KotaPress and KotaPress Poetry Journal:
In memory of Dakota Jones
by Harry Jones and Kara L.C. Jones
KotaPress is an independent press based in Seattle offering both online and offline poetry projects to the literary community at large as well as grief support to families who are enduring the death of a baby. This may seem like an unlikely mix of business, but for us, it is work of the Heart. We created KotaPress in April 1999 in memory of our child Dakota Jones who died at birth after a full-term, healthy pregnancy. Our wish is that Dakota's spirit will continue on this earth through the efforts of our poetry work and grief support outreach.
Our poetic focus came as a direct result of using poetry to process grief after the loss of Dakota. Our poetic efforts led us back into the world at large in a safe way. For instance, naming our business KotaPress gives us the chance to say our son's name constantly. Without this, bringing up the subject of one's dead child is very much a taboo in our society. This has all evolved into creating a poetic space where many people have been able to express their art, grief, and healing through our paper & ink books, our online poetry journal and the various other projects we produce.
Our first issue of the KotaPress Poetry Journal was published online in Fall 1999. The subsequent Winter Solstice 1999 Issue featured Poet Chat, a question & answer session, with Charles Fishman several of his poems were also showcased. (Charles Fishman is the Associate Editor of The Drunken BoatEditor's note.) Our Spring Equinox Issue in March 2000 featured Elizabeth Gray in Poet Chat, and the entire issue was dedicated to the memory of four very special children who passed away all too soon. And in all past issues (and we hope all future one, too), we proudly offered the beautiful photography of our "staff" artist, Todd Schneider and Susan Mello.
The new issue of the Journal is just out for Summer Solstice, June 21st. We are featuring Claudia Mauro's poetry and an interview with her in Poet Chat. We are also announcing the winners of the very first KotaPress Anthology Contest, along with guidelines on how to submit your works to the next Contest. And we are very excited about sharing the photos that Todd and Susan took while travelling in Africa for five weeks this past Spring. They share their thoughts about the individual photos and memories of their trip. We are so honored that they have chosen to showcase this work thru the KotaPress Poetry Journal.
We take submissions of poetry for the online Journal on a constant basis with issues being published in March, June, September, and December to coincide with the Equinox and Solstice holidays. Please see our "Journal Guidelines" to submit your work to us for the online Journal. We only take email submissions.
We also offer two Anthology Contests per year funded by a very generous Patron of the Arts. Because of this support, it is free for writers to submit works to this Contest. So unlike many contest out there, there is absolutely no reading fee required. The "payment" to winners comes in the form of author copies of the resulting book (approx 14 copies to each "winning" author). For full rules and guidelines, please see the "Anthology Contest" article in the side bar menu of our Journal. Again, we only take email submissions for these Contests.
Along with the poetic endeavors, we also offer grief-support outreach thru various projects. Our primary project at this time is the Mrs. Duck Project which offers free copies of the book, Mrs. Duck and the Woman written by Kara L.C. Jones, to grieving families. Mrs. Duck and the Woman is the story of a mother trying to rebuild her life, her hope, and her dreams, after the loss of her infant child. This book is written in language that is accessible to all ages, and we have heard from lots of families telling us that the book has helped parents, children, various family members and friends to begin the healing process after suffering the loss of a child.
The scope of the Mrs. Duck Project is global as we have now sent copies of Mrs. Duck and the Woman to families in Germany, Australia, and South Africa as well as throughout the U.S. to individuals, hospitals, clinics, and grief organizations--all for free. With the Centers for Disease Control telling us that 30,000+ babies per year are stillborn in the United States alone, you can see that helping these grieving families is a major outreach. This Project relies on the funds of Sponsors who buy a bit of advertising in exchange for the cost of printing & distribution on the books. To read more about this Project and find out how you can participate, please see our Loss Section and be in touch with us.
We invite you to take a look at all we have to offer at KotaPress, and we welcome your feedback and inquiries. Email us. We do try to answer every email personally.