A Midwest-centric book publishing imprint founded by Todd Kimm, Steve Semken and a small group of Midwest enthusiasts. Join us.
UPDATE: Our first book (Rick Harsch's "Voices After Evelyn") is out and available at Ice Cube Press , Amazon and select bookstores (Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Pearl Street Books in La Crosse, Common Good Books in St. Paul and Driftless Books in Viroqua, to name four). See the latest "update " for a recap of Rick's Wandering River Book Tour. If your contributions to the start-up fund earned you a t-shirt (with your name on back), please send your preferred size to us here. They are ready to go and the design will be unveiled soon.
Funds are still being accepted and are highly appreciated. News coming soon on our next project! Thanks again to everyone who contributed. - TK
(Established in memory of Barry Kimm, Susan Anderson-Kimm and Brent Kimm)
Maintenance Ends begins with the notion of exploring and discovering what lies beyond the path of the familiar. In that spirit, we aim to expand the notion of that most underestimated of safe zones, the Midwest.
Funds raised here will go toward publishing our first books, as well as contributing toward author advances, marketing and distribution.
As an imprint of the respected regional publisher, Ice Cube Press, Maintenance Ends is devoted to emerging and overlooked literary works of the Midwest. We will present works of the Midwest by Midwesterners (and not), drifters, decoys or anyone whose work lays claim to the territory while demonstrating the elasticity of its boundaries. We regard no work as too experimental, too complex; no genre as out of bounds.
Maintenance Ends founding supporter and author Prasenjit Gupta, who served on the staff of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, observes, "...in various ways, Iowa and the Midwest are at the crossroads of the world's literary traditions." A current State Department diplomat posted overseas, Prasenjit says, "the more set in regional bedrock the literary work is, the wider its transcultural appeal."
Maintenance Ends founding supporter and bestselling author Trenton Lee Stewart says the founding credo of the new imprint "in a sense allows the works of the Midwest to define and re-define the meaning of place, the Midwest, yes – and the universe of being where it resides."
So join us as we seek to extend a tradition that contains such divergent voices as August Derleth and William Gass; the stark urban works of Upton Sinclair and Nelson Algren, the sharp satires of Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, works quintessentially Midwestern by migrants like Marilynne Robinson and Bharati Mukherjee; and the acerbic howls of Bob Dylan and David Foster Wallace.
Maintenance Ends Board of Founding Supporters
St. Louis poet Stefene Russell is the Culture Editor for St. Louis Magazine and a member of Poetry Scores, an international arts collective translating poetry into music, visual art, and film. Her work appears in Playbill, The Curator, and Public Art Review, and her publications include Go South for Animal Index (2007, Poetry Scores), Inferna (2013, Intagliata Press), and The Possum Codex (2015, Otis Nebula). She lives in the St. Louis Place neighborhood on the shortest street in the city of St. Louis.
"Anyone who's spent time in the Midwest knows it's a strange, magical place. And that Cleveland is not Chicago is not St. Louis is not Grand Island is not Cherokee is not Madison is not Peoria. The dominant narrative for the last several decades has been about a Midwest dominated by chunky people in sports jerseys making Costco runs; "nice" people with their cheesy casseroles and their church parking lot Trunk or Treats; or dumb, feral Midwesterners with their meth labs and collapsing factories and #MAGA hats. Rarely is the Midwest allowed to speak up on behalf of its own mysteries, its own magic, its own beauty, its own tragedy, its own absurdity. As a writer and a Midwesterner (longtime St. Louisan, one-time resident of Illinois, and former Clevelander!) I'm throwing my full support behind Maintenance Ends, a press that promises to empower Midwestern writers--and bring true Midwestern stories back into the center of the literary conversation."
Prasenjit is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the author of A Brown Man and Other Stories, the children's book To the Blue King's Castle.
