Answering a question I’ve heard out in the world when mentioning the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Series seems as good a place as any to start as any. Anyone not involved in the little niche community that is American poetry will often want to know just what exactly a chapbook is. In short, a poetry chapbook is a collection of poems that clocks in at under 48 pages. Now what do the folks at OW! Arts think a chapbook is?
The Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Series was started with the hip-hop tradition of the mixtape in mind. When an artist is in the studio working on a studio release, they may also be performing shows with audiences yearning to take a piece of what they’ve just experienced home with them. The mix tape is way to get music in their hands before the more extensive project it honed. Often the mix tape works as a kind of opening salvo, a hint to what’s coming from the studio release, often featuring early versions of tracks that will be on the album. It also has served an important financial purpose, as the low overhead and direct marketing nature of the product means more money directly in the artist’s pocket.
Our chapbooks are meant to serve this dual purpose of being a way for writers to make supplemental income off of work they’ve diligently crafted, while giving the reading public a well put together, emotionally resonant take-away from a reading. Just like a mixtape, these explosive little books can act as harbinger for a new artist’s first full release or sate audience appetites between a more established writer’s projects. Our chapbooks are not the single-color cardstock folded around and stapled to Xeroxed pages that have been associated the term in the past. We put out crisp, full color volumes with glossy UV-coated covers and registered ISBNs. In short, these are chapbooks in length only.
Interested authors will find our contracts are among the most generous in publishing. How is that possible? We are a lean, mean operation headed up by a mad man who works on editing, graphic design, book layout, and web design/management.
Jamaal May, series editor, graphic designer, web-manager: jamaal at organicweaponarts dot com
Tarfia Faizullah, senior editor, social media liaison: tarfia at organicweaponarts dot com