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Open reading period | 2015

anchor & plume_2015 open reading
We will be reading your work during our annual open reading period (June 1-July 31, 2015). All work should be sent through Submittable.

We would like to see work that is a celebration of language and place, work that is smart and thoughtful, work that explores the intersection of the personal and the geographic. We welcome your mighty yawps, your whisperings, your exquisite imaginings. We want to explore your landscapes, your universal yet distinct themes,  and characters in work that brings something of that place and what it means to be human to the surface.

During our 2015 open reading period, we will consider work for chapbooks (12-36 pages) and pocket books (e.g., 1-2 stories or 1-3 poems or 1 essay).

We welcome work from the following categories: novella, short story collection (chapbook length), short stories (1 or 2 stories for a pocket book), poetry collection (chapbook length), poems (1-3 for a pocket book), essay collections, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. Our 2016 list already contains one full length collection of prose poems and one nonfiction chapbook.

Send us your best work. We lean toward publishing smaller books because that is what our budget permits. It’s important to note we are not looking for a full collection at this time but if, on the off chance you’re convinced we’ll love it and feel compelled to submit yours, we’ll read it! If we love it (and we hope we do!), we welcome the opportunity to single out an excerpt for a chapbook.

Our taste is varied. We like: Kathryn Davis, Flannery O’Connor, Virginia Woolf, Katharine Rauk, Mary Ruefle, Anne Carson, Lauren Groff, Kimiko Hahn, Seamus Heaney, Marilynne Robinson, Louise Glück, John Banville, W.G. Sebald, Tomas Tranströmer, Maggie Nelson, James Salter, Walker Percy, Rebecca Solnit, Sarah Manguso.

We are asking a reading fee of $10 for your submission. If the submission fee is an obstacle for you, email us (hello [at] anchorandplumepress [dot] com).

Thank you for submitting your work to Anchor & Plume! We do our best to respond within three months. Please do not query before allowing us three months.

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A Hole in the Light | Lucas Jacob

anchor & plume—a  hole in the light—shop copy

If you’re in the Dallas area, Lucas Jacob will be reading from A Hole in the Light at Pandora’s Box, tomorrow night, Monday, May 17. Details here.

Houston area readers! You can hear Lucas Jacob read from his chapbook at Brazos Bookstore May 29th. Details here.


Robert Torres has posted a thoughtful micro review of Lucas Jacob’s A Hole in the Light at AMRI. What Torres elaborates on is one of the elements that drove us to select Jacob’s collection for publication.

“It is not the kind of book you blow through in one reading. Rather, it’s the kind of book you keep on your night stand and read piece by piece. Many of the poems are slow, and they are better for it. Perhaps Jacob’s greatest strength is in expanding moments and minutia into universes of their own.”

You can read the micro review in its entirety here.

Need a copy of A Hole in the Light? We still have a few here.

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THE FLEXIBLE TRUTH, Second Edition Campaign


As of April 22, we sold all 250 copies of The Flexible Truth! We were all a bit giddy and there may or may not have been a dance party—we’ll never tell. We appreciate your enthusiasm for The Flexible Truth!

If you missed out on this fun and offbeat collection, the Second Edition Campaign is your chance to pre-order your copy! When you pre-order The Flexible Truth during our Second Edition Campaign, your copy will feature a new piece of writing and two broadsides—the broadside from the first edition and a new broadside featuring writing by Kayla Pongrac and illustrated by Shayna Blackford. And did I mention the new broadside would be signed by Kayla and Shayna? So what are you waiting for? Pre-order your copy of The Flexible Truth and get ready to find out just how flexible the truth is!

We are a small press staffed by volunteers. We rely heavily on pre-orders to underwrite the expense of printing. Know that your order directly supports our effort to put printed books in the hands of readers like yourself. Your pre-order or subscription goes a long way to help us do this work we love.

NOTE: We will be collecting pre-orders through Monday, June 15. We expect to ship orders the first week of July. If for any reason we do not meet our minimum to go to print, you will receive a full refund and a digital copy of the new broadside to download, print, and share!