Prasenjit Gupta is an immigrant writer, and like many immigrants--and most writers--he understands the necessity of being grounded in place. He is delighted that a new regional publisher will add to the multiplicity of voices from the Midwest, where he spent many years, and where as acquiring editor for the University of Iowa Press, he came to appreciate the wealth of talent and tradition in those quiet hills and plains. Indeed, in various ways, Iowa and the Midwest are at the crossroads of the world's literary traditions. Prasenjit served on the staff of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and on the editorial board of the minimalist journal 100 Words, and during his IWP time he was privileged to meet many writers from all over the world, who visit every fall to participate in an unparalleled open exchange of ideas. Currently, as a State Department diplomat posted overseas, Prasenjit finds literary treasures wherever he goes, and his travels have only strengthened his belief that the more set in regional bedrock the literary work, the wider its transcultural appeal. As a grateful immigrant graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a beneficiary of Iowa's translation program, he welcomes the arrival of the Maintenance team and looks forward to great works from them.
Mary O'Connell is the author of the short story collection Living with Saints and the YA novel The Sharp Time. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in several literary magazines, and she is the recipient of a James Michener Fellowship and a Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Award. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with her family. Her novel Dear Reader will be published by Flatiron Books in 2017.
Diane Hinton Perry
Diane Hinton Perry, a native of Washington, D.C., ventured to the Midwest for her post-secondary education. She received her BA in English from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a MA in African American and African Diaspora Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, where she received the Outstanding Thesis/Creativity Award for a novel in progress centered on the Native American sport of lacrosse. Her stories have appeared in the magazine African Voices and in the journals Short Story and Day One. She currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.
"My Midwest ties are strong – childhood and teen summers spent in Three Rivers, Michigan; many trips to visit my aunts and grandfather in Chicago; undergraduate classes in Northfield, Minnesota; graduate studies, at mid-life, in Iowa and Indiana; six years living and writing in an Iowa City garret; that place felt like home; a father raised in Peoria, Illinois. Because of these tight bonds and my love of literature, I enthusiastically support Maintenance Ends, a press imprint that embraces Midwestern themes and authors."
Trenton Lee Stewart
Trenton Lee Stewart is author of the novel Flood Summer as well as the award-winning, New York Times best-selling series of children's books that begins with The Mysterious Benedict Society, which was included on Time's list of the 100 greatest young adult novels of all time. His short fiction has appeared in The Georgia Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, New England Review, and elsewhere, and was cited as distinguished work in The Best American Short Stories 2004. His new children's novel, The Secret Keepers (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), was published in 2016. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
"Having come of age on the periphery of the Midwest in Arkansas, and lived in both Iowa and Ohio, I am actively interested in Ice Cube Press' imprint Maintenance Ends, which has unearthed Rick Harsch, author of The Driftless Trilogy, and promises more front rank, avant garde works in the near future. I fully agree with the Maintenance Ends credo, which in a sense allows the works of the Midwest to define and re-define the meaning of place, the Midwest, yes – and the universe of being where it resides."
A longtime magazine travel writer, Lisa Taggart is a big fan of writing that authentically captures the character of a place. She met most members of the Maintenance Ends editorial group as a student in Iowa City. While there she realized that there's much more to the region than the California native had expected. She fully supports this imprint's efforts to shake up preconceptions about the under-appreciated Midwest. As a student in Iowa, Lisa also discovered that the people at Maintenance Ends are all geniuses, and she's certain the project will unearth fabulous and memorable work.
Born in New York City, Scott Coffel was educated at York College, a senior college of The City University of New York, and at SUNY-Oneonta. In 1995, he received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Since 2001, he has directed the Hanson Center for Technical Communication for The University of Iowa's College of Engineering. His first collection of poems, Toucans in the Arctic, received the Poetry Society of America's 2010 Norma Farber First Book Award. Recent honors include the 2013 Boston Review Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in Salmagundi, Ploughshares, Paris Review, The Antioch Review, The American Scholar, The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Southern Review, and many other journals. He has been awarded artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Anderson Center at Tower View.
Sesshu Foster has taught in East L.A. for 30 years. He's also taught writing at the University of Iowa, the California Institute for the Arts, Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, the University of California, and Pomona College. His work has been published in The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry, Language for a New Century: Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond, and State of the Union: 50 Political Poems. Winner of two American Book Awards, his most recent books are the novel Atomik Aztex and the hybrid World Ball Notebook.
