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  • Scenes:Calamari Press: an interview with Derek White
  • Derek White

Would you briefly describe Calamari Press's history?

I started out (in 2003) making handmade chapbooks, and it sort of evolved from there. Actually, it might've started with the magazine (sleepingfish) first. From there, I was finding authors/artists whose work I really admired and started publishing collections and collaborations and eventually full-length perfect-bound books.

How would you characterize the fiction you publish?

That's always a tough question to answer as each author has a different appeal and my tastes are varied and have evolved. One common thread is that I seem to be more interested in language than story. I also have a number of text/image and "visual a number of text/image and "visual poetry" and hybrid titles. Mostly, I like to publish things that aren't what you expect them to be, things that defy classification or characterization—writing whose only motive or justification is to be simply in the name of art.

Who is your audience, and in what ways are you trying to reach them?

I'm not sure who my audience is, but I imagine it's pretty small. I've tried reaching them by word of mouth and the Internet.

What is your role in the publishing scene?

I'm not sure; this is something I've been contemplating myself lately. If you consider the etymology of "publish," it means "to make public," but in many ways, I'm a private person so am probably not very good at fulfilling this role (in regards to promotion). Mostly, I concentrate on putting ink on paper.

What's in the future for Calamari Press?

This is another unknown. I'm moving to Rome in a few months, so I'm sort of laying low at the moment, at least as far as publishing new titles. I imagine my existence in the future will be more virtual and liquid, removing myself from any sort of manual distribution or fulfillment or promotion. There could possibly be some surprises, like a taco-stand spin-off. One way or another, I hope to continue to make books and art objects of an inexplicable nature, ones that people might have to make an effort to discover— which is to say Calamari Press is destined for obscurity. [End Page 31]