Small Press Points: The Cupboard Pamphlet

From the March/April 2020 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

Consider the Cupboard Pamphlet your source for misfit books. “The Cupboard Pamphlet was formed to address the lack of publishing venues for prose chapbooks that are formally strange or conceptually bizarre,” say editors Kelly Dulaney and Todd Seabrook. Founded in 2008 by Adam Peterson and Dave Madden, the press originally printed free, anonymous pamphlets and evolved to concentrate on single-authored chapbooks. “The first of these were tape-bound, designed to be inexpensive and mobile—pocketable,” say Seabrook and Dulaney. Today this feeling of experiment and nerve continues to guide the press as it publishes four prose chapbooks a year by authors including Chanelle Benz, Brian Evenson, and Courtney Maum. Most of these works are thirty to seventy pages in length, although Dulaney and Seabrook avoid placing strictures on submissions.

“We like works that provide play and surprise in terms of form, structure, and language in addition to a sense of emotional sincerity,” they say. Seabrook is based in Cleveland, and Dulaney in Denver; they collaborate via phone calls and e-mail. Dulaney relishes one-on-one work with authors, while Seabrook “enjoys the physicality of the chapbook—designing it, printing it, and seeing it develop on the page.” All of the titles produced by the Cupboard Pamphlet are selected through an annual online contest with a submission fee of $20; the 2020 contest will run March 1 through May 1. This year Cupboard will publish 2019 contest winner Lia Woodall’s Remove to Play, “a game-based, nonfiction work about the spaces left open in the wake of a suicide” as well as books by J. S. DeYoung and Thomas Israel Hopkins and a coauthored work by Kara Dorris and Gwendolyn Paradice.