The Operating System

CHAPBOOKS

The Chapbook Series is a perfect representation of THE OPERATING SYSTEM’s central mission: practical, result based experimentation that invites creators to participate in the process of making print media. Through intensive design and editorial collaboration, process transparency, and a collective funding method, the series also serves as a publishing bootcamp, providing a scalable model for poets and artists to replicate in future endeavors. 

We print a series of four diverse chapbooks each spring, often encouraging poets within the community to complete, hone, or in some cases create a manuscript specifically with our series in mind. While each book is very much a stand alone document in its own right, poets work closely with artists and founder / designer Lynne DeSilva-Johnson to collaborate on a cohesive cover style and design language. 

PRINT DOCUMENT CHAPBOOK SERIES I (2013)
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Featuring original full-cover woodcuts from Brooklyn based printmaker, Kevin William Reed in collaboration with each poet.

THE SWORD OF THINGS – Tony Hoffman
AN ADMISSION, AS A WARNING AGAINST THE VALUE OF OUR CONCLUSIONS – Alexis Quinlan
STRANGE COHERENCE – William Considine
TALK ABOUT MAN PROOF – Lancelot Runge & John Kropa

[at left: PRINT: DOCUMENT Series 1 Chapbooks, with original cover prints courtesy of Reed, hang as part of EXHIBIT A : Re/Production and Re/Presentation, at Launchpad Brooklyn, June 2013. Covers, top to bottom: Quinlan, Considine, Hoffman, Runge/Kropa.]

About THE SWORD OF THINGS:

On these pages, I present a selection of my poems from recent years, ranging from the serious and reflective to the fantastical and absurd. Compiling this chapbook has refreshed my own sense of wonder at the power and versatility of language, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my work with those who may find it of interest. I call the middle section— which emerged out of a period of intensive freewriting—Tapestry, as it seeks to weave together a number of distinct threads. It’s not quite poetry nor fiction nor journaling nor essaying, yet it’s a little of all of them at once.

And in a way it’s a metaphor for my life, as I so often strive to reconcile seemingly disparate elements: the logical and the emotional, the spiritual and the scientific, the verbal and the inexpressible. – Tony Hoffman

About AN ADMISSION, AS A WARNING AGAINST THE VALUE OF OUR CONCLUSIONS:

This dolorous document is the happy result of a Poetry Project workshop with erica kaufman called Poem as Process, Procedure, Prosthesis. Sections “i” are a series of calibrated excisions from Sigmund Freud’s 1915 essay, “Mourning and Melancholia.” Sections “ii” are quotes from and responses to essays on that famous text. Sections “iii” are from “How I Lose My Wallet,” composed in The Writers Room in the East Village in 2007. – Alexis Quinlan

About STRANGE COHERENCE:

The poems collected here appeared over a period of 8 years, from 1983-1990. The publications in which some of these poems first appeared include Downtown, Pan Arts, New Observations, Red Tape, Cover and The National Poetry Journal of the Lower East Side, thanks to their editors, Dorothy Friedman August, Michael Curtin and Frank Shifreen, John Shaw, Michael Carter, Jeffrey C. Wright, Stephen Paul Miller and Jim Feast.  Thanks to Edmond Chibeau and Mitch Corber, who made videos of select poems. – Bill Considine

About TALK ABOUT MAN PROOF:

This manuscript was excavated from a two-year long correspondence between the authors, archived in various, fluid networks of conversation. The letter is a tool for constructing matter out of intangible, manic thoughts as well as a process for accepting that one may lose consciousness at any moment while writing or living. All actions, thoughts and exchanges seem necessary and inevitable. Voicemail is the blackout archive. Every sound, image and line improvised through living. Social Media is the performance of being interrupted, disrupted, alone, disturbed and flat.

Every moment, color, sensation and interaction has limitless value. Symbiosis symbiosis symbiosis symbiosis, symbiosis symbiosis symbiosis. One will enjoy talking about his or her loss of consciousness at a later date. Not “look: our lives are poetry,” but rather, “we made poetry from our lives.”  – Lancelot Runge and John Kropa

PRINT DOCUMENT CHAPBOOK SERIES II : “BY HAND” (2014)
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In an effort to draw attention to the physicality of writing, and the human-ness of each poet, even while the chapbook form becomes more and more slick in its small-press possibilities, the covers of Series II, “BY HAND” featuring the hands and handwriting of contributing poets with a background of their choice in cheeky original cover design by series curator/editor Lynne DeSilva-Johnson.

