Archive for January, 2013

Small Press Interview: Wave Books

In this new interview series, Monkeybicycle intern David Cotrone will be introducing you to a variety of small press editors and publishers.

This interview was conducted with Heidi Broadhead of Wave Books.



Monkeybicycle: When was Wave Books founded? What prompted you to want to start it?

Heidi Broadhead: This is on our website, here. Wave came out of Verse Press, which was founded by Matthew Zapruder and Brian Henry in 2000 when they published Letters to Wendy’s.

Mb: At the time, why was Wave—and why is it still—necessary?

HB: I think our readers can answer this better than we can, but it is necessary because it connects our authors’ work with their readers. We like to work with authors long-term, and we work with an amazing group of poets, so this is an important part of what we do. Also our editors (poets Matthew Zapruder and Joshua Beckman) work very hard to publish books each season that contribute something unique and necessary to the field of contemporary poetry.

Mb: What about Wave Books are you most proud of?

HB: The books.

Mb: What do you look for when you’re open for submissions? What makes a project or manuscript worth taking on?

HB: Something that complements our current group of authors and future projects, and that adds something new. (Note that we are mostly not open for submissions. We do occasionally have open reading periods. We publish 10 or less books per year, so space is very limited.)

Mb: What does “indie” or “small press” mean to you? What do you think of such classifications and distinctions?

HB: Um.

Mb: What sets your books apart from the rest?

HB: Our wonderful poets, who are connected to the editors and to each other in a way that helps define who we are as a press. Also, the book designs by Quemadura: our design is distinctive and privileges the text and creating an enjoyable reading experience over marketing.

Mb: What’s your favorite part of your job?

HB: Being able to read so many books and to work with poets. It’s true–poets are really nice people!

Mb: For you, why are books so important?

HB: Books are my life, so I’m not very objective. In poetry, books seem essential because the relationship of a poet and reader can be long, by which I mean people tend to hold onto their poetry books and read them again and again. They connect us to each other across time and space, which is amazing, really.

Mb: What other small presses do you admire? Why?

HB: I admire all of them. Though very rewarding, it’s hard work to run a small press.

Mb: Do you have hope for the future of books?

HB: From Wave’s perspective, we hope that our books will be read for many years, that our poets will continue to find readers for many years. The future of books in general seems out of our hands, really.


David Cotrone is from Plymouth, MA. His writing appears in Fifty-Two Stories, The Rumpus, PANK, Paper Darts, Necessary Fiction, Thought Catalog, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and elsewhere. You can find him at


Gary Indiana and The Enclave

Every so often you’ll see our social media accounts abuzz with news about an upcoming event from The Enclave Reading Series here in New York. These guys are our friends and, in some cases, our contributors (Co-curators Scott Geiger and James Freed were in print issues 8 and 9 of Monkeybicycle respectively). We love what they do each month in the cold dark basement of the Lower East Side’s premiere dive bar, Cake Shop. They’ve had readers like Shelley Jackson, Melissa Febos (who also hosts the wildly popular and wildly fun Mixer Reading Series at Cake Shop), and Alexander Chee, as well as many, many more—they’ve been doing these readings for six years.

This past Saturday’s Enclave event was as entertaining as any other, if not more so. Rebekah Rutkoff, Cat Tyc, and Bethany Ides all read film-related works that wowed the audience, and Laurie Weeks made a surprise appearance, billed as the Enclave’s first author-in-residence, to read from her novel, Zippermouth. And as if all of this weren’t enough for one afternoon, there was also Gary Indiana.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing a Gary Indiana reading you’re in luck. Liza Beár filmed this one, which included the author sharing part of a as yet unpublished novel that he’s co-writing with British artist Tracey Emin, as well as an email to her and some of his trademark antecdotes. You can watch Indiana’s performance below. And be sure to check out The Enclave’s Tumblr site to find out details on their February event, and follow them on the usual social media spots: Twitter and Facebook.

Know Your Bookstore: Quimby’s (Chicago)

In this new interview series, Monkeybicycle intern David Cotrone will be introducing you to a variety of independent booksellers and store owners.

Quimby’s is located in Chicago, IL. This interview was conducted with Liz Mason of the Quimby’s bookstore staff.



Monkeybicycle: When was Quimby’s founded? What prompted you to want to sell books?

Liz Mason: On September 15th, 1991, Steven Svymbersky, the founder of Quimby’s, opened the store in Chicago on 1328 N. Damen (at Evergreen) in Wicker Park, in a 1000 sq. ft. space. Since 1985 he has published over 50 zines with his friends, and has published Quimby Magazine for five years in Boston. Steven explained the philosophy of the store with these words: “I really want to carry every cool-bizarre-strange-dope-queer-surreal-weird publication ever written and published, and in time, Qvimby’s will. Because I know you’re out there and you just want something else, something other, something you never even knew could exist.” (And yes, that was a “v.”) In 1997, Steven sold the store to Eric Kirsammer, the owner of Chicago Comics. Steven moved to Amsterdam with his family shortly thereafter. Eric purchased the store from Steven in order to continue Steven’s commitment to the First Amendment. After a few years, the rent became too expensive to keep Quimby’s at the same spot in which Steven had opened it. Eric moved it to its current locale—1854 W. North Avenue—to provide it with a more permanent locale. He also still owns Chicago Comics. Quimby’s and Chicago Comics have a reciprocal “sister store” relationship, where we transfer materials between each other and often collaborate on ordering, outreach and off-site events.

Mb: Does your location influence your store? If so, how?

LM: Sure. We’re only 3 blocks away from the 6 corner of Damen, North and Milwaukee, the heart of Wicker Park. So we get some foot traffic and some traffic from when people are doing shopping in the area. Some people make a pilgrimage to see us, which has less to do with location, but it also helps that there are some record stores in the area, like Reckless.

Mb: What sets Quimby’s apart from the rest?

LM: We sell zines, comics and other weirdo independently published stuff that most bookstores do not.

Mb: What’s your favorite part of your job?

LM: Opening the mail!

Mb: For you, why are books so important?

LM: Art books are objects of art! Same with zines. Plus, a lot of the stuff we sell doesn’t exist in a digital format.

Mb: Personally, why do you read?

LM: For literacy, entertainment and enrichment.

Mb: Do you host readings at your bookstore? If so, who’s given your most memorable one?

LM: Yes. Here’s our events calendar: Probably the most memorable one was a zinester reading where someone proposed to his fiancée on stage.

Mb: What and who are some of your favorite titles and authors?

LM: Anything by Chuck Klosterman (Fargo Rock City, The Visible Man, etc.), graphic novels by Dan Clowes, etc.

Mb: Do you have hope for the future of books?

LM: Sure. As long as they’re still printing I’ll be reading them.

Mb: Please share anything else you would like to say.

LM: Lots of good Quimby info here.


David Cotrone is from Plymouth, MA. His writing appears in Fifty-Two Stories, The Rumpus, PANK, Paper Darts, Necessary Fiction, Thought Catalog, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and elsewhere. You can find him at