Interview with Meekling Press.

meekling press is beautiful and small and perfect. And they decided to chat with Tell Tell, so go support them!

meekling press is beautiful and small and perfect. And they decided to chat with Tell Tell, so go support them!


Kallie: Why did you start meekling press?

Meekling: We (Rebecca Elliott, John Wilmes) went to The School of The Art Institute of Chicago together and got our MFA’s in writing. We were good buddies for a number of reasons, one of which being that we had a similar distaste for “the established order of publishing as we saw it and experienced it.” We also really liked to collaborate with brilliant friends across mediums. John was finishing a book in our final semester, and and had been reading way too many histories of DIY type things, and approached Rebecca about “starting something new.”


Where did the name for your press come from?

It came from a number of discussions about to call what we were doing. We like the way it sounds. It does not have anything to do with marijuana, as some googling may lead you to believe.


What are some presses you admire?
We really like Graywolf, New Lights Press, New Directions, and Dalkey Archive.


What kind of work do you usually publish? What do you look for when people submit?

We are lacking in any sort of clear “manifesto” of works or something like that. We work with people who titillate us—usually they are our friends, but we are looking to branch out. As of yet, we have not been in the Submissions game, and have no formal policy about it. Our contact information is freely available ( ) and we’ll take at least a cursory look at whatever’s sent, but we’ve got a full plate right now. Generally, we are not looking to put out straight-forward novels, poetry collections, short story collections. In short: we’re open to lots of stuff. Try us.


If you could only read 3 authors for the rest of your life, who would they be, and why.

John: Thomas Bernhard tickles my anger into humor, William Carlos Williams turns words into shapes, and Javier Marias is a devastator of my soul.

Rebecca: Clarice Lispector because I have not read more than a couple of her books and they are wonderful.


What is a day-in-the-life of Rebecca/John like?

John: I write basketball articles and ESL tutor for a living. Mostly I flop on my futon and gchat, reading and writing in insane bursts, pretending I am being an existentialist.
Rebecca: I work in an insurance office during the week doing data entry (& writing emails & chatting with John), then I go home in the evening and either try to do some work on meekling press stuff or I watch TV. On my days off, I like to write, make books, print letterpress stuff, play with the cats.


What are some of the things that you love about running a small press?
“Doing whatever the fuck we want” is probably the crux of it. We get to develop projects at whatever pace we choose, which also means we get to let our projects take whatever shape we choose, because our style isn’t cramped by deadlines, or expectations that aren’t ours. “Formlessness,” etc. The collaborating/community aspect is also huge—each of our books is assembled in an almost party-like fashion, and that matters to us! It is cool to blur and disable the usual power dynamics of publishing. We hope to keep that up.


Where do you see Meekling Press in 5 years?
The White House.

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