Episode 40: Running a Small Press with Jane Ormerod and David Lawton of Great Weather for Media

Dan and guest host Aimee Herman (from Episode 4) kick off 2021 by talking to poet/co-founder Jane Ormerod and writer/editor David Lawton of NYC small press Great Weather for Media. They discuss the challenges of running a small press during a pandemic, the power of poetry, and tips for submitting your work. 

There’s still time to be in their next anthology! Submit your work by January 15th, 2021. You can find all the guidelines and the submission portal here. You can also purchase their anthologies and solo poetry collections on their website. Use the promo code PODCAST21 for 20% off your purchase. Support this amazing small press! Follow them on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Jane Ormerod is the author of the full-length poetry collections Welcome to the Museum of Cattle and Recreational Vehicles on Fire (both from Three Rooms Press), and the chapbook 11 Films (Modern Metrics/EXOT Books). Her work also appears in numerous publications, including From Somewhere to Nowhere: The End of the American Dream, Maintenant, Marsh Hawk Press Review, POSTstranger, The Pedestal, Sensitive Skin, and Paris Lit Up. She is a recipient of a 2020 Acker Award and is a founding editor at great weather for MEDIA, an independent press focusing on unpredictable and innovative poetry and prose. www.greatweatherformedia.com Learn more on her website: janeormerod.com.

David Lawton is the author of Sharp Blue Stream (Three Rooms Press) and has had his work published in numerous journals and anthologies. David is a graduate of the theatre program at Boston University, where he was also a Guest Artist in the graduate playwriting classes taught by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. For ten years he was a background vocalist in the New York underground band Leisure Class. At the band’s de facto headquarters in the Chelsea Hotel, he befriended Beat godfather Herbert Huncke and San Francisco poet Marty Matz, and was inspired by their embodiment of the written word. David also serves as an editor for greatweatherforMEDIA and collaborates with poet Aimee Herman in the poemusic collective Hydrogen Junkbox.

Aimee Herman is a two-time Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and performance artist based in Brooklyn, New York, and an adjunct professor at Bronx Community College. Aimee Herman (they/them) is the author of the novel, “Everything Grows” (Three Rooms Press) and two full length books of poems, “meant to wake up feeling” (great weather for MEDIA) and “to go without blinking” (BlazeVOX books), in addition to being widely published in journals and anthologies including BOMB, cream city review, and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books).  Aimee is a queer writer and educator and a founding member alongside David Lawton in the poetry band, Hydrogen Junkbox.

This episode was recorded on December 21. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups (and the ambient sounds of NYC!). Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“I think one of the interesting things about [Great Weather for Media] is that a number of us come from other disciplines and…apply some of the other things we learned in the other disciplines to writing poetry and then editing poetry and prose in our anthologies.” -David Lawton @greatweatherfor

“We like poetry that looks good on the page and sounds great on the stage.” -David Lawton @greatweatherfor

“Since the election, we’ve had less pandemic work sent to us. There’s been more of a softness […] There seems to be a lot of writing about gardening, freedom, light.” -Jane Ormerod @greatweatherfor

“I’m much more aware of the things that have been taken away from me, my gratitude for my community […] I’m someone that lives alone already, and normally I like living alone. It’s been hard because I don’t have my community.” -David Lawton @greatweatherfor

“I actually work at a college in an office for international students. I feel so much for what those students are going through and what they’re missing out on.” -David Lawton @greatweatherfor

“I think that all of us found [our poem of the week series] really nurturing. It felt like we were giving something back, and something was coming back to us. And then after that, it felt like we were ready to do the next step, which was starting the open mics again.” -Jane Ormerod @greatweatherfor

“I think there’s some really interesting things that have come out of this [time]. And we’re all beginning to feel a little more comfortable doing readings online as well.” -Jane Ormerod @greatweatherfor

“We’re using technology in a positive way.” -Aimee Herman

“We have a duty to our authors to be able to sell their books.” -Jane Ormerod @greatweatherfor

“Every time we sell a book, I’m like cheering. I literally cheer in the apartment I’m so excited. It’s thrilling that I’m suddenly going to the post office.” -Jane Ormerod @greatweatherfor

“Please people, buy books. I want to go to the post office!” -Jane Ormerod @greatweatherfor

“Just as people are getting an awareness and a greater appreciation for small businesses and are being encouraged to support small businesses, that’s the hope for small presses too.” -David Lawton @greatweatherfor

“Small presses are necessary to keep things bubbling. If it ends up being just the big presses, certainly, especially for something like poetry, it’s not a healthy thing.” -David Lawton @greatweatherfor

“I think that if more people talked about the wildness of poetry, that it doesn’t have to have a label, it can just be […] more people would be poets.” -Aimee Herman

“We love new writers.” -Jane Ormerod @greatweatherfor

“It’s not just the writer sending to the small press, it’s the people who are volunteering their time at an independent press, and you feel that.” -Aimee Herman

“The intimacy of an independent press is what we need to keep alive because it’s not about making money, it’s about we need to get these words out there because these words need to be read.” -Aimee Herman

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