Sunday, December 04, 2016

12 or 20 (small press) questions with Michael Anzuoni on Inpatient Press

Inpatient melds the plastic with the parchment, publishing works that emphasize materiality, ephemerality, transgression, and redemption in form and in content.

Michael Anzuoni is editor-in-chief of Inpatient and is a translator of Enzio de Kiipt, author of several rediscovered Romaunces. His work has been featured in Tagvverk, GaussPDF, Packet, Imperial Matters, and many other fine venues.

1 – When did Inpatient Press first start? How have your original goals as a publisher shifted since you started, if at all? And what have you learned through the process?
Rory Hamovit ( and I ‘started it up’ in the fall of 2013. Originally we were publishing our friends mostly, because we were surrounded by strange, talented people who had a hard time with traditional modes of publication. We did that for about a year and then realized we needed to expand.

The approach since has been to find any work thats contradictory and complicated and not easily categorized. When people tell me they have a hard time finding somewhere to publish their work, I say send it here. That’s how we got Laura Warman’s book and I think it’s one of the greatest things ever written. Probably.

2 – What first brought you to publishing?
Matvei from UDP spoke at my school when I was just a poetaster, feeling rather burnt out. And the community he described, the processes and creation and originality involved in bookmaking…it completely rejuvenated me. I remember buying so many of their chaps, books, and 6x6 issues, wondering how they were made. I lived in this shitty old Sears catalogue house that inexplicably had beautiful leather bound books in a glass cabinet, never touched and one night I got incredibly stoned on opium-snakes-in-the-grass and took them apart by firelight and like, tried to reverse engineer them I guess.

So the form of the book was my primary interest at first, but then I realized that I ought to direct this passion, that I should create in this world the books I wanted to read and hold in my hand and fall asleep next to. And then Rory called me and it began.

3 – What do you consider the role and responsibilities, if any, of small publishing?

I’m not one for absolute maxims but if you hear a small voice crying out in the darkness you should listen to what it says.

4 – What do you see your press doing that no one else is?
Affordable, ergonomic, and stylish coffee table books that not only generate conversation, but true Dogen-like knowledge of self. Get your copy now.

5 – What do you see as the most effective way to get new books out into the world?
Getting your famous friends to talk about them at parties.

6 – How involved an editor are you? Do you dig deep into line edits, or do you prefer more of a light touch?
I review and read everything but my edits are holistic - I’m keen to toss a whole chapter or poem - whereas our esteemed editor Daniel Schwartz is surgical. His attention to detail is immaculate and catches things on the first read I didn’t get after ten. He is like a tunnel rat, digging deep into the dank-ness of language and pulling out the errant chunks of cheese he finds therein. He has been Employee of the Month since we started, basically.

7 – How do your books get distributed? What are your usual print runs?
So far we have been distributing them ad-hoc by hand. I’m quite literally a traveling salesman. I have a green suitcase from the seventies that I schlep the books around with, I sleep on my friend’s futons, it’s great.

150 is a pretty standard first run for books. Laura’s and Rin’s chapbooks have both sold over two hundred copies from initial runs of 50. Most of that was done at book fairs and within the span of few hours. I remember one of our authors, Cassie, sat at our table at the Brooklyn Book Festival (weird place) and watched as something like fifteen straight people bought her book. And then nothing for hours. And then five more. The economics of demand fascinate me.

8 – How many other people are involved with editing or production? Do you work with other editors, and if so, how effective do you find it? What are the benefits, drawbacks?
Inpatient wouldn’t exist without Rory Hamovit and Dan Schwartz, who are my partners and blood brothers. It is incredibly effective and wouldn’t have it any other way. I endlessly recommend hiring these two people at incredibly high salaries to anyone who is listening.

9– How has being an editor/publisher changed the way you think about your own writing?
I can’t remember where I read it or who said it, but since the winter of 2014 a sentence scrolls in my head like a marquee and its something like, “One form of a great publisher is the failed writer who knows the real thing when they see it.”

So I try to seize upon that.

10– How do you approach the idea of publishing your own writing? Some, such as Gary Geddes when he still ran Cormorant, refused such, yet various Coach House Press’ editors had titles during their tenures as editors for the press, including Victor Coleman and bpNichol. What do you think of the arguments for or against, or do you see the whole question as irrelevant?
I don’t publish my own named writing except as a joke shared between friends, like I listed ‘Inpatient’ as the publisher of this bible I made where I replaced every instance of the world ‘father’ with ‘daddy’ ( ) but that’s not really ‘publishing’ in the way that’s meaningful to me or other people although it is interesting academically as an overloading of the term. But it’s not what Inpatient set out to do with ‘publishing’, that is, recognizing and championing new as well as overlooked works and devoting time, money, and resources to their vision.