PULL – Maryam Parhizkar
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CHRIS CARTER – Peter Milne Greiner
SPOOKY ACTION AT A DISTANCE – Gregory Crosby
CAN YOU SEE THAT SOUND – Jeff Musillo

About PULL:

Pull is part of a longer body of work where I have been trying to figure out how to write the place of home – where one is from; where might hold a certain love, however difficult; where one holds a certain history and lineage. The tension of that kind of shelter with what might follow: knowing the larger world that surrounds it, the world that might try to describe that space for you. I also keep thinking of music: how a composer’s work might become apocryphal in that larger world. We might hear it years after it was written, and either we just pass through the work or ask ourselves how someone came to make such a thing out of themselves. This is a ballad, very loosely, in the sense that certain phrases and words become refrains, and in the sense that it time travels. – Maryam Parhizkar

About EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CHRIS CARTER:

Executive Producer Chris Carter is a collection of poems, science fiction, and slash fiction. #thefifthelement #poppers #geenadavis #noblegases #princeofpersia #cosmology #trust #battlestargalactica #converge #myst #drakeequation #extinctgiantgroundsloth #mars #carlsagan #volcanos #caveats – Peter Milne Greiner

About SPOOKY ACTION AT A DISTANCE:

All of these poems were written in a single year (2012), and are presented in roughly the order they were composed. Something both ordinary and extraordinary happened right in the middle of that year: I fell in love, and, astonishingly enough, the person I fell in love with also fell in love with me. Wonders never etc. So there’s a thread of sorts, beginning with a despair that wasn’t really despair resolving itself into a delight that nevertheless took shape in the shadow of that despair/not-despair. The resulting chapbook is now the shadow of that resolved delight. – Gregory Crosby

About CAN YOU SEE THAT SOUND:

With this piece I wanted to break apart ideas and structures that I was familiar with and re-shape them to create new pictures; imagery that flies in from different directions while also forming coherent stories and feelings. – Jeff Musillo

When I received his manuscript, I thought Jeff’s work was expansive and refreshingly playful, working with language visually and sonically, removing the page even while accepting it as a conduit/home. He allowed me to reformat the work for the constraints of the chapbook series, giving us both a chance to re-imagine these conceptual intentions as something mutable — in fact, the piece is ultimately conceptual design in text form (unsurprising given Jeff’s multidisciplinary background in visual art and film). – Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Managing Editor / Series Curator

PRINT DOCUMENT CHAPBOOK SERIES III: OF SYSTEMS OF(2015)
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Four Original Short Poetry Collections, Featuring Original Cover Art by Emma Steinkraus

  • CYCLORAMA – Davy Knittle
  • SCHEMA – Anurak Saelaow 
  • NEPTUNE COURT – Anton Yakovlev
  • The SENSITIVE BOY SLUMBER PARTY MANIFESTO – Joseph Cuillier
CYCLORAMA – Davy Knittle

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Davy Knittle’s poems invite us into a myriad of homes—the house of the body, the street, the car, the subway, the animal. by calling this gem of a collection a “cyclorama,” he invites us into a gorgeous panorama that envelopes us in “the life of every sound,” “the lot for cars between cars,” “dream coffee,” and “in the balance/and behind the balance range.” these poems are paintings. these poems are windows. these poems use language as a process in which motion and relationship are always present” (Rukeyser, The Life of Poetry). Davy’s poems build a world i want to live in—honest, lyrical, smart, unafraid to risk and feel, poems that ask all the hard questions all the right ways. He writes: “I do the work/to hold a body/different readers know/is theirs to name.” – erica kaufman Time and space aren’t really like that — how you expect them to be, at least, not after you start to accumulate so many things to remember.  Davy knows that the time and space we really move through, comes from the heart out, always changing.  So sometimes you’re arches and a house, sometimes you’re more in the car than other times.  He writes “where else is left/ there we can/ spend one night/ in a room/ with nothing/ but the Bangles.”  It’s this constant shifting or slipping, not forwards or backwards like a regular car, but inside and outside, in and out.  These poems make me feel like I’m in the passenger seat of a very strange car Davy is driving, down real streets, then imagined Houston streets, then dream streets to ER coffee, to feet pounding yellow shirt summer streets, and all around there’s so much activity and possibility, and inside the car, which is the heart of the poems, like inside my heart when I read Davy’s amazing poems, there’s so much life & music & room. – Laura Henriksen cyclorama occurs in the car. it occurs in the house, and in bed and in the shower and on the street and running down the street, in standard uses of spaces quotidian to a kind of urban life, and aberrant uses of those spaces. it occurs in synesthetic simultaneity. perhaps you are in the room but also in the shower. or in the car and also in the train station waiting area. one place is the green of another place, and is then also that place, even if it stops being green. many of these are domestic spaces, or spaces rendered domestic by thoughts of intimacy. even so, the speaker of these poems spends a lot of time alone thinking about domestic spaces, or everyone else is asleep, or they’re in the past but being in this house feels like being in that other house by means of how different it also feels, and so that house is in the room. if the compulsive representation of other rooms within this one is a difficult thing, it’s also a kind of luck.

