Anonymous asked:

i just saw the contributor list for the yolo pages and it's pretty obvious that steve roggenbuck and boost house operates on a nepotistic basis - that's why it's so hard for other writers to get involved in the alt lit scene - people only care about the same rotation of names

boosthouse answered:

i want to address this briefly (this is steve). we took open submisions in february, and all 300 submissions we got were read by at least me and one other person. most anthologies don’t even have a submission process, but we wanted to give an opportunity for new people to be considered. we found ~8 new people we wanted to publish in YP from the submissions, and a bunch more we plan to share on tumblr. i thought that was really fruitful. we immediately solicited ~25 others for YP who we already knew and found essential to this collection. then to stretch to our goal of 50 contributors, we scoured online lit mags for a couple weeks, especialy focusing on finding more female-identified contributors and more political poetry.

one of the main purposes of the anthology is to introduce people to these communities (“alt lit,” “weird twitter,” etc) and what’s been happening there, so of course it’s going to have a lot of “greatest hits” from those communities. could you really expect an anthology to have mostly new writers? it’s the nature of an anthology to republish stuff from other publications . also, many of these are underappreciated writers i feel. we intentionally passed on some of the bigger names in “alt lit,” and accepted several lesser known poets under the premise of how exciting it’ll be to get them more exposure.

also i want to say, “nepotism” is one way to interpret the “same rotation of names,” but what about the value of community building? in my opinion too many publishers fail to establish an aesthetic and shared community memes. i love that there are so many wacky and lovable characters in “alt lit” and i wanted to introduce more readers to them . i still love when exciting new figures arise in this scene ; probably it’s harder to get noticed in the current scene than in the past, because it’s a much larger scene now. but if you make an honest effort to become frends with almost any of us, this seems like one of the warmest, most accepting scenes i could imagine.? but maybe my perspective is skewed or it’s changed in the past couple years.?

does anyone else want to discuss this: “it’s so hard for other writers to get involved in the alt lit scene” ? does that seem true to you? Internet Poetry specifically takes pride in giving chances to new, differently styled work.. other publications are more selective, but often with good reason (anytime you’re getting hundreds of submissions you need to be selective). recently there’s been more discussion about the visibility of people of color and other marginalized voices in the “alt lit” community, and those discussions were definitely in the front of my mind while editing YP. we were very picky about the white men we accepted for this book.

i’d be interested in more discussion about this.. as is, i feel good about our contributor list.. we don’t mean it as any kind of “ultimate” “definitive” list or anything, but i think we’ve put together a very exciting book, which simultaneously presents a lot of “greatest hits” from a community that we want to showcase , tints it in a particular direction that i think is positive, and it does provide exposure for some lesser-known writers  .. im very excited about the yolo pages

[i started an open discussion about this in the “ALT LIT GOSSIP” facebook group, click here to check that out]


thought i would briefly address this discussion here, by providing a short description of my involvement with steve, boost house, lief books, alt lit, etc. in short my thought is that the idea that “becoming involved in alt lit is difficult” is incorrect, or at least it seems incorrect based on my experience. i had been friends with steve, commenting on his statuses occasionally (not like, deep facebook chat-type friends), for about 9 months, starting in august 2011, before he came to seattle in may 2012. when he came to seattle he was looking for people to stay with, so i offered my place (again, publicly, on a status update), and he took me up on that offer. he stayed with my girlfriend at the time for ~2 weeks and then with me for ~1 week. while he was staying with my girlfriend he did a reading in tacoma, that i was invited to read at, or attend, if i wanted to. at this point i had not shared any of my writing online and was probably invited a) because i was nice to steve and b) on the assumption that i probably wrote, without full knowledge that i actually did. we read at a coffee shop, and afterward steve said he liked my poetry and was interested in helping set up a click-through ebook for the poems i read that night. we did, i believe, 2 more readings during his initial stop in seattle.

