Rattlesnake Press (poetry with fangs!) was born on Leap Year Day, May, 2004.
Well, that's the day the first issue of Rattlesnake Review came off the copy machine, anyway. During the next seven years, Rattlesnake Press produced 93 books (chapbooks, littlebooks, calendars, journals, reprints, and five volumes of interviews); 60 broadsides; and 65 issues of our various journals, including 24 Rattlesnake Reviews; 10 of the children's Snakelets; 4 of the teen VYPER (edited by Robbie Grossklaus); 2 of the online Ophidian (edited by Richard Hansen); and 29 issues of WTF, a raucus little journal edited by frank andrick and Rachel Leibrock, with releases of each issue taking place at Luna's Café in Sacramento (thank you, Art Luna, for your patience with us!). All of these publications were proudly displayed and sold at The Book Collector in Sacramento, run by Richard and Rachel Hansen—the Home of the Snake—with monthly reading/releases at the store.
And, since May 29, 2005, Medusa's Kitchen has presided over it all, providing publicity as well as growing into a “journal” in its own right (or more of an open mic, I say, given how across-the-board our selections are). Nowadays, the Kitchen is the only vestige of Rattlesnake Press that's left, except for LittleSnake, who appears at the end of posts, artwork
courtesy of public domain. (LittleSnake is a descendant of the original LittleSnake, a
creation of Sam the Snake Man's, who drew the rest of the snake
characters for Rattlesnake Press back in the day.)
I started MK partly as an advertising vehicle for Rattlesnake Press