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Vocamus Press

Guelph, ON

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Founder

Jeremy Luke Hill is the publisher at Gordon Hill Press, a literary publisher based in Guelph, Ontario. He is also the Managing Director of Vocamus Writers Community, a non-profit community organization that supports book culture in Guelph. He has written a collection of poetry and short prose called Island Pieces, along with several chapbooks and broadsheets. His writing has appeared in ARC Poetry, The Bull Calf, CNQ, CV2, EVENT Magazine, Filling Station, Free Fall, The Goose, HA&L, The Maynard, paperplates, The Puritan, Queen Mob’s Tea House, The Rusty Toque, The Town Crier, and The Windsor Review.

Tell us a bit about your press.

Vocamus Press began after I began investigating self-publishing options, because I wanted to make a book I’d written for my kids into Christmas gifts. Soon other people were asking me to help them with similar projects, and then I started actually publishing things, always focussing on local titles. Eventually it also spawned a non-profit organization called Vocamus Writers Community, which promotes Guelph and area book culture.

What about small press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?

What I like about small press publishing is the freedom that it allows. There’s something really satisfying about working with local people to write, edit, design, and then physically make books, and to do all that pretty well any way you want. You have so much opportunity to play with format and style and content and even paper and binding. You can print things as broadsheets or postcards or whatever. There’s obviously not as much space for that creativity in commercial publishing.

How does your press work to engage with your immediate literary community?

Vocamus Press is all about the local community. We only publish authors from the area. We only hold events in the area. We only really sell in the area. And through Vocamus Writers Community, we have all kinds of programs and events designed to encourage local literary community. It’s the central mission for everything we do.

Tell us about three of your publications. What makes them special, needed, and/or unique?

As part of our local focus, we’ve published several books that are important to the Guelph area that might not otherwise find a market. For example, we published Guelph Mercury Rising, a collection of short prose by former employees of the now defunct Guelph Mercury newspaper, launched on what would have been its 150th anniversary. We also published The Cromaboo Mail Carrier by local writer Mary Leslie, probably the first novel written by a woman who was born in Canada, never before published under her own name. We also publish Rhapsody, an annual anthology of Guelph area poetry, as a way to promote local poets.

How have the current multiple global crises impacted your work with the press?

Being so focused on local events and community engagement, the quarantine measures have been particularly difficult for us. Almost all of our regular non-profit activities have stopped, and we haven’t been able to have a proper launch for our spring 2020 chapbook titles. Some things are starting to find alternative ways to exist, it hasn’t been an easy tike for us.


Citrus and Shadow cover

Citrus and Shadow
Jeffrey Reid Pettis
2019

Citrus and Shadow is a chapbook of lyric poetry, thoughtful and measured, deft and curious. It is a poetry that explores the world, not by dissecting it or pulling it to pieces, but by holding it closely and paying it full attention. Its challenge to the reader is that we also come to hold the world more closely, that we also pay it our full attention, so that we also can come to know it better.


Fish What You Lure cover

Fish What You Lure
Morvern McNie
2020

Fish What You Lure is a chapbook of poetry and photography that subtly explores various relationships – between lovers, between mothers and daughters, between people and nature – all while posing questions about the writing of poetry itself, the craft and the role of the poet. The photographs play with pareidolia, capturing recognizable images in the randomness of nature and the poems often seem to have this element also, focusing in on meaningful images in what sometimes seems to be the randomness of life.


The Old Garage cover

The Old Garage
Carolyn Davey
2020

The Old Garage is a chapbook length work of creative nonfiction that explores the role that traditional community hubs like car garages, soda counters, and churches had on small town life. It's a quiet study of the kinds of people who operated those community spaces, subtly changing the lives of those who lived around them.