SCHEMA – Anurak Saelaow 

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Schema is a book that gravitates toward the shimmering heat of the historical moment. This book accentuates the nerve center of pathos, the hardwiring of passion. Anurak Saelaow refocuses the pace and pulse on what is happening in the now, with dramatic results. This is a dynamite work that doesn’t rest. The jolt will recalibrate you. – Brenda Iijima

Schema is a chapbook about desire. It revolves around the idea of the human brain as a mechanism, a processor, parsing the dreck of our everyday lives. In some sense it’s solipsistic, very lonely – a natural extension of the lyrical mode of thought, which is always focused on the self.

Each piece is constructed in two-line stanzas, an attempt to convey a sort of hesitance and stuttering, the recurring anxieties of the mind. The idea of false couplings – unexpected (but not unnatural) enjambments – and the notion of binary code also played a part in their formation.

NEPTUNE COURT – Anton Yakovlev

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If one of the delights of poetry is the way it provides the reader access to a mind as different from his own as the landscape of another planet, then Neptune Court is an invitation not to be missed. The situations Anton Yakovlev responds to in these poems are the universal ones that face us all on the border between solitude and the risks of engagement: love overvalued and undervalued, lost, mourned, reimagined, counted on too heavily, longed for, mythologized, consciously transformed into the stuff of art, examined in the mirror of another’s experience. What is different—indeed, unique—is the phantasmagorical imagery deployed to tell the stories—surreal, peopled with unexpected characters and humanized abstractions—against bizarre backgrounds where biographical events unfold like tiny dramas, almost accidentally but with surprising emotional force. – Rhina P. Espaillat If art is the lie you tell to tell the truth, the poems in Neptune Court are precision-made howlers that bring you nose to nose with yourself. – Jim Klein Anton Yakovlev’s world is strange and beautiful, vaguely resembling Bergen County. Inside it, a zebra rides a motor boat on East River; there are ghosts and ghost writers, lovers drifting apart, the doomed and the graceless, and the always-grinning Almighty. You, the reader, will be mesmerized. You’ll have to surrender all caution and enter his poems with “your sneakers soaked, / your camera steady, / your heart awake.” Claudia Serea Most of these poems occur in everyday places: the two parallel Service Roads at the Boston Airport; Moscow; the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire; the La Brea Tar Pits; La Dent de Ruth; Manhattan; Jim Thorpe; the Venice of New Jersey. Seen through the refractive lenses of memory, or imagined versions of actual events that have occurred there, these locations turn allegorical. Many poems center on characters who hope in their own way to avoid the place’s resident Exterminating Angel. In the background, rapid rivers drown out unacknowledged symphonies.

The SENSITIVE BOY SLUMBER PARTY MANIFESTO – Joseph Cuillier

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America,
I’m sorry.
Sometimes I forget that I’m scary.
I don’t want you to be afraid of me
Because it’s scaring me.”

“America,
Unleash your psychopaths on your own children for a change
I think they’re getting bored with the taste of my flesh.
I want to feel like a child right now
And that’s not a bad thing” –
from TSBSPM

The Sensitive Boy Slumber Manifesto is a creative, genius, and cleansing shower for the soul. This work challenges social, spiritual, and emotional intersections while exposing our own internal creative apprehensions. Author and artist Joseph Cullier remains responsible with his honest depiction of self acknowledgment and evolution in America.

– LaTarvia Moore-

The Sensitive Boy Slumber Party Manifesto is an intimate journey through the
experiences of a second class citizen in a nation that does not exist. This collection
of poetry explores the contradicting realities of genocide and democracy, mass
incarceration and freedom, nihilism and self-determinism, and sentimentality.

PRINT DOCUMENT CHAPBOOK SERIES IV: OF SOUND MIND(2016)
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Four Original Short Poetry Collections, Featuring Quilt Drawings by Daphne Taylor

IMPROPER MAPS – Alex Crowley
WHILE LISTENING – Alaina Ferris
CHORDS – Peter Longofono
ANY SEAM or NEEDLEWORK – Stanford Cheung
IMPROPER MAPS – Alex Crowley | Cover Art: Quilt Drawing #15 by Daphne Taylor, 2012 

“Improper Maps strikes a balance between the study of our modern life and our active and ever-changing place inside the study. Through the individual and disordered “dioramas” we are both inside and outside an “internet k-hole of uploads” and “floor to ceiling treatments of a fragile psychology.” These poems perform our user experience (as consumers, as tourists, as voyeurs, as dreamers) with skill, while still managing to reconsider what it means to be an ideal user, navigating the burden of its consequences with heart.” – Jackie Clark

In his debut chapbook, Alex Crowley plays the odd rhythms of the prose poem as he explores the blurry boundaries of dioramic form. It’s a meandering journey through (auto)biography as well as an attempt to articulate what passes for a stable self under the clashing lights of spectacular culture. He asks readers to briefly imagine what Capital desires of them, then take a breath to keep from hyperventilating.
These melodies are woven from road trip journals, ekphrastic exercises, street scenes real and imagined, sociological meditations, and the confounding joy and terror of life online. These are the barely perceptible phenomena that sneak their way past your vigilant attention and find a way to the front of the memory queue. It’s easy to lie autobiographically; we’re supposed to fudge the details and let the cash flow in. Hasn’t that always been the case? How can I want what I want when you want as well?

