joseph ridgwell


If you have been following along here, you may have recognized a trend — I believe in the power of handmade and artisan editions. I submit work to places that push themselves to do more with their productions, and I support presses that take on projects designed to fill in the gaps that exist in publishing. There are tons of under-served readers whose appetites are wildly different than the prevailing winds from big publishing, and more and more those readers are looking to the smaller, independent presses.

It makes perfect sense: these are the only presses where the stakes are manageable enough to truly take risks. If you follow along here, then you already know the usual suspects: X-Ray Book Co., Tangerine Press, Bottle of Smoke Press…but now East London Press is joining the fight. Ibiza, a limited edition beauty from your friend and mine, Joseph Ridgwell continues in the tradition of travel yarns. Like Cuba, Mexico, the drunken hijinxs are sure to be punctuated by the eternal search for elation, and production-wise looks to share the same sensibility than those fine offerings from Pig Ear Press.

The small press is like small batch distillers, local farmers, and auteur filmmakers in that all have fewer hands in the jar and fewer compromises to navigate. The whole damned enterprise is just more self-contained. Chances can be taken. And gorgeous, handmade touches can not only be part of a release, they can be the reason for a new project.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:


Opening Salvo...

CG Collage #15.jpg
Chinese Gucci’s main character, Akira, is maddening, endearing, troublesome, wounded, lonely, lazy, and a tremendously enthralling ne’er-do-well. A modern Ignatius J. Reilly selling knock-off Chinese Gucci on eBay. You’ll love him and hate him, you’ll want to save him and throw him off a building. Hosho McCreesh is a serious talent and Chinese Gucci is a tremendous debut.
— Willy Vlautin, author of Don’t Skip Out on Me
I’m not sure how much a blurb from an obscure writer will help, I’m shit at blurbs. Chinese Gucci is uniquely American and reads very clean and lucid, a vivid representation of real American lives, as opposed to all that Hollywood crap. It’s a great novel, amigos.
— Joseph Ridgwell, author of Burrito Deluxe

So then...a couple of early blurbs about Chinese Gucci courtesy of Willy Vlautin and Joseph Ridgwell. And as we inch ever closer to the pre-sale, pop on over to the STORE to get your free audio book teaser -- the first 5 chapters as read by yours truly -- a thank you to everyone for your interest and support.

P.S. Direct All Media Inquiries (Including Requests For Advance Reading Copies) Regarding CHINESE GUCCI To: Ben Tanzer

P.P.S. We're still taking T-SHIRT RESERVATIONS

Wonders Never Cease...

So, how about women the world over getting together in peaceful and purposeful protest of any and all threats to their progressive and inclusive platform and suddenly being responsible for the biggest one-day protest in U.S. history? As ever, you ladies amaze and delight me with your strength, poise, and unconquerable spirits.

In other news: Chicago's most beloved rapscallion, Ben Tanzer was kind enough to put And Turns Still the Sun at Dusk Blood-Red... on his list of stuff he loved in 2016. He's got a new book out soon, Be Cool. He'd be happy (& I'd be happy for him) if you gave it a try!

My name came up when Jared Carnie interviewed Joseph Ridgwell about his ever-growing body of work. You can read all about it HERE. Joe has a new short story, "Mexico," out in a beautifully hand-made edition from Pig Ear Press. It's the third such offering from them, and only 50 copies can be had, so get yours while the gettin' is good.

And lastly: I woke Monday to a unique email, from a kind woman, Leslie, in Tupelo, Mississippi. She said:

"I am in a play this weekend...titled Cicada..."

Those familiar with my work know that my poem of the same name, originally published by The Guerilla Poetics Project (newly rebuilt website HERE!), has bounced around social media in many surprising ways. As it turns out, Leslie found it while looking for a small gift "for the cast and crew for their opening night."

"I immediately saw your poem with the drawing of a cicada," she said, "and I fell in love with it..."

So, after a quick back and forth, she decided to print the poem "on a 5x7 tan-colored card stock" and "put in a frame for each of my theater cohorts on opening night, along with a little package of Fig Newtons, because my character, Granny Duvall, met her death by choking to death on half of a Fig Newton, 'because no one was home to fish it out of her throat!'"

Now if that's not a fine, fine way to start a work week, I don't know what is! So if any of you are in/near Tupelo and in want of something to do, why not take in a show?

Cicada• By Jerre Dye
Tupelo Community Theater
January 26-28, 2017

Written by Amory native, Jerre Dye, this highly acclaimed drama set in rural Mississippi is a coming-of-age ghost story deeply rooted in the life of a small southern family on the verge of transformation. The unrelenting July heat presses in on seventeen-year-old Ace and his mother Lily as they dig their way out the past. It’s a story about letting go and shedding what is no longer necessary in a world full of secrets, ghosts, and memories that hold on tight.

Okay, okay -- enough for now. Until next time,

Throw Back Thursday!

Throw Back Thursday! It's an actual thing! In order to participate, you simply post a picture of something from way back (it need not have originally been a Thursday, which clears up a lot for me...because, honestly, how could everyone remember that?!). So here we are, drink in the mind-bending design of my first book, a long-out-of-print (and for good reason) diddy called All the Days, All the Things...

Yep, that's the ACTUAL cover...(Gulp!)

Yep, that's the ACTUAL cover...(Gulp!)


File Under: Debating
As you all probably know, I'm a small press fan. I'm a fan of doing what you can to get your work out there, of trying to get it our by whatever means necessary. But I'd be lying if I said THIS ARTICLE doesn't make some decent points about the limitations of self-publishing. What do you think?

File Under: Reading
New Bill Taylor Jr. - To Break the Heart of the Sun
New Bill Taylor...need I say more? If you don't know his work, find some, get you some. In the Mecca of poetry cities San Francisco, he is, for my money, the best. And with a gorgeous cover and print job by Amanda Oaks at Words Dance, honestly, this is pure small press goodness!

Also: If you ever needed a reason to enjoy Bill Hader's work more, just check out these INSIGHTS INTO HIS READING LIFE. Proof positive that reading make you interesting!

File Under: Mad Props
Pig Ear Press

Last but not least: My short story, "Puerto Penasco" is set to get the Pig Ear treatment sometime in the next half-year or so. That, to me, is great news. Pig Ear puts pure heart and soul into their fine, fine productions, and I feel lucky to eventually be part of the stable. More specifics when I have them, but for an idea of what to expect, check out this downright cracker of a book: Joe Ridgwell's "Cuba."

Ridgwell's  Cuba  from Pig Ear Press

Ridgwell's Cuba from Pig Ear Press