Small Press Points: Mongrel Empire Press

The Norman, Oklahoma–based Mongrel Empire Press ( will give writers in the Sooner State a renewed chance to flex their literary muscles this fall, when it reopens submissions in October after a two-year hiatus. Established in 2007 by editor Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, the press is guided by a mission inspired by both the biodiversity of Oklahoma and the heterogeneous nature of its people. Mish seeks poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction that crosses “generic and disciplinary boundaries,” publishing books that often diverge from the limitations of genre and form by authors with complex personal histories. “Oklahoma is much more diverse than people give it credit for,” she says. “I like to let myself be surprised.” Mish prides herself on publishing hard-to-classify works that are often overlooked—including Native American poet Joe Dale Tate Nevaquaya’s collection Leaving Holes & Selected New Writings, which won the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Book Award for Poetry in 1992 but nonetheless went unpublished for nearly twenty years before finding a home with Mongrel Empire in 2012. Nevaquaya’s collection went on to win that year’s Oklahoma Book Award. While Mish notes she is partial to local writers, some of whose work is published under the press’s Twin Territories imprint devoted to local history and culture, submissions are open to writers everywhere. The press is also currently seeking essays, interviews, short fiction, and poetry by Oklahoma writers of color for a forthcoming anthology, to be edited by Mish and poet Quraysh Ali Lansana. Mish promises a quick response to those who submit. “I’m a writer myself,” she says. “I really hate sitting on a manuscript for a long time.”