Montreal, QC , Quebec
Founder and Editors
Ashley Opheim (b. 1988) is a Mexican-Canadian, multi-disciplinary writer and publisher whose work spans various media to explore and illustrate the power of the technology of love and connection. She has published two poetry collections: Ambient Technology (Metatron, 2018) and I Am Here (Metatron, 2014). In addition to her creative work, Opheim is the Founder and Managing Editor of Metatron Press, a literary publisher and innovative incubator for young poets.
Current Editors: A. Light Zachary, Domenica Martinello, Shazia Hafiz Ramji
Tell us a bit about your press. How did you start? Who are your influences, in Canada and beyond? What is your mission?
Metatron Press (est 2014) is a literary publisher that specializes in publishing contemporary writing (poetry and fiction) by debut authors. Brave and emotionally-resonant, the work we publish both challenges and informs a new direction and style of contemporary writing and publishing. We are primarily based in Montréal on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory.
Known for our gorgeously-designed pocketbooks and the platform we offer emerging writers, our publishing program also includes readings (virtual and physical) and various digital publishing projects. Since 2014 we have supported over 500 writers from all over the world through our various projects.
Inspired by the energy of the Beat movement – as represented by the books City Lights Books published – but imbued with the consciousness of intersectional feminism, Metatron Press focuses on publishing edgy books that don’t necessarily fit into literary canons or traditions. We primarily started Metatron Press to make space for unpublished writers to gain access to community and literary opportunities through an alternative publishing program that supports voices typically underrepresented or completely ignored by the industry at large. In turn, our press represents a new generation of authors that are intimate, captivating, and discursive.
What about small press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
I’m excited about technology, and its ability to transform and reshape the way things are done in literary communities. With digital technologies, small presses/self-published authors have so much more potential direct access to readers—and that, to me, is exciting because it gets rid of all of the unnecessary gatekeepers that used to exist between the two. For readers, they have more direct access to writers they love and cherish, whether it be through social media or digital readings. I think technology creates a new playing field, and I think that’s what the industry truly needed, so I’m very excited to be working in publishing alongside technology right now.
How does your press work to engage with your immediate literary community, and community at large?
We feature a wide array of Montreal-based poets and writers in our various projects, whether it be through book publishing, a feature on one of our platforms, or a slot at one of our readings. We also believe in giving back to the community and using our events, resources and book sales to help raise funds for worthy causes. This year, we have supported/will support Taking What We Need (Montreal), the Toronto Encampment Support Network, Afrique Au Féminin (Montreal), Black Lives Matter (Toronto, New York and LA chapters), Hoodstock (Montreal), and the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal.
Tell us about three of your publications. What makes them special, needed, and/or unique?
It would be unfair of me to pick just three, but I will say we have four new releases coming out this Fall that absolutely deserve shoutouts. First, we have knot body, Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch’s highly anticipated debut. Next, we are putting out Lena Suksi’s The Nerves, an erotic novella about queer touch. In October we will be releasing The Saddle Hurts, Too by Breezy, a book of poetry and essays that explore topics such as guilt, shame, healing and belonging. Lastly, we will publish No Problematics by Viola Chen, an incredibly charged book of poetry about identity politics. They are all such unique and daring books! Check them out.
How have the current multiple global crises impacted your work with the press?
It’s deepened my understanding of the importance of publishing: Publishing as hope. Publishing as rebellion. Publishing as healing. Publishing as community.
Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch
The Saddle Hurts, Too