The Conception and Gestation of Mud Flat Verse

by Alec Clayton

It happened like this. I was looking for something on our Mud Flat Press website and noticed the page for the short stories we’ve published on the site. I thought, if we have a page for short stories, why not a page for poems? We certainly know enough poets—really good ones like Jack Butler and Larry Johnson and Johnny Wink and Jes Simmons, all of whom were published in our magazine Mississippi Arts & Letters. (Larry was our poetry editor and a book reviewer, and he introduced us to Jack and Johnny and Jes).

So Gabi and I discussed it, and we emailed them and told them we’d like to publish some of their poems on the MFP website. They each said they’d love it and sent us some poems and recommended some other poets. We also invited Anne Nayer and Ricker Winsor, both of whom were included in our book of short stories, Mud Flat Shorts (mostly fiction).

Of course! Why didn’t we think of that? A book of poems. It could be a companion to our short story collection. We could even use the same cover illustration or something similar to emphasize that they are companion books. It would be by invitation only as was Mud Flat Shorts.

We added the poet and illustrator team of Jay and Bonnie Curen, and poet Paul Lubenkov. Then we realized they were all from back east or down south, so we invited local Washington state poets Lynn Ellis, Renée Reid, Kathleen O’Shaunessy, Susanne Simons, and Mud Flat Press’ co-owner Gabi Clayton.

We plan to publish the book in October or November. Stay tuned for more information.

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