Vendor Interview: Thread Makes Blanket

For today’s Vendor Interview, take a look at some answers to our questions from Thread Makes Blanket‘s founder and primary obsessor, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela. The writing community they’ve embraced is more than just geographical, it’s like a mindset. Here’s what she had to say:
1. What should attendees of PHILALALIA expect from Thread Makes Blanket?
  • Copies of Dismantle, a wonderful anthology of writing from VONA authors. VONA is a writing workshop for writers of color that has worked with over 2000 prose and poetry writers from across the country. The book features an introduction by award winning author Junot Diaz– one of the founders of VONA.
  • Copies of Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue: A History of New Jewish Agenda. This is a great people’s history text about a radical Jewish left membership organization in the 80’s. It offers a lot of lessons for organizers today, and is quite timely really.
  • Copies of some new, smaller screen printed publications that are in the works. We started with a poetry chapbook and then branched out into some paperbacks. We have two chapbooks and two collections of poetry in the works. We hope to have one of the chapbooks out just in time for PHILALALIA.
  • Our first two publications are sold out, but we will have copies of those for show as well.
  • Free pencils! Thread Makes Blanket pencils for all!
2. What has Thread Makes Blanket achieved this past year that you’re most proud of?
Dismantle was huge for us. The introduction was reprinted by The New Yorker and caused a stir throughout the literary world which led to articles in The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, etc. While the coverage largely focused on Junot Diaz, it did lead to increased attention and sales that our tiny press could never have paid for. More importantly, VONA founders and alum are happy with the book. Writers and readers are happy with the book. The feedback has been amazing, and we are really proud of what came of our two years of work.
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3. What is something people might not know about Thread Makes Blanket
Poets Andrea Walls and Torrie Valentine (long story, we still plan on publishing Torrie’s chapbook) are one of the 3 main reasons Thread Makes Blanket was founded. We knew their work needed to be in the world, and we wanted to help make that happen.
4. Thread Makes Blanket says on its website that the press “comes out of community”– how would you define this community and what are some ways your press makes an effort to connect with it?
TMB comes out of an extended community of writers, activists, queers and poc. Each book project comes out of a slightly different community of people who come together to get the work done. As a result of this collective effort, each project serves to strengthen and celebrate community. Every publication is primarily the work of volunteers who come together to produce and support the work they want to see in the world.
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