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!
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.