This fall, Penumbra Online has truly started its process of creating three chapbooks from the submissions we received this summer. The past several weeks we have been editing, designing, and working with the authors to create three unique chapbooks, which will be published by the end of this year. As one of the Penumbra Press Leads, I have learned so much in terms of what work goes into designing and creating a professional-grade book of poetry.
Firstly, after choosing our three chapbook authors, Penumbra Press selected three leads to facilitate and ensure the completion of each book. As a lead myself, I made sure to contact the author, delegate editing design roles, and set a schedule for the production of the chapbook. Editing for a chapbook proved to be a bit different than our normal journal process, as all the poems were from the same author and tended to stay within a certain theme or method. We at Penumbra try our best to keep within the spirit of what the author intended, so we tend to only include edits we see absolutely necessary. Designing the chapbook was much more involved, as these chapbooks have completely different dimensions and styles than our Penumbra Spring journals.
The chapbook that I was tasked to lead, ON BIRDS/WINGS/ROADS/SILENCE, will look entirely different from our previous publications, which is very exciting! These chapbooks will be much smaller than our Spring editions, ranging closer to 30 to 35 pages than our typical 100+ page editions. The poet has much more control over how the finished product will look, as we are in closer contact with them than with our typical submitters. Our chapbook poets had the option to submit their own art as the cover design as well, which is what Dottie Lo Bue, author of ON BIRDS/WINGS/ROADS/SILENCE, in fact did. We are so excited to be able to bring these chapbooks to life, and after months of hard work, we can truly see it all come together.
If you’re interested in seeing our chapbooks, including Dottie’s, stay tuned so that you can be one of the firsts to find out when they’ll officially be published! Due to printing and funding issues, Penumbra must wait until the spring to hear word on whether our chapbooks will be available as physical copies; however, we plan to be able to distribute the chapbooks digitally as well. If you missed out on the opportunity to send your chapbook sample this summer to be evaluated by Penumbra Press, look out for more chances to submit your work, such as our Fall Penumbra Online call (which closes October 11th!) and our Penumbra Spring call, which will open later this year. We hope to hear (read) from you very soon!
Continuing from our Summer "Self-Love" theme, our staff decided to celebrate love in its other forms, settling on the theme of "Love for Others" for the Fall 2021 issue. Over the past year and a half, many have been placed in situations where they were unable to spend time with loved ones, missing out on friendly gatherings, family get-togethers, and romantic getaways. Bonds between people were tested by distance. We decided that, in addition to taking the time to remember the importance of loving oneself, we also wanted everyone to take a moment to think about those that they love. From our perspective, this particular theme is especially important as we enter into the holiday season in the Fall and beginning of winter -- Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, to name a few. The holiday season is a time where we often seek to be closest to friends, family, and other loved ones.
In selecting "Love for Others" as our theme, we thought about the definition and worked to ensure that all forms of love are included in our theme. Loving others outside of ourselves does not only apply to romantic relationships but to platonic friendships, familial love, and even a love for community. In addition, while love is often considered in its positive forms, we acknowledge that sometimes, this is not the case. Loss of a loved one or loving someone despite hardships are both just as important as the lighter feelings of love and friendship. We hope to see all sorts of different forms of love through the art, poetry, and prose pieces submitted to this issue. In keeping in line with our mission, we also hope that our Fall theme, "Love for Others" will resonate with everyone, including those from marginalized communities. We believe that this is a theme that impacts all writers and artists around the world, and we wish to use our platform to allow everyone to show their love.
Jessica Charest is an editor for Penumbra Online, as well as the Summer and Fall 2021 Penumbra Social Media Manager. She graduated with her M.A. in Literature from Stan State in Spring 2020.