that summer, i followed up with steve about the ebook idea and he said he would be interested in starting a press, “LIEF BOOKS,” for the purpose of providing a home and ‘brand’ for the ebook. i agreed to be published on LIEF BOOKS. steve created a trailer for the ebook culled from material he had filmed of me on his camera; i said a lot of shit on there, almost none of it related to the ebook. the ebook was released on august 8, 2012 and can be found here http://www.jamesganasbestfriend.com/

steve and i have continued our friendship since then, although we talk less, mostly as a result, i think, of both of us becoming much more busy in the past year and a half.
my experience tells me that getting involved in and gaining notoriety for involvement in alt lit can be very easy. be kind to people, continue writing, prioritize real-life interaction if possible, and you can become involved. it is not very difficult. this does not address the yolo pages specifically, although it does provide a context for my involvement in it. i was invited to participate, i think, because i have continued writing consistently, because my writing emphasizes internet/visual-based forms, and because much of my writing is political in nature. this is not to say that work needs to fall perfectly in line to be promoted/endorsed by steve; i place much less emphasis on notions of positivity than steve does, for example, but this is to say that there are practical similarities between styles that, i believe, caused steve to be more interested in my things than he otherwise would have been. it is, in my opinion, not simply a question of ‘nepotism’ but of intellectual, emotional, stylistic, and formal meeting points

lol how was i not tagged once in this thread

nvm realized the tags are largely conversational

i didn’t see this until v recently

since i think some of the initial discussion abt lack of representation has been based on posts i made wrt myself and some other, in my view, less-acknowledged but nonetheless hard-working/discerning writers affiliated w ‘alt lit’, feel like my initial reaction to seeing how long this thread was and feeling disdain/’disbelief’ that i wasn’t ‘conjured’ seems typical of my thoughts on ‘alt lit’ publications, in general

it seems notable to me that my solicitation to contribute to ‘yolo pages’ was the first solicitation i’ve received from any buzz-generating ‘alt lit’ publication i’m only loosely affiliated w, and that it only happened when someone noticed i hadn’t submitted anything

i wasn’t interested in publishing writing/getting my writing published until after seeing how systemically shitty the ‘hollywood’ filmmaking construct seemed in its history of ‘courting’ and ‘priming’ the ‘obvious talent’ for specific positions w/i its established series of rituals and aesthetic expectations

after reading some early ‘alt lit’ publications i felt like the barrier for entry seemed almost nonexistent, especially since i had little understanding of the structure of ‘literature proper’ at the time

i liked that it seemed easy to email, comment on blog posts by, or tweet at different ppl involved in order to draw attention to work i was producing, even tho, at the time, i considered the work to be maladaptive to what it seemed most ppl were doing, partly bc i was raised allowed to read almost exclusively christian and fantasy literature, partly bc i was 19 and not v discerning, in general, and partly bc i hadn’t been interested in any work besides what i had seen online, while the majority of the ppl, it seemed, had early and diverse interest in a lot of different authors, poets, and/or journalists i didn’t have the educational background or interest base to have been introduced to

in the five years i’ve been publishing things ‘yolo pages’ is the first physical ‘alt lit’ journal to specifically solicit me for work

i dropped out of school and started blogging/tweeting in 2008, wrote my first novel in 2009, i performed at my first poetry open mic in 2010, in 2011 i submitted to as many no-submission-fee publications as i cld find, in 2012 i started my own publication out of frustration bc i hadn’t gotten published, began curating my aesthetic into a coherent and consistent output structure, in 2013 i decided to ‘fuck it’ and try as many possible things at once while running a daily publication putting out work by ppl i felt were underrepresented despite how much i liked most or all of their work

in all that time i felt convinced ppl shld be acknowledging the amnt of effort and time i was putting into what i was doing and not until i received an email from boost house expressing confusion why i hadn’t submitted have i felt, distinctly, that anyone noticed how much time and energy i’d been putting into ‘alt lit’

i empathize w the anonymous inquiry, but i think drawing attn to things like this w/o thinking abt who might have something relevant to contribute bc they don’t fit into the consumerism-derivative or academically-informed modes most ‘alt lit’ writers seem to have interest in or come from is an aspect of what seems shitty to me, not nepotism, not ethnic representation, not political slant