That being said, if your entire ‘press’ is a self-publishing operation, I think that’s fine, that’s just artistic practice and branding. But when you involve other people, the act of publishing necessarily becomes political and self-publishing can seem, well, self-serving in some contexts. I think the whole point of the small press movement, if there is one, is to champion and embrace each other, not ourselves.

11– How do you see Inpatient Press evolving?
We are in the process of laying out an erotica rag right now called IMPATIENT.

The cover is unbelievable. I look at it when I feel dejection and find the most resolute truth in it.

Consolidating more material on a more regular schedule is our future goal. Ian Hatcher did this piece for us called Private. It is four layers of transparency sheets, each inscribed with a different poem. When you lay them on top of each other, it forms a whole new transparent poem. You can rearrange and relayer, it’s so hard to photograph because it’s literally floating text. I want to make dozens more of those, each by a different artist playing with the mode of transparency. It could be a monthly thing we mail out. $10 a month.

12– What, as a publisher, are you most proud of accomplishing? What do you think people have overlooked about your publications? What is your biggest frustration?
I woke feeling incredibly depressed in I think it was March of this year, absolutely dreary day and I was sitting in the subway and I got an email, it was a forwarded message from Laura from a young woman in the midwest about how much her book had helped her and it was one of the most beautiful and true things I think I have ever read in my life. I felt very humbled and immediately the depression was lifted. Whenever I am sad about a review getting pulled or see a piece online that I love not getting the respect I feel it deserves, I reread that email.

13– Who were your early publishing models when starting out?
Olympia was and still is the gold standard for me. Except we pay our authors.

14– How does Inpatient Press work to engage with your immediate literary community, and community at large? What journals or presses do you see Inpatient Press in dialogue with? How important do you see those dialogues, those conversations?
Wonder, Laura Warman, and Inpatient all just pooled together to make a bunch of cute taupe-colored bags that say “SEX WITHOUT FEAR IMPOSSIBLE” on them. I think that’s been the most successful dialogue so far.

15– Do you hold regular or occasional readings or launches? How important do you see public readings and other events?
All of our books get launch events / parties. For Before we held it at Dominique Levy gallery and then ate pizza in the park with champagne.

We hold semi-regular readings at this old diner in Brooklyn, the Sunview Lunchnet. Last reading was Mystery Guest, Rin Johnson, and Laura Warman. The next one is November 11th, a Friday, where we have Andrea Arrubla, Diana Hamilton, and Conor Messinger. The readings are low-key, but we try to generate unique literature to give out at each one so the event is a ‘publication’ in of itself. Rory is an amazing bartender. We don’t have a name for the series but if I had to choose one right now I would call it “Disaster is an anthropomorphic term”.

16– How do you utilize the internet, if at all, to further your goals?

We host an ongoing exhibit of webworks on our online plexus, Conor Messinger did the most recent one, a series of terminal gif poems and they are just mesmerizing.

17– Do you take submissions? If so, what aren’t you looking for?
For print, right now we are only looking for submissions to our porno rag. Please send them to

Online,  we are always looking for new material, the more experimental the better. We especially appreciate translations of obscure or unheralded authors.

18– Tell me about three of your most recent titles, and why they’re special.
We just released Before by Abraham Adams, which has been described as a “low key masterpiece” by many a book fair browser, and honestly there is little else like it. It is a coffee table book consisting of only the before pictures from before and after photographs. But they take on an apocalyptic character, because there is no resolution. There is only before, no after. That’s it. It’s the end. And so you have these images of people in swimsuits, panoramas of buildings and cities, and you have no idea what happened, why they were befores. You only know what once was.

“Before” that, we put out two incredible and hysterical chapbooks, Nobody Sleeps Better Than White People by Rin Johnson and How To Become A Lesbian by Laura Warman. They are the latest releases in our Agent Provocateur series, glossy chaps with transparency and/or vellum covers that deal with questions of the self and society. These are just honestly two of the funniest texts I’ve read but also heartbreaking. I remember Rin saying that we should do  I think we put out Rin’s in like a week, so fast it would make your head spin. And they are both still selling very well, probably our two most popular items. I mean that’s probably because we price them at $5 each so they are very affordable for the lifetime of wisdom they provide. And that’s what Inpatient is all about, the convenient transfer of extra-oracular knowledge.

12 or 20 (small press) questions;

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