Poetry Month, Day Four*: Paul Bone Recommends Moon City Press

April 4, 2013

I first heard of Moon City Press because it published the excellent novel Morkan’s Quarry.  The author of that book, Steve Yates, was the publicist at the University of Arkansas Press when I was a graduate student in the M.F.A. program there in the 90s.  One semester, as an intern in the marketing department, I wrote and recorded short radio pieces on some of the Press’s titles, and preparing for the assignments allowed me to become familiar with the library, which includes many excellent histories of Ozark life, literature, and culture.  This is also where I first became acquainted with poets like Billy Collins, John Ciardi, Miller Williams, Timothy Steele, Leon Stokesbury, Enid Shomer, Alice Friman, and Charles Rafferty, among others.

I mention the University of Arkansas Press because of the relationship it has with Moon City Press.  Operating out of Missouri State University, Moon City has a short fiction award, Moon City Review (its literary journal), and a poetry chapbook contest.  Moon City’s mission—“publishing stories, scholarship, and histories from the Ozarks”—provides a space for the region’s excellent writing to flourish.

While excellent work like Yates’ novel and Winter’s Bone have done a lot for literature from and about the Ozarks, in some ways the region is still largely misunderstood, in spite of a large body of work by earlier folklorists, ethnographers, historians, and writers like Vance Randolph and those published through UA Press.  The Ozark region lacks the South’s deep history and tragic overtones, though it has inherited much from the South.  Geographically it is an odd bird, too—in places it is prairie, in others steep mountains, pastoral and archaic at once.  And there it sits on the edge of the vast plains, an edge, an island, a last pocket of isolation before the country flares into the open frontier.

Because I have roots in the region and am happy about its collaboration with UA Press, where early on in my education I read some important poets, I was glad to discover Moon City Press and its dedication to writing for and about a particular place.

Paul Bone

*Throughout Poetry Month 32 Poems would like to use this space to praise presses, journals, and readings series that bring  poetry to us in a special way. Our hope is that we can point new fans in their direction and publicly thank editors and curators for their work. Check in with us again tomorrow for another poet’s recommendation.

Paul Bone is the author of Momentary Vision of the Assistant Meteorologist (Uccelli, 2005) and Nostalgia for Sacrifice (David Robert Books, 2013). He is chair of Creative Writing at the University of Evansville and co-editor of Measure.

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