New Imprints Pinch of Salt Press, Light Shine Books, a possible top 100, & Gab with poet Beth Gulley
Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Happy fourth birthday Flying Ketchup Press! In 2018 we set out to inspire the local and regional poets who wanted to build a writing community here in Kansas City and beyond. With help from interns and volunteers editors, we put out contests on Submittable so we could share your creativity in new easy to share anthologies!
And you delivered! You sent work that has incredible narrative, empowering your audiences and inspiring new collaborations and projects.
Delighted, we wanted to do more. In 2020 we started a grassroots network called Ketchupedia to connect the Kansas City & regional writers community through weekly blogs, a writer's word of the day podcast, a webpage with local resources, a live poetry radio show. Then we followed up with two annual poet-in-residences to allow regional artists to explore motivation, creative goals, and advocacy. Our editorial mentorships created an exponential artist-tree effect- making room for poetry, as a space for personal narrative that empowers, heals, and unites diverse audiences. We want poets to have skills in editing and creating new sharable publishing platforms for their work because poetry books help artists share their vision with the world.
In 2022 we listened to our poets, and with the help of Beth Gulley, poetry
editors, decided to open a new imprint for regional poets who need a long cherished collection of poems to share with their audience. This will be a hybrid press where the poet contributes or finds a patron to support their project. We can do only so much while launching a traditional press, but this little hybrid imprint will help us keep kicking open doors for poets and artists. "Pinch of Salt Press" launched its first book this month just to show what it can do! Read more about it below!
Flying Ketchup Press is also proud to announce a second new imprint, Light Shine Books. Welcome! Light Shine exists to invite new readers into creative courageous moments of daily meditation and faith; to bring light to dark places, and calm in the storm. Begun in 1974 with George and Stan Hixson, a father and son team who drove across the Midwest distributing helpful books on faithful living, it exists in order to share diverse contemporary expressions of faith through thoughtful, engaging books and media.
George was a retired army chaplain and Minister and enjoyed driving station wagons full of books all over the region. We are celebrating the first book published by Light Shine in honor of sharing books that add light to life with a memoir Pray Like a Woman is available in Ebook and Amazon and soon to be in Hardback and online retailers.
We are #165 in one of our categories and could break the top 100 best seller list on Kindle if you join in this week to help us! The book is written by George’s granddaughter (that's me), your loyal managing editor, Polly Alice McCann. It released this week and will be followed by our first contemplative anthology, “Sprouts: Artists Poets and Writers” with meditations inspired by faith, hope and love coming this February 2023.
Flying Ketchup Press Interview with Beth Gulley, author of Little Fish: Tiny Meditations on Freedom.
What is your process for writing these poems?
Many of the poems in this collection were written after spending time outside reflecting on nature. When my sons were young, we use to take them to a private pond in Miami County, Kansas to fish, swim, and watch birds. The quietness of it gave me time to think. For a long time, I wrote by hand in a small notebook.
These days, I mostly write using the notes feature on my phone and I joined a group called 365 poems in 365 days which is an online writing group. We post poems there to encourage each other and hold each other accountable. I normally share the drafts of my poems with that group right away. I also run my poems by my husband, Jeremy Gulley. He is also a writer, and he gives meaningful feedback.
Most of my poems go through a revision process. I try to set them aside for a while. I re-read them, and if possible, I read them out loud to at open mics. Hearing the poems helps me to take out material that doesn’t fit, and notice information gaps an audience might experience.
What forms do you use? When did you first fall in love with forms?
This is a great question. I prefer Japanese forms such as haiku and tanka when I write using forms. One of my poet friends, Michelle Pond, finds these amazing tiny poetry forms online at Writer’s Digest https://www.writersdigest.com/be-inspired/poetry-prompts. One form I learned through Michelle is the Skinny. It is an eleven-line poem, but each line is only one word.
In Little Fish, some of the poems are haiku or tanka, but most of them are very concise free verse poems. Some people call them micro poems. Any short poem can be a micro poem. “Last Light” might be a Gogyohka which is another sort of five-line poem that contains only one phrase per line.
I’m not sure when I first fell in love with forms. One thing I remember, though, is that Jeremy and I taught a creative writing class through continuing education. We put a bunch of poetry forms face down on the table. Participants grabbed a form description and tried their hand at writing it. It was such a fun exercise. I have tried it again several times since.
While not relevant to the current book, I also love blackout or erasure poetry. A good "I-am-from" poem is fun to write as well.
The subtitle of your book is "tiny mediations on freedom. What do you think about freedom?
The character in most of the poems, Little Fish, finds herself in the position to get caught, but she mostly succeeds in staying independent. I like to see this as a metaphor for how we find ourselves enticed or trapped. How do we maintain our independence? How to we stay free?
I believe my mother raised me to belong to myself. She encouraged my independence of movement, but also my independence of thought. I never felt I needed to do something to make other people happy. My only responsibility was to think for myself about what was right and to do that regardless of other people. I wish for my readers to have the same sense of self-worth and reliance that my mother gave me.
Why did you choose fish?
As I mentioned earlier, while the fish are a metaphor, they are also literal. I find inspiration in nature. I particularly enjoy catch and release fishing. At the private pond I took my sons to, I caught sun fish, crappie, and bass. I liked to notice their behavior. At times, if the “release” part did not go well, I would feel some measure of guilt. The same was true when I caught a turtle on accident. I never wanted to hurt anyone, I just wanted to make them late for something.
Your poems are often very succinct. Does that mean you a micro poet?
I would consider myself a micro poet most of the time. Concision is one of my strengths as a writer. I like to be in the moment and capture the feeling as best I can. This is the way of haiku. I recently read an amazing book about haiku called Three Simple Lines by Natalie Goldberg. In the book, she writes about being in the moment and then noticing the world. She also talks about making a leap or adding surprise into the haiku. I find this is a good practice for life, even if I don’t share it with other people.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Little Fish: Tiny Meditations on Freedom?
Yes. The best part of Little Fish is the artwork by Polly Alice McCann. Unlike most poetry books, there is an artwork for each poem. The artwork was created separately from the poetry and matched up near the end of the publishing process. I admire Polly Alice’s style, and I think it matches and enhances the poetry. I hope readers will find delight in Little Fish.
Tales from the Deep, Short Fiction illustrated by Alex Eickhoff, Holloween 2022
Night Forest, Folk Poetry and Story featuring poets Gary Baumier and Katharyn Howd Machan and artist Elke Trittle, Winter 2022
Sprouts Meditations: Artists, Poets & Writers, Spring 2023
Flying Ketchup Press ® founded in 2018 to champion new and diverse voices in short fiction and poetry. Home | Flying Ketchup Press
Follow us on Facebook Group Kansas City Writers' Group @kcwriters
Instagram: @flying_ketchup_press Twitter: @press_flying