Small Press Points: Vegetarian Alcoholic Press

From the September/October 2020 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

What makes a book a Vegetarian Alcoholic Press book? “Connectivity and transcendence,” says Freddy La Force, the editor behind the Milwaukee press. Inspired by the city’s vibrant poetry scene, La Force started Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in 2014. “The writers I found myself admiring didn’t have MFAs or literary connections,” says La Force, “and it seemed like there should be more outlets for their work.” More than sixty-five books later, he remains committed to seeking talent outside entrenched hierarchies. La Force prefers that writers forgo cover letters when sending work, and submitting is always free. “You wouldn’t charge someone to apply for a job, and writing is work,” he says. Vegetarian Alcoholic produces twelve books a year, primarily poetry as well as some fiction, drama, art, and comics. The press recently published travis tate’s Maiden, which La Force describes as “insanely cerebral, sexy poems serving common themes . . . through a very playful, loving, queer, Black lens.” And Kelsey Marie Harris’s collection Spit (Verb) in My Mouth, a “singular treasury of gorgeous foul-mouthed gospels,” was released in August. Submissions are open year-round via e-mail. “The name of the press seems to make people want to submit stuff that attempts to be edgy or abrasive for its own sake,” says La Force. “What I’m really looking for are new forms of expression and new concepts of beauty. I think the best way to uplift people, whether from a personal or revolutionary standpoint, is to instill infinite imagination. Send the work you love. The stuff you felt like you had to write, regardless of your confidence in it.”