Thank you for your support!

—AM, ed.

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Pretty Omens

Pretty Omens_Anchor&Plume

Pretty Omens came through our submission manager and from our first reading we all agreed A. LaFaye was a storyteller in the southern tradition: she had a story to tell and she knew how to tell it. In the pages of Pretty Omens you’ll discover a haunting story-in-verse—told in language that grabs you and doesn’t let go—and a girl struggling to find her place in a community that shuns her.

About Pretty Omens:
Cass Anne Marie came squalling into her mother’s waiting arms, a mother who had known the hard edge of expecting after three previous stillbirths. A fierce winter crept over their small mountain community and took Cass Anne’s life, but her mother—“cried her back”—crying so hard she brought her infant’s soul back to the living, breathing world. The residents of the community believe this opened Cass Anne up to the devil so they shun her and her mama, protecting their families from the “devil child.”

In an effort to tip the cosmic scales in her favor, Cass Anne fills her days with small kindnesses for her unsuspecting neighbors. When she begins to receive omens of bad things to come, folks are certain the devil is using the child. Cass Anne isn’t to be believed and it is only after tragedy strikes that the town is forced to see that omens can be a thing of beauty and a young girl can be an instrument of grace.

With Pretty Omens, A. LaFaye has crafted a mesmerizing novel-in-verse inspired by the epic tradition and the myth of Cassandra that will transport you to a small Virginia mountain community where an ordinary girl becomes a hero.

A. LaFaye is a writer, professor, mother of five, and wife. An associate professor of English at Greenville College, she is gearing up to launch their first MFA program in Multimedia Storytelling. She also teaches as a visiting associate professor in the graduate program in Children’s and Young Adult Literature at Hollins University. LaFaye’s other titles include: The Keening (Milkweed), Water Steps (Milkweed), and Worth (Aladdin). Catch up with her on Facebook at

Advanced praise for Pretty Omens:
In language as lovely as a curling mountain creek, A. LaFaye tells the story of Cass Anne Marie, born during a nasty winter on Crowley’s Ridge. Loved back to life by her mama, the young girl is shunned by the mining community because of her gift of omens. And yet this gift might prove to be their salvation. Pretty Omens, a story-in-poems by a pitch-perfect author, reads like a classic.
—Mary Logue, author of Sleep Like a Tiger and Lake of Tears

In LaFaye’s strong, fast-paced novel-in-verse, the voices of her characters ring true, the language dazzles, drawing the reader into Cass Anne’s story of love and redemption, religious intolerance, and belief.
—Paul Janeczko, author of Firefly, July, Publisher’s Weekly Book of 2014

Told in sparse free verse poems, LaFaye’s gritty tale of a young girl’s struggle against a town’s superstitions, is both powerful, and heartbreaking, and ultimately inspiring.
—Han Nolan, National Book Award winner, Dancing on the Edge

Hop on over to the shop to pre-order your copy of Pretty Omens and preview a poem from the book.

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Meet Kayla Pongrac


Meet Kayla Pongrac, author of the forthcoming flash fiction chapbook The Flexible Truth:

What prompted you to write a collection full of offbeat characters? Literature is full of offbeat characters but there is something uniquely charming about yours I can’t quite put my finger on—can you sum them up in just a few words?

Just as these stories came to life rather naturally and organically, so too did the characters within them. Still, I was very much aware that I was creating characters with these weird quirks and unique voices/thought processes about them, and I’m quite sure that’s because those are the types of characters that I’m typically drawn to as a reader. I just finished Miranda July’s novel, The First Bad Man, for instance, and I would like to think that my characters resemble hers in the sense that you can’t predict what to expect from them. What you see likely isn’t what you’re going to get, and that breeds intrigue. I’m all about intrigue!

If I had to sum up the characters in The Flexible Truth, I would describe them as “strugglers.” Each of them is struggling in some way—in some sad, bold, and beautiful way. I love them for that, and I hope readers will, too.

