DDB: Jaded Ibis Press is an imprint of the multimedia company, Jaded Ibis Productions. We publish and produce literature, art and music that are intellectually, culturally and environmentally sustainable. Our titles consist of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and hybrids. We’re best known for writing that reaches far beyond conventional literature.
Since January 2011 Jaded Ibis Productions and its imprint Jaded Ibis Press have gained national attention for our innovative business model and intrepid explorations into the newest literature and digital technologies. Jaded Ibis Press, its editors and authors have been the subject of feature articles, interviews and reviews in Forbes, Poets & Writers, The Brooklyn Rail, The Believer, Hyperallergic, Lambda Literary, American Book Review, and many other print and online publications. Our books have made a number of “Best” lists, including four list in O, the Oprah Magazine, The Times Literary Supplement, and others.
Recently, we’ve added three new series:
- #RECURRENT, edited by Janice Lee and premiering this fall with Joe Milazzo’s novel, Crepuscule W/Nellie. #RECURRENT publishes books that simultaneously continue the legacy of the novel while reimagining the form as an interface and interactive narrative of the future.
- Blue Bustard publishes two novellas by different authors in one volume. The series also premiers this fall with novellas by Beth Couture (Women Born With Fur) and Leslie McGrath (Out from the Pleiades), and continues in 2015 with novellas by Brian Bradford (Greetings from Gravipause) and Nathan Hansen (Forget You Must Remember).
- We’re also establishing Bowerbird, a series focusing on the new memoir, to be edited by brilliant poet Elizabeth J. Colen, whose poetry collection Waiting Up for the End of the World: Catastrophes, we published in 2012. Most of the memoirs we’ve published, and those coming out in the next two years, beautifully reshape the topography of the genre and thereby expectations of readers. Four of our memoirists — Jane Rosenberg LaForge (An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy | A Fantastical Memoir), Cris Mazza (Something Wrong With Her: A Real-Time Memoir, Dawn Raffel (The Secret Life of Objects) and Anna Joy Springer (The Vicious Red Relic, Love: A Fabulist Memoir) — discussed their memoirs at the 2014 AWP Conference, and the audience was intrigued, expressing a serious interest in not only reading eccentric works like those we publish, but also in writing them.
SW: The poetry at Jaded Ibis Press attempts to combine disparate experimental urges and new literary models in ways that maintain connective tissue to the tradition of poetries predating our present moment. We like writing that strikes out onto new territory without losing sight of what produced it, and we even have a martial term for it: Reconnaissance Literature, or the literature of the forward guard. This guard scouts on its own but maintains communication and crucial interests with the rear guard, in mutual interest. And though we want our writing to be bold, dissonant at times, chaotically musical, to push back against its sole category as literature by illuminating it with fine art, music, technology, and though we need it to transcend normative, accepted modes of communication and art, we still like it to be lyrical at times, always intelligent, clear and beautiful, and not a muddied reworking of the experiments of the past. I am certain Debra Di Blasi covered the technical aspects of how the press is different—the collaborations with visual artists, the technological innovations—such as the fact that we produced one of the first novel apps ever made—but we are guided by a deeper principle. Such innovations are anchored in this belief in the present of literature as a bridge between the future and its glorious, albeit daring and experimental, pasts.
NA: Could you say a few words about your background as editors?
DDB: Sam and I are both educators and award-winning published writers, and thus approach acquisitions and editing from those idiosyncratic perspectives. Also, we’re not youngsters. Sam’s over 40 and I’m over 50, and we’ve been reading, writing and publishing our own work all of our adult lives. I emphasize our ages because it attests to the amount of literary knowledge we’ve acquired — and we don’t read pap. Also, the mind processes information over the course of time, analyzing and reassessing and comparing/contrasting a burgeoning accretion of information. Sam and I read outside of literature, too, which is why we’re also friends. I read heavily in the fields of physics, neurology, bio and computer technologies, primatology, and entymology. I also keep current and well informed on global politics and economics. And I travel. A lot. I now live in Hong Kong, and my husband and I still have an apartment in South Africa that we visit every year or so.
Specifically regarding editing:
I do hands-on editing of our books, sometimes giving “assignments” to an author so s/he will go back and more effectively rewrite parts of the manuscript. What’s very important is that I not futz with the writer’s idiosyncratic style, that whatever changes I make improve that style within its own parameters — not within mine.
I think the diversity of my background does exemplify how I came to run a multimedia publishing company and make certain aesthetic decisions: I set out to get a degree in journalism and did study for a while at University of Missouri-Columbia’s famous Journalism School. But I’d already been “tainted” by poetry, having taken every course possible with Larry Levis and Tom McAfee. Eventually I earned a BFA in painting—though Kansas City Art Institute allowed quite a lot of exploration in other disciplines like video, bookmaking, and writing. While there, I wrote art reviews for The New Art Examiner instead of turning in art history exams because my professor thought I was wasting my talent writing test essays.