Friday, 18 October 2013

New Chapbook Press Launch for Global Community of Writers

Hear ye, hear ye! There is a new publishing house in town called Rubicon Press (, which is accepting manuscripts from writers worldwide. Jenna Butler (founding Editor), who resides in Edmonton, Alberta and Victoria-based writer Yvonne Blomer (assistant Editor) are the masterminds behind the new press. The two met while pursuing their Master of Creative Writing degrees at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. in 2004/05. The points of distribution for the press, so far, are East Anglia, Edmonton (where Butler is currently teaching full-time) and Victoria.


The two friends decided to showcase a book of their classmates’ accomplishments in a chapbook because “Norwich is very supportive of its university's Creative Writing program, but there hadn't been a big push in the past to have its poets present their work to the community,” said Butler. “To date, we've had two readings in the city for the launches of two different Rubicon chapbooks.”


After earning their Master degrees and returning to their respective homes, the two managed to further collaborate on the project by sending work and ideas back and forth via email and snail mail.


“Yes, it does make things challenging sometimes in the sense that we can't just meet over
coffee to review the latest pile of manuscripts; I'm at the post office
several times a month, sending her photocopied batches of the newest work so
she can review it,” said Butler. “We are excellent (read, fanatic) e-mailers, though, so we
have no trouble keeping in touch about the manuscripts we're considering.”


Rubicon is based on the idea of creating a global community of writers by publishing the work of poets world-wide, as Blomer says, “Most presses in Canada will only publish Canadian work, but we want to publish international poetry.”


“I feel that Yvonne and I really are doing what we set out to do, in the sense that we reach out to writers from around the world, whereas most independent poetry publishers are very focused on a local market,” said Butler.


Rubicon Press is built on the labour of love from both the author and publisher, which means that the publisher understands the joy, sweat and tears that is an integral part of the writing process and the finished product. Therefore, Rubicon provides a book with the professional design and care that it deserves.


“Right from the press's inception, I envisioned a strong independent poetry
publisher founded on the hard work of its volunteer members -- people who
loved poetry, who read poetry widely, and who wanted to reach international
as well as local authors,” said Butler. “I am all about very tactile, beautifully-designed
books, and I feel that a small press has better access to this kind of work
because it is dealing with limited print runs.”


This means that there is not a mass-production for the book where the quality of individual care and craftsmanship may be jeopardized. Butler’s main vision for the press is that of  “a publishing company that works one-on-one with its authors during the editing and design process to create a book that really reflects the author's original vision
for his/her completed manuscript.”


As for deciding what to call the Press, “I've always been a little attached to the name Rubicon (crossing the Rubicon!). I love the idea of pushing borders and striving for change -- in a positive sense, of course,” said Butler.


The press is focused on accepting manuscripts for individual chapbooks, but their first edition Tempus is a compilation of poets both local and abroad. Rubicon press has already received submissions from Japan and Italy, in addition to Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.


“For the inaugural chap book we did a collection, poems chosen by Jenna. I was concerned that I didn't want to have competing interests as many of the Victoria poets are people I know well.  We have just released our first single collection by writer Todd Swift - he is a Montreal born Canadian living in London, England.  Also we have plans to publish a collection by Lorri Neilsen Glenn in the winter,” says Blomer. 


The first collection Tempus was launched in East Anglia and Edmonton in summer 2006, and will have its inauguration in Victoria on October 20, 2006 at the Black Stilt Cafe Planet Earth Poetry series.


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