Moveable Type: Ricochet Editions
January 16, 2020
An interview with Kate Partridge, Managing Editor
Ricochet Editions was founded in 2012 and has published diverse and innovative books ever since. How did it get started and what has been the dynamic between Ricochet and Gold Line, its sibling press?
Ricochet Editions was founded as an imprint of Gold Line Press by students in the PhD program in Creative Writing & Literature at the University of Southern California. Gold Line publishes three chapbooks each year through a contest model, and in 2012, two of the editors, Diana Arterian and Fox Frazier-Foley, wanted a way to champion work that was being passed over because it was more experimental and genre-bending. So they founded Ricochet, and the initial editorial board started by hunting for innovative work in the Gold Line slush pile. They made it their mission to find books and chapbooks that might be overlooked elsewhere, for aesthetic reasons or because they needed significant editorial work. In the last few years, Ricochet has developed into its own editorial team, with our own calls for submissions. We currently have a board of four editors and a faculty advisor, and we’re also very lucky to have a lot of support from our program’s administrator. The editors at Gold Line are our peers at USC, and as the presses have evolved, we’ve stayed connected by hosting events together and supporting each other’s work.
Give us a look behind the editorial curtain. What is the process like for Ricochet in approaching its open reading periods?
What I love about reading for Ricochet is that we receive such an incredible range of work, because we ask for books that don’t “fit” at other presses. It’s kind of an interesting experiment in exclusion, in which we’ve said, “Anything except conventional forms, please,” and we receive literally everything else. We’re lucky that folks trust us with their strange books that haven’t found homes elsewhere. Our calls for submission change every year depending on the interests of the current editors, and because of this, Ricochet has been able to publish some really distinctive work: for example, Elisabeth Frost and Dianne Kornberg’s collaborative art book Bindle, and Stephen van Dyck’s People I’ve Met from the Internet, which is formatted as a spreadsheet record of early internet meetups. Last year, we did a call focused on the self and the “I,” and this year we decided to just hold an open call for anything, which seemed in the risk-taking spirit of the press.
Who are some of your favorite Ricochet authors, and who are some of your dream authors?
I’ll name a few, published before my time, who made me want to work for Ricochet: Cam Awkward-Rich, Arielle Greenberg, Molly Sutton Kiefer, and Harmony Holiday. Our anthology on aesthetics, Among Margins, is a great gloss of writers we love: Kazim Ali, Camille T. Dungy, Alice Notley, and Philip Metres, to name a few.
What are a few things you’re excited about in the world of contemporary literature?
I’m especially excited by work that experiments with the position of the self and with visual forms; we’ve recently seen a lot of great auto-fiction and auto-theory, documentary projects, performance texts, and work that moves in different directions across the page.
Finally, what’s next for Ricochet?
I hope we’re able to continue publishing books that are all entirely different from the ones we’ve published before, in new forms or in other ways we’ve never anticipated. I’d like authors and readers to see our catalogue not as the limit of what we’d like to publish, but as the beginning of a series that continually evolves and surprises.