i was traveling today and wasn’t able to navigate online competently until mid-afternoon, and i had work and personal things to take care of so i didn’t see this post until late in the evening and immediately felt resentful this discussion had happened at length w/o anyone contacting me soliciting contribution, and that i was required to read ~8hrs worth of discussion prior to feeling informed enough to respond, so instead of a brief addition or opinion i wrote this long-ass thing

between 2012 - 2013 i published a quarterly litmag called ‘habitat’ [http://habitat-issues.blogspot.com/]

issue 0 i solicited ~30 ppl, no one responded, so i made the entire issue myself

issue 1 i solicited ~50 ppl, citing issue 0 as the template for what the zine wld be like, ~25 responded, i published everyone who responded

issue 2 i solicited ~60 ppl, ~24 responded, i published everyone who responded

issue 3 i sent an email to the same ~60 ppl, saying only responses 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13 wld be able to contribute, there were six contributors who were able to do anything they wanted

issue 4 was a mix of open submission and solicitation, i said i wld accept the first 7 submissions and request 3 pieces, the three ppl i solicited were moon temple, sam pink, and heiko julien

issue 5 i tweeted from @mammal3050 that submissions were open for habitat’s 5th issue, 6 ppl responded, i published all 6 ppl

i stopped working on habitat after issue 5 bc one of the contributors passed away and it affected me deeply but i plan to publish a new issue soon, i recommend ‘switching it up’ but idk what to suggest wrt ensuring there’s even representation bc i don’t think any systemic publishing model seems life-affirming in the way i want my output to seem life-affirming

i don’t remember what im talking abt anymore

tl;dr: i don’t think ‘the problem’ is who’s included and for what reasons, i think ‘the problem’ is who’s excluded and for what reasons and that as long as publishers are producing work from large contributor pools, the methods used to weed out undesirable contributors may, for the time being, be more important to enumerate, for the group, than explaining how/why some ppl are chosen


Race by Stephen Michael McDowell


                The Internet serves as a super body bringing people out of shells. Long ago to be technologically savvy was a buzzword for socially isolated. Eventually this problem was overcome with countless ways to connect to others. Left alone for too long technology wanted to reach out to make friends. Socially it is working out the kinks working to bring everything together. 

                Everyone is part of a body whether or not they realize it. With over six billion individuals on the planet it is incredibly easy to forget how many of them came together to make life easier. Of course the tragedy of is how success is defined. Individuals who made the world a better place are those whose work became incredibly well-known and celebrated. 

                What is tragic is how the less-known or unknowns make life infinitely enjoyable for people. In a city that acknowledgment becomes harder to give. Service workers provide the world with everything that could ever be needed: food, products, nice smiles, their name placed on the bottom of receipts never really checked. Yet they make life better for anybody than any invention ever could. Many of the innovators of the world actually made life a bit scarier, almost terrifying in ways unforeseen at the beginning. 

                Independence is the reason given for the most popular forms of innovations. At the very beginning people thought cars were an unnecessary luxury. Millions of people die every year because they have places to get to and quickly. Nobody questions it. The innovation is accepted as fact, tested, given proper levels of testing to ensure everyone who is on the road should be on the road. Despite the massive trauma an innovation causes it is overwhelmingly accepted.

                At this point the Internet remains a brand new little baby still taking in everything. Like any newborn the Internet sees everything upside down. The world makes little sense on the Internet compared to reality. With every new innovation reality gets filtered into the online experience. People meet online. Given the right levels of technology people are able to filter their reality using literal filters from black, white, and grey to lo-fi extravagance. 

                Humanity needs to work together to overlap to feed off of each other. The world even makes it simple. Shaped almost like a circle the world is trying to tell its inhabitants about the circle of life. People at Disney tapped into that emotion with that whole ‘Circle of Life’ thing on the ‘Lion King’ soundtrack. Others outright rejected it claiming everyone is an island via the Ayn Rand objectivism lifestyle. Ultimately to exist on Earth requires a level of respect for the rest of the world’s population. That involves getting rid of the squares to make way for the circles.


the second edition of my ebook ‘i liked a lot of music in 2009 but apparently didn’t like myself’ is now available to download, rate, and review 

for free and open to the general public via goodreads

includes new cover, refurbished format/design and some notable edits

direct link to the ebook here