And what of the diorama? Is it merely a scale representation of a scene? A 3-dimensional still complete with actual air? Can it move? Does it move? More importantly, does it move you? The more clearly we see the barriers, the harder it becomes to determine what’s on the other side.
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Alex Crowley is a reviews editor at Publishers Weekly and a cofounder of Brooklyn’s MENTAL MARGINALIA Reading Series. He was the recipient of the first annual Paul Violi Award from the New School. Poems and reviews have appeared in Phantom Limb, TLR, Forklift Ohio, BORT Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Handsome, HARIBO, and elsewhere. He is the guitarist/vocalist for the band Warmth (warmthbk.bandcamp.com) and you can find him on Twitter @a_p_crowley

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WHILE LISTENING – Alaina Ferris | Cover Art: Quilt Drawing #18 by Daphne Taylor, 2014

While Listening is a series of poems, each written while listening to a single song. How does sound influence text? How is language in conversation with the soundscapes we navigate in daily life?

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Alaina Ferris is a singer, composer, and poet located in Brooklyn, New York. She has composed and music directed for playwrights Mac Wellman, Mia Rovegno, Scott Adkins, William Burke, and theater company Van Cougar. She co-founded indie rock group Small Dream Ada with Tyler Gilmore. She performed with New York theater company Temporary Distortion in their ongoing production, ‘My Voice Has an Echo in It.’ a six-hour durational performance. She was a 2015 Finalist for the National Poetry Series. Alaina was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada and later moved to Boulder County, Colorado. She earned her B.A. in Music and Creative Writing from the University of Denver and her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University. She lives in Park Slope in Brooklyn.

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CHORDS – Peter Longofono | Cover Art: Quilt Drawing #13 – For Maureen by Daphne Taylor, 2010

Chords comprises thirty poems exploring how musical chords resonate: sonically, structurally, historically, pedagogically, and symbolically, for starters. Conceptually, Peter approaches the poems from a jazz perspective, skewing pragmatic in an attempt to render each chord as it feels to him in his performer’s mental shorthand. Each poem corresponds to a single chord type, depicting representative tones as characters in conversation and competition with one another. The poems hold to one another in the compositional sense, approximating a chord progression of sorts as increasingly complex tone relationships emerge. As befits the aural subject matter, the reader is encouraged to declaim the poems after a few silent reads in solitude for the full effect.

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Peter Longofono’s poems and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in H_NGM_N, fields, Luna Luna Magazine, and Tenderloin, among others. He serves as the Reviews Editor at Coldfront and makes music with Big Figment and TH!CK. He lives in Brooklyn.

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ANY SEAM OR NEEDLEWORK – Stanford Cheung | Cover Art: Quilt Drawing #12 by Daphne Taylor, 2009 

“an artist of poetic sensitivity and whole hearted intellect” (Toronto Weekly)

What if words have feelings too?

Inspired from the folk tune of the English ballade “Scarborough Fair,” where the third line of the stanza adopts the title of the collection, “Any Seam or Needlework” burns fiercely on a canvas to be nothing, yet nothing to be everything. Similar to a bronze gramophone record stuck on replay, each typographic confession sings naked on the podium for more unknown dissections. Though the first glance onto the page may be subtle with their canon at play, we begin to form a literary study on the relationships between the poet’s conscience and its the mentality of the poem itself. Some say it’s as if, the whole sentence becomes alive with each glance, or what’s worse, an ode to phonetic cult.

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Stanford Cheung is a Canadian pianist, fiction writer, and poet from Toronto. His chapbook Any Seam or Needlework, will be featured as one of this years OF SOUND MIND 5th Chapbook Series from The Operating System. Stanford is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose poems appear in Nomadic Journal, Changes III, CACTI Magazine, and elsewhere. A first prize recipient of the 2nd Canadian International Piano Arts Competition, he enjoys an active career performing throughout the US, Canada and Asia. Presently, Stanford is pursuing music at the University of Toronto. Secretly, he is a Studio Ghibli addict.

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purchase the entire collection (or any individual chapbook) below at our online marketplace! Just click on our merch table below.

on Square Market

The Operating System accepts chapbook manuscript submissions or concept pitches of projects in development year-round for this annual series.  Please allow time for manuscript review, though we will get in touch as soon as we are able. Familiarity with the series/design sense of past books is advised.

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