Check out the exclusive cover reveal of Lucky Bastard Press' HYSTERIA anthology + enter to win a copy & bonus swag.
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
As both editor of Luna Luna and a contributor to Hysteria (an anthology of writing by female and nonbinary writers about their biology and anatomy and experiences with the body) I thought doing a reveal of their cover would be a great way to create a dialogue about this amazing collection of works. When E. Kristen Anderson presented the idea, I thought Luna Luna would be the perfect home for this.
Want your own free copy? Here's how!
1. Tweet or post a link to their fundraiser (or just write a super cute supportive tweet/post about the book).
2. Leave a comment below (with the link to your social post) + your email (so we can contact you!)
3. We'll pick a comment at random and send you the anthology, along with E. Kristin Anderson's gorgeous Lana Del Rey-inspired poetry collection (I've read it, blurbed it and adore it).
LMB: Who is the team behind Hysteria?
EKA: Allie Marini and Brennan DeFrisco gave me the platform to do this anthology when they green-lighted the project at Lucky Bastard, but it’s basically been me and the contributing authors. Allie and Brennan definitely helped with soliciting some fine voices I hadn’t heard of, and have been a great support, so I don’t want to be like, oh, hey, this was all me. But in a lot of ways it was. And it’s been both intense and rewarding.
I think what Hysteria does so well is take a topic that is hard to write about successfully and inclusively (the body and notions of femininity, in many cases) and make it subversive; it's envelope-pushing. What sort of bodies did you want to include here?
It kind of started with me writing erasure/found poetry from tampon packaging. I’m not even kidding. And Allie and I got to talking about a tampon/period anthology and we expanded the idea out to other body-related themes. We went from there.
I certainly did want to push the envelope. But what I found interesting is that some poets that I thought would submit told me (before later submitting and being selected for the anthology) thought their work wouldn’t be edgy enough. And my answer to everyone asking “would my work be suited for HYSTERIA?” was “there are many ways to experience the female body/being female.”
So I wanted lots of bodies. Including nonbinary and trans bodies, which was a little harder because I know that many of these writers have been excluded from this type of project. We went looking, and we found some amazing work.
Tell me a little bit about what spoke to you when selecting content?
Diversity of topic and voice was really important to me. I wanted—like I mentioned above—lots of experiences to be represented. There was a point at which I think I posted on my original call “no more period poems, we’ve got that covered!” But it wasn’t just about topic. It was also about style. There’s some experimental work in HYSTERIA that I don’t know I would have read or picked up if I were shopping in a bookstore, but that I’m glad showed up in my inbox because it spoke to me within the context of this project.
And diversity of cultural background was important to me, too. And by cultural background I mean race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity. I really wanted pieces about wearing a hijab. About bat mitzvahs. About non-hetero sex. I hope I did a good job with this. I hope I found authors and pieces that people enjoy and relate to and learn from.
What do you think the anthology speaks to in the climate we're in right now – as women, as creatives?
You know, every day it feels like there’s something else going down that I want to throw this book at. Women being told their dreadlocks are unprofessional. Women’s tough questions being written off as the result of PMS. (Looking at you, Trump.) Bills being passed that could undo years of work for women’s rights. People trying to tell me, personally, that “hysterical” is just a colloquialism and not a gendered hate word. Folks thinking that just because we’ve achieved parity in one little bubble of the lit world that sexism is over for all of lit. The VIDA counts for big magazines (hello, the Atlantic) and smaller magazines. Songs on the radio. Things I overhear kids say to each other when I write at the Starbucks that’s next to the middle school.
So often we think, well, it’s just a joke. It’s just one guy. It’s just one magazine. It’s just a handful of nut-jobs. It’s just the radical right, and their minds can’t be changed. But! But. Sexism is so ingrained in us that even you and I do sexist things every day without thinking of it. I think I’ve referred to a woman I didn’t like as a bitch even this week.
I hope HYSTERIA gives us a place to talk about uncomfortable subjects, to start and continue conversations with ourselves, our daughters, our peers—but I also hope it’s a place to find comfort and community. Maybe the patriarchy isn’t listening. But maybe we can rally anyway.
I was particularly thrilled to write for this anthology. I am alongside some amazing writers and also emerging ones. How did you vote for pieces? Was this about making a space for all voices, new and established?
I read and selected the submissions myself. Aside from the solicitation—which I did ahead of time, before sending out the call—I just wanted to make sure we had everything covered. I didn’t care if folks were famous or brand new, just that the work was good. And I’m super fortunate that we did get some big names for the anthology. People who said yes when we reached out and asked. But I’m also super fortunate to have new voices with new things to say. Because that’s what community is about and I think that, in a way, that’s what HYSTERIA is about, too.
What are the plans for the anthology?
I’m hoping to set up a launch party here in Austin, TX when the book is ready. I think it will be a good time, and hopefully, as many contributors as possible can come and read. We’ll definitely be sending out review copies and doing our best to entice booksellers and librarians. We want this book in as many hands as possible. It’s a beautiful book if I don’t say so myself.
How will donations help?
The funds from the Indiegogo campaign are going to help us pay some of the up-front costs (like hiring our cover artist, Jodie Wynne, and the Adobe Cloud account we had to open to manage the many, many contracts for the individual authors) as well as printing. But the biggest reason we wanted to do an Indiegogo was so that we could pay our authors better. So if you can help us out with that, that would be amazing. Should we exceed our goal, any extra funds will go toward a launch and/or future anthology projects at Lucky Bastard Press.
Tell us what it's like to work with Lucky Bastard Press.
Lucky Bastard was founded by Allie Marini and Brennan DeFrisco and somehow I tricked them into letting me do an anthology with them. They really gave me free reign, which was scary but also really thrilling. I’m now on board with LB as a full editor, but at the time it was just, here, EKA, make a book. So I did. And I’m really excited that it’s with a press that is all about the underdogs and the long-shots. Isn’t that how many of us feel, as artists, especially as women? Lucky Bastard is here to champion the weirdos. And, in this case, it’s the hysterical weirdos that we want to show the world.
The writer list, as provided by
Lucky Bastard Press: