A Farewell from Anne Valente

Cover1-3-4-665x1024Since its founding in 2010, Origami Zoo Press had always been on my radar. I’d just completed my MFA program at Bowling Green State University, a two-year explosion of learning everything I could about literary journals, submissions, small presses and currently working writers. In reading so many issues of literary magazines, as well as reading fiction submissions for Mid-American Review, I discovered a number of new writers whose work it seemed spoke directly to me from the page. Among them: Chad Simpson, B.J. Hollars, Brian Oliu and Laura Van Den Berg. When Origami Zoo Press came into being and published the work of so many of my favorite writers, I became an immediate fan and read everything they produced.

When I received the news that my fiction chapbook, An Elegy for Mathematics, would be released in 2013 with Origami Zoo Press, I couldn’t believe that my work would be included in a catalogue alongside so many names I’d admired for years. I’d read each and every chapbook, along with the authors’ books, collections, and publications in literary journals. I’d had my local libraries purchase OZP chapbooks so others could read them too. And I admit I screamed a little at my desk when I opened the email that Origami Zoo’s editors, Sam Martone and Rebecca King, had taken an interest in my fiction too.

Beyond curating a wondrous list of amazing writers, including Kate Bernheimer, Ben Hoffman and Lena Bertone after my own chapbook was published, Origami Zoo Press creates stunningly beautiful books. I remember opening my shipment of copies for the first time when they arrived in the mail and marveling at the craftsmanship of Nate Pierce’s artwork – the cover image, a diagram of a hummingbird that felt like he’d scanned an image of my heart’s deepest wish for the perfect book cover – as well as the handcrafted inclusions with the deluxe edition: an audio recording, phases of the moon, and hand-folded paper birds.

I’m ecstatically proud to be a part of Origami Zoo Press’s collection of titles, and though I’m sad to see the press’s doors close, I know only good things are ahead for Sam and Rebecca – two writers in their own right who I’m glad to call friends and fellow authors. And I know I’ll keep reading each of their authors’ collections and essays and novels for so many years to come: I’ll be following them for life.

Anne Valente is the author of the short story collection, By Light We Knew Our Names, which won the Dzanc Books Short Story Prize and released in 2014. Her debut novel, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down, is forthcoming in November 2016 from William Morrow/HarperCollins. She currently lives in New Mexico, where she teaches creative writing and literature at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

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