Also, I appreciate you describing this cast of characters as “uniquely charming.” I’ll have to pass that compliment on to them, as I’m sure the dentist will blush and the bartender will offer a toast.

In reading the collection, I was struck by the variety of ways in which many of the pieces can be read: as interior monologue, as a written account or journal entry, and as a confession of sorts. Was this intentional on your part, to make the reader feel as if they’re overhearing/reading private thoughts?

I can’t say that it was my intention for these stories to be read in any specific way, though I will say that these characters are definitely confessing their thoughts and feelings as best as they know how. For some, monologuing interiorly (I made that phrase up—is that okay?) appears to be the most comfortable form of expression. Take “Balloon Cocoon” as an example; you have this character who is yearning for some conversation—and answers—as she watches her sister swing in a hammock: “Sam always used to say that we would get out of this town, that we would become two sisters who traversed the earth until we fell off the face of it . . .” Here the reader gets full access into the narrator’s mind, whereas the sister doesn’t. That’s some V.I.P. business right there, isn’t it? Anyway, I think that no matter how these stories are read, readers will appreciate how the characters are unabashedly revealing themselves. Here are their homes. Here are their belongings. Here are their relationships. Here are their thoughts and here are their feelings.

The titles of the pieces are a thing of brilliance and are utterly inventive. In my experience, coming up with titles can be difficult. Can you tell us how you came up with these titles that are both jarring and inviting?

It’s funny that you and Michael W. Cox (author of Against the Hidden River) complimented me on the titles in this collection because I tend to struggle with titles. I really do. I’ve even joked with some fellow writers that I’ve considered hiring a “title generator.” The titles assigned to the stories in The Flexible Truth, however, came to fruition with little to no effort, so I’m just going to blame this blessing on two really fantastic loose leaf teas that I enjoy drinking while writing. I think these “magical teas” made me feel determined to bestow each piece a title that was representative of not only the story, but also the characters within. Would the narrator in “The Benefit of Reading the Newspaper” name the story “The Benefit of Reading the Newspaper”? I’m certain she would.

If you had to choose just one of your pieces to define your outlook on life, which would you choose?

Hmmm. I’ve felt a strong connection to “Back to Betting” from the moment I wrote it. I can relate to this character because she’s hesitant to gamble but does so anyway; she’s well aware of the inevitability of aging; she may or may not be disturbed by the fact that some things never change; she reminisces quite often and that line at the end . . . man, that line at the end haunts me so. I don’t want to give anything away, especially since “Back to Betting” is the final story in the collection, but I just adore how comfortable this character is with being alone with herself. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t know what I’d do without my husband and my family and my friends, but I have always considered it important to be able to find happiness in your own company. It’s a lovely experience, spending time with yourself. I think people should spend time with themselves more often.

Was there a ritual you used to enter the world of The Flexible Truth when you sat down to write?

No ritual. I just drank a lot of tea and listened to Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City” on repeat. I love that album. I mean, I really love that album. Tea + “Modern Vampires of the City” + being in a creatively vulnerable state of mind made this collection pop. And now that The Flexible Truth is in book form, I hope it sparks.

Ed’s note: You can listen to Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City” here.

If Murph were to get a job writing fortunes for fortune cookies, what might those fortunes look like?

Ha! I love this question. The front of the fortunes would, of course, feature one-sentence “advice” from Murph, such as “I used to be scared of picture frames,” and “I owe a great debt to Band-Aids.” The backs would depict a simple yet terribly satisfying picture of Murph’s thumb . . . and he would be giving a thumbs-up because he loves his readers, even those who stuff themselves full of Chinese food. (Now don’t tell him I told you this, but Murph slurps wonton soup like a madman. For reals.)

If you enjoyed getting to know Kayla, be sure to meet Murph, resident advice columnist to the characters in The Flexible Truth. For a sampling of Murph’s offbeat style, read this and be sure to send in your burning question!

Pre-order your copy of this extraordinary and unexpected chapbook here!