"The literary avant garde, the literary cutting edge. Small presses get it best and they get it first. They're already on location. You may hear about it a decade or two later from New York corporate presses, if they ever get it at all. Where can you find life-changing books by Meridel LeSeur, Carlos Bulosan, Sharon Doubiago, Chris Kraus, Jayne Cortez, Bob Kaufman, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Karen Yamashita? You'll only find them on small presses."
THE FIRST BOOK
Voices after Evelyn by Rick Harsch
An unsolved crime that jaundiced the way a town saw itself and its relationship to the outside world is rendered into a polyphonic, farcical, yet accurate visitation to the 1950s Midwest, where banality and inspired caprice make for an odd mix of the hilarious and terrifying.
"Rick Harsch is America's lost Midwest noir genius, an heir to the more lurid Faulkner, an ex-pat living in Slovenia, a master of dialogue. "Voices after Evelyn" is a fictional take on true crime, and its bloody heart in the real, still-unsolved 1953 disappearance of teenage Evelyn Hartley in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Through that victimization, Harsch makes us look at other victims, survivors too, and throughout the novel, a Greek-style chorus sings songs of rage and loss and puzzlement. Voices after Evelyn is taut and funny, smart and haunting, enraging and true."
— Daniel A. Hoyt
Daniel A. Hoyt won the Juniper Prize for Fiction for his book of stories "Then We Saw the Flames," and the Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction for "This Book is Not for You," coming this fall. Dan teaches creative writing, mainly fiction, and lit classes, such as The Literature of Rock and Roll, at Kansas State University. Dan and his wife, Sarah, live in Manhattan, Kansas, with their son.
Rick Harsch hit the literary scene in 1997 with his cult classic The Driftless Zone, which was followed by Billy Verite and Sleep of the Aborigines soon after to form The Driftless Trilogy (an excerpt from which will soon be published by the University of Wisconsin's The Driftless Reader, due this fall). Harsch migrated to the Slovene coastal city of Izola in 2001, just as the Driftless books were published in French translation by a French publisher that went out of business a few years later.
Since then he has published a memoir, Arjun and the Good Snake, available only in Europe; a translation of the book into Slovene, and three other novels that are only available in Slovene translation. Recently he published meditations on the streets of the old Venetian island town of Izola in Wandering Stone, the Streets of Old Izola, which has been compared to Joseph Brodsky's book on Venice, Watermark.
A chapter called The Inherent Human Transgression that is Umpiring: a Slovene Case Study was published in a book introduced by Yogi Berra, The Anatomy of Baseball, and he has had several other excerpts
of his English language fiction published in Slovenia.
He lives in Izola still, teaches about 100 hours a year at a maritime academy in Trieste, and has co-authored numerous scientific works in the maritime field. Currently he is at work on an extended essay on Trieste and a novel called The Assassination of Olof Palme. His recently completed magnum opus The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas is being considered for publication by Riverboat Books of Minneapolis.
Todd Kimm has had his fingers in many Midwest pies, including baking a couple himself. In the early '90s he co-founded the statewide arts quarterly Tractor Magazine and served as its editor. Todd has edited small town newspapers, Iowa City's former alternative weekly, Icon, and Little Village magazine (which he also co-founded). He has worked as communications director for various Iowa non-profits, including Legion Arts and PFI, an Ames-based sustainable agriculture group. For a time, he even worked in the Iowa Legislature. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he now lives in Solon, site of his first job covering Beef Days.
Marion artist Ben Beeson (The Constant Iowan) received his Master of Fine Art in Printmaking from the University of Northern Illinois. He is co-founder of Red Menace Press. He works for Legion Arts in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Loves: Learning for the sake of learning, trivia, Kurt Vonnegut, very dry Beefeater Martinis, Eddie Piccard, and animals.
Turn Ons: Use of the Oxford comma
Turn Offs: Use of the term "Fly-over-state"
"I love the Midwest in which I grew up. I miss the esoteric, eccentric quality that used to pervade its small towns. I miss the meek, dependable, practical people who once made the region a national leader in education; a people whose spirit of public-mindedness built our beautiful town squares, public universities, and parks. I worry about our region's future, and hope a venture such as Maintenance Ends can help Midwesterners rediscover that spirit."
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