One example of the future tense is “Future Tense Books will do amazing things for the next 20 years too”
20 years is a long time. Future Tense Books, run by Kevin Sampsell, has been putting books out for 20 years. These books are about things like talking to the moon and petting whale carcasses. They’re about finally figuring out what it means to belong to what you are, which is that it means you’re a freak. They’re about when your son loves Spiderman. They’re about pictures of ceiling fans in different emotional states. They’re also Gary Lutz, Zoe Trope, Elizabeth Ellen, Shane Allison, Chloe Caldwell, and 20 years worth of folks all the other peppermint cans were too freaked out to publish.
Along with putting out these books, Kevin Sampsell has also been, for 10 of those 20 years, single-handedly curating the most amazing small press cave at Powell’s in Portland, OR. Occupy Indie Lit is a leaderless casserole, except Kevin is probably the one who lent us the stove. He’s been around. He’s helped everybody. He’s sexy. He’s the shit. All of which is to say: do you want a cake maybe? Do you want someone to write a ukelele song for you maybe? Do you want incentive perks, I mean? Most importantly: do you want to support a press that’s been around 20 years and is now running its first ever official fundraiser to help push itself to the next level, literally shank anything depressing you can think of about “the state of publishing,” and take over the world? Well then go here. Help the Future of Future Tense.
Legs Get Led Astray is a full-length collection of creative non-fiction. The connective threads throughout the book are love, relationships, obsession. The title alludes to getting lost looking for something that doesn’t exist: the perfect place to live, the perfect desk to write at, the perfect person to love, the perfect person to sleep with. There is no perfect anything and this compilation is about Caldwell coming to these realizations.
Pre-orders start at the end of the year but it is never too early to get excited about an interesting young writer. A couple excerpts from the book are below and you might also enjoy Chloe’s essay, at The Rumpus, a really moving piece about where she writes.
[In closing out Kevin Sampsell week, Kevin gave us the inside track for the next two releases of his press Future Tense Books. If you aren’t familiar by now, give it a peek: Kevin truly makes releases that are unlike any other press around. – BB]
From the desk of Kevin Sampsell (Portland, OR)
As many of you know, we’re on the brink of releasing the poetry collaboration, OK, Goodnight, by Zachary Schomburg and Emily Kendal Frey (March 2010), but I’ve also been poring over manuscripts to figure out what other treasures Future Tense can deliver this year. This week we were excited to acquire two books that will come out this summer and fall.
In June, we will release a chapbook called Ventriloquism by Prathna Lor. I’ve been buttering up this hot young Canadian for a while now. I’ve sent him knitted hats and coffee-flavoured chocolates. I’ve spelled words like colour and favourite with the extra u in it. Finally, he sent a batch of story-type things. Ventriloquism features works that do that wondrous thing I love so much–when a piece of writing feels so fresh and original that you’re not sure if it’s prose poetry or flash fiction. It’s beautifully uncategorizable, with body parts flitting their way through deeper emotions that Lor’s language tries to dissect with grace and force and unexpected humour. It reminds me a little bit of my all-time favorite story writer, Gary Lutz.
In November, we will release a paperback book tentatively titled The Book of Freaks by Jamie Iredell. This is another book that seems so fresh and weird and laugh-out-loud funny, I’m tempted to compare it to modern cult classics like Letters to Wendy’s and The Age of Wire and String. The story about discovering this book is a recent and happy accident. While in Seattle just two weekends ago, I saw that Blake Butler and Jamie Iredell were reading at a place called Neptune Coffee. I was excited to meet Blake for the first time and hear him read. I was not familiar with this Iredell dude. At the reading, Jamie read a few parts from his great new book, Prose. Poems. A Novel. And then he read parts of this Freaks project. There was unexpected laughter. There was surprise. There was sheer uncut artistry at work. A few days later, he sent me the manuscript. A few days later, I wallpapered my bathroom with it so that I could always have it near. Sometimes, magic happens fast when true talent is involved.
Jamie Iredell lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
We’re thrilled to be publishing these two brilliant writers later this year. Both of their books display an effortless and immense kind of entertainment value that we feel is both accessible and revolutionary. Thank you for reading. Please stay tuned to futuretensebooks.com and/or email me to get on our email list: firstname.lastname@example.org
editor & publisher
(along with Frayn Masters and Bryan Coffelt)