On March 29th, Settlement House Press co-founder and publisher Larry Moffi visited the Potomac Review interns at Montgomery College and discussed his career in publishing, which ranges from being an author, editor, copy-editor, managing editor to director of publications (http://www.larrymoffi.com). The publisher of poet Alicia Partnoy’s latest book, Flowering Fires/Fuegos Florales, spoke to the interns about the work he has done, what goes into publishing a book or anthology, and the various roles of a copy editor. Afterwards, the interns took some time to reflect on his visit and compile their responses in the collage below.
Safia Msami writes that she felt inspired and appreciated that “Settlement House gives writers with distinct backgrounds and brilliant minds a platform to display their work, and a platform which would allow them to continue with their talents.” Moffi provided the interns with a lot of information, and Safia observes that “running a press requires an investment of time and money, most of it yours, . . . [and that] so much is invested into establishing a book and so little is made back, yet it is not enough to discourage small presses to stop publishing.” Although she now believes that “in publishing it’s important to see the work produced as a prize,” she knows the “truth is, the world is tough and challenging, but is overall compelling. Publishing is sacred. It is a world that allows individuals to establish who they are through stories, and for that we should be grateful.”
Juliana Borelli also notes the large amount of information that the interns got to walk away with. She says “it was enlightening to hear about what goes into publishing [a piece of writing], and I had not known that editors played such a large role in the finished product.”
She feels that it was an “encouraging” visit and that “it’s nice to know that there is not a heavy amount of educational background required to enter the field, but instead qualities such as being very detail oriented” are expected/. Juliana, like the other interns, is pleased to know “that [there] are publishing houses tailored to publishing authors who may be of immigrant status or have work translated from different languages.”
Amber Sample appreciates learning all of the experiences Moffi had to share and as well as his insight into the publishing business. She writes that “he went over so much that there was quite a bit of information to absorb and reflect on mentally [and] I thought his anecdotes were amusing.” She was also impressed about what he’d done for Alicia Partnoy, saying she “enjoyed hearing about what [Moffi has] been able to do, both with respect to his career and for other people, like Alicia.” She adds “he also helped me realize which jobs that I might be best at,” whether it be editor, publisher, or another position. Amber further notes, “I feel I am walking away with more knowledge and a better understanding of the publishing/editing field.”
Hieu Duong, having an interest in publishing himself, is keen to hear Moffi’s words. In fact, he mentions how he “wanted to be a publisher, but it never occurred to me how much a publisher had to manage.” He got the impression that “aside from the managing and communicating between various people, it didn’t sound too bad, if I didn’t ever want to eat orsleep” and “the thought of managing a project sounded interesting.” Thanks to all of the information Moffi shared, Hieu says “I felt like I understood the job of a publisher a little better.” Hieu, much like the other interns, were very appreciative of the visit, and he walked away feeling motivated. He says the visit “inspired me to write, but more importantly, I think it’s given me some sort of clarity. It’s thanks to such places as Settlement House that . . . a unique literary haven (exists).”
Moffi provided a perspective on other local non-profit publications, and a look ahead to the work as the interns prepare for issue 59. In the meantime, Settlement House’s American Poetry Prize winner, Alicia Partnoy, will appear on Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus March 30 and 31.