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Meet Fonograf Editions, 2020 Oregon Literary Fellow

We’re thrilled to introduce the 2020 Oregon Literary Fellowship recipients with individual features on our blog! Out-of-state judges spent several months evaluating the 400+ applications we received, and selected eleven writers and two publishers to receive grants of $3,500 each. For the first time, Literary Arts also awarded two Oregon Literary Career Fellowships of $10,000 each. The 2021 OLF applications will be posted in May 2020, and the deadline to apply will be in August 2020. All of the 2020 Oregon Literary Fellowship recipients will be honored at the 2020 Oregon Book Awards Ceremony.

2020 Oregon Literary Fellowship Recipient
Fonograf Editions


About Fonograf
Established in 2016, Fonograf Editions is a 501(c)(3) non-profit literary record label and press. It is based in Portland, Oregon and was initially born out of a collaboration with the independent poetry press Octopus Books. Devoted to bringing literary-influenced albums and musically-influenced books to both print and audio formats, Fonograf is one of the only entities of its kind in the U.S.

Fonograf Ed. is distributed physically and digitally by Burnside Distribution Corporation and Small Press Distribution (SPD). Publicity and promotion help from Heather Brown at Mind the Bird Media.

Q&A with Literary Arts
What are your sources of inspiration?
Fonograf’s sources of inspiration are where the intersections of music and literature mix. Our full mission statement reads: Existing to marry sound and word in all possible permutations, Fonograf publishes works influenced by language and literature. Each release is available in multiple formats, with a particular focus on the tangible artifact, be it a book or record. Through the hosting of events and performances, Fonograf additionally hopes to cultivate the performative aspect of all language, whether at a concert, poetry reading or community forum.

How would you describe your creative process?
It’s changing…we started out as a vinyl record-only literary press and this year we’re moving into publishing printed texts. Our creative process is thus one that refuses stasis, as pretentious as that might sound. We’re very interested in publishing work that is multi-modal and exists (or can exist) on multiple platforms.  

What is most exciting about receiving a fellowship?
The opportunity to make beautiful, unclassifiable artifacts. And the support from an entity that is also located in Fonograf’s hometown of Portland and home state of Oregon.  

What are you currently working on?
The label is currently in the midst of its first ever book contest, an Open Genre one judged by Rae Armantrout, with a prize of $2000 and a few other amenities. In addition to that we’re working on releases by the poet/librettist Douglas Kearney, the writer/musician Dao Strom; and, in collaboration with the poets Alice Notley and Anne Waldman, two albums by the Canadian musicians Andrew Whiteman and Ariel Engle (from the group Broken Social Scene). We’re also putting out a chapbook-like artifact by Joshua Beckman in the first half of 2020.

What advice do you have for future applicants?
Perseverance, patience, gratitude, expectation mixed with an anti-expectatory vision. Perseverance.

Excerpt from FODDER

Judge’s Comments
“Fonograf Editions is a remarkable publishing project.  Forward-looking and innovative, Jeff Alessandrelli’s vision as editor embraces multimodal storytelling and interdisciplinary thinking, an impulse that truly represents the future of the industry.  In reviewing this innovative project’s offerings, I was frequently reminded of Marianne Moore’s writings on her time as editor of The Dial, particularly her belief that an editor’s role is to host a conversation between creative practitioners across disciplinary boundaries.  Though Modernist in its approach, Fonograf Editions bears this familiar artistic tradition into a distinctly contemporary moment.  Bravo!”  — Kristina Marie Darling

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