump in the air or anything (laughs) or that would’ve caused some problems, but yes, Thirty West is humbled to grace the halls of Portland State University. When it comes to Inner Warfare, I hope that students can seek some sort of reprieve of their own stressors by seeing the utmost lowest point of another human’s life and how she recovered and excelled since. Many intriguing characters she writes about while admitted, so psychoanalytic analyses are expected. Finally, I wish for students to sympathize with the deity that is mental illness. It can happen to anyone at anytime, and if said student has the desire, the sensation to recreate Ms. Fritz’s ordeal, please don’t. There is help for you.
RMMW: Why is important for you to go the extra mile with your books for example the ruination of Anissa Fritz’s Inner Warfare, wooden sleeve cover for Ben Sloan’s The Road Home or even the trading cards for one of my personal favourites B. Dani West’s HEAD?
JD: Ever since I read Poe’s essay, “The Theory of Composition”, I became obsessed with the idea of the ‘unity of effect’. Be it in the text, or the design of the limited editions, I strive to implement all the elements of publishing to our books. For example, Ben Sloan’s, The Road Home¸ is a homecoming promenade that un-turns all the leaves on the road. When musing by a lake in early spring, I wondered how to implement nature and nostalgia into his book, hence the wooden sleeve was born. The chapbook was too ‘fragile’ to implement the ruination (weathering), but I knew that a peculiar add-on element to both expose and shield it was the right direction; Ben can justify on our behalf. Likewise, with HEAD, we were a few clicks away from having the ‘trading cards’ implemented within the body text, however, ideas varied and became more valuable than we anticipated. The glossy sheen and tarot-like delivery makes you see the many faces of instability and all the thoughts transforming and amalgamating within the mind. Plus, with Brittany’s genuine poetry written within every curve and crevasse, they added another thread of exclusivity; Dadaist art in a way. It just stuck with me, the editors, and all the readers.
RMMW: Who has your favourite Poet/Writer been to publish and why?
JD: I feel like answering this question will cause a riot in my masthead and result in a mutiny (laughs), but in all seriousness, I value all our writers, past and forthcoming. Being a single-child has made my psyche long for connections more than just ‘colleague’ or ‘client’; it just gets too rigid, not as expressive. I look at my writers as distant cousins at the least. Treating one like family, especially in a laid-back and liberal business such as publishing, has always been my approach when signing on prospective writers. It helps to have a supportive masthead of talented and personable ladies as well (take a look at our masthead bio, seriously). I’ve been fortunate to exchange hand-written letters with Ben and even meet Anissa and Christopher Grosso in person. Maybe in the future, I’ll be able to bring us all together for a reading extravaganza.
RMMW: Why was it important for Thirty West Publishing house to start a literary journal?
JD: Tilde was inspired by a few ideas, but mostly it was my experiences with Temple University’s Hyphen and the awesome crew at April Gloaming Publishing for being the unexpected muses. I believe that no matter which way Thirty West goes, I wanted to install an artery, a consistent pumping of literary prowess into our bodies. Tilde will sport poetry, prose, and visual arts from people all over the world, broadening our already global audience and empowering authors from all avenues of life. Granted, it’s the inaugural edition so I cannot promise it to be perfect, but I feel that the pool of talented authors that will grace these pages will surprise some people. Information can be found periodically on Thirty West’s Submittable account or one of Tilde’s social media platforms. We hope to whet our Tilde audience with a more vibrant and established webpage and, of course, free contributor copies in due time, so let’s hope it all plays out in everyone’s favor!
RMMW: Tell us a little bit as to what we can expect with the first issue of Tilde?
JD: We try to model ourselves with ‘standard’ procedures with say the Iowa Review or Missouri Review, but also wish to add a splash of artwork and unique typesetting. Our team of editors and designer are champing at the bit as we speak (I can’t plug them all, but you will see their bios and names in time). Our goal is to espouse design with readability, so much so that the original texts is hardly marred. We want to impress, not to slap something together to say, ‘we did it’. We will gauge the response from Issue 1 and use the feedback to create the second (due out later this month) as well as providing more opportunities for writers to submit. It’s terrifying and exhilarating, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
RMMW: I noticed, this past Holiday Season that a portion of your sales went toward Philabundance… Can you tell us a little bit as to why you chose this charity and what their mandate is in case anyone else is interested in donating to them as well?
JD: For the first time in our short existence, Thirty West was able to give back $1 of book sales from 11/26-12/31 of 2017. After seeing my favorite radio station, 93.3 WMMR, commit a week to collect food donations, I was empowered to do something similar. It was well overdue. Our masthead pushed the initiative with gusto and our fanbase responded in kind. A good number of books were sold, and we had a massive reading at Temple University for the cause. We value our readers who gave the gift of literature and the gift of food for the hungry.
Philabundance is a champion of providing the Delaware Valley food and drink in their most dire of times. Founded in 1984, this non-profit organization donated 24 million pounds of food in 2017 with the help of 40,000+ volunteers. For anyone who would like to donate non-perishable canned goods or tax-deductible donations, please see www.philabundance.org/donate
RMMW: Are you going to be organising more spoken word events in 2018 and if yes where? What Poets are you looking forward to watching perform?
JD: Yes, we plan on continuing our 3rd Friday reading at Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Mt. Airy (Philadelphia) and at various Center City Philadelphia bars and bookstores. We also look forward to expanding into other poetry circles in the Lehigh Valley (Northern Pennsylvania), Central New Jersey, New York City, Nashville, Greater Birmingham and Alabama. I’ll admit, I’ve been so busy with projects that I have not been able to interact much with the Philly community, and that’s due for a change-up. I’m excited for a few book releases, such as Amy Saul-Zerby’s, “Deep Camoflauge” (CCM), Gabriel Ojeda-Sague’s “Jazzercise is a Language” (The Operating System), and B. Diehl’s “Ballpoint Penitentiary” (Philosophical Idiot).
RMMW: Who are you looking forward to publishing in 2018?
JD: As I type this, we are currently embroiled in Jules Archer’s flash fiction chapbook, “All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had”, which is our first foray into flash fiction. I like it, like really do. Fiction has always been my favorite genre and I’m glad a Pushcart-nominated author found our press interesting enough to submit a manuscript. Also, for the first time, we are publishing two international poets: Matt Duggan from England and Willem Myra from Italy. I’m willing to break out of my ‘publish-fort zone’ and really give these artists a shot. They, too, found something special in us, as we do them. Lastly, we have another imprint up our sleeves, but its currently under wraps until we can develop it further. Be on the lookout for submission updates via www.thirtywestph.com Thank you for the interview!