Pocket Poetry

Damfino Press co-founder Heather Macpherson poses with 5 Poems.

By Erin Bassler

We’ve all been there. You’re stuck at the dentist or in an endless line at the supermarket. All you want is something to speed things along, but your only options are the parenting magazines dated 1999, or the gossip rags claiming that Brad’s cheating on Angelina. No thanks.

Damfino Press co-founder Heather Macpherson poses with 5 Poems.
Damfino Press co-founder Heather Macpherson poses with 5 Poems.

Heather Macpherson and Lea Deschenes offer a solution as the proud co-directors of Dămfīno Press — an online publishing and editing project dedicated to providing its readers with quality work, from poetry to essays and reviews.

What if, instead of settling for some trashy magazine, you could pull out Dămfīno Press’ newest handy-dandy chapbook — a small, easily concealed booklet filled with poetry on only 14 pages or so. Quick to read, certain to be enjoyable, and effortless to slip back into your pocket when it’s time to go.

Their latest work, 5 Poems by Jina Ortiz, will be released soon. Two more are slated for release later this year, featuring Sam Cha and Ilya Kaminsky.

“Jina’s is a collection of love poems; sexy and sassy, but honestly really beautifully written,” says Macpherson.

5 Poems is a chapbook series designed and published by Dămfīno Press — each issue featuring a singular poet and a small collection of some of their best work. Three volumes were released in 2015, and 2016 marks the series’ second year in publishing.

“I’ve always been a big fan of blue books, made for the working class to read during Victorian times,” explains Macpherson. “We wanted to create a series that was easily readable in one sitting, and also easy to carry around.”

With five poems per 5 Poems, you can be sure that what’s provided will have you hook, line, and sinker.

Which leaves only one question — where do the poets come from?

The submission process is less complicated than you think. The Dămfīno Press website has an online journal with an open submission policy — follow their guidelines and your work will earn an honored place up on the website for all to see.

“We don’t care what corner of the poetry world you come from as long as the work is good in our incredibly subjective opinions,” says Deschenes.

Dămfīno Press offers editing services, book design, and also runs a variety of writing workshops featuring experienced writers eager to share the tricks of the trade. They also host their Annual Afternoonified Poetry Chapbook Contest, in which hopeful writers submit a manuscript for their own chapbook and compete for the championship prize of being published with 25 copies to sell.

“As someone who’s participated in poetry slam and an MFA program and found both to be invaluable, I really wanted to create a space where all kinds of writers are celebrated,” Deschenes adds.

At the heart of it, Macpherson and Deschenes often seek out poets for themselves — constantly keeping their eyes and ears open for someone with a unique voice, famous or not, and then asking if they’d like to contribute their work for publication.

Dămfīno Press adores the subjective writer — someone who isn’t afraid to stamp their foot, shake their head, and argue their point long into the night, sometimes in verse. They’re looking for well-argued opinions, personal poetry, and for something to grab them by the brain and squeeze.

“Our submission guidelines have received both fan mail and hate mail, fortunately leaning more toward the fan side, and it’s always good to feel like you’ve reached someone or made them think,” says Deschenes.

Dămfīno Press’ open journal has had a steady stream of submissions since December 2014, and their Facebook updates regularly with quality content.

Visit http://www.damfinopress.com to purchase your own copy of 5 Poems and explore Macpherson’s and Deschenes’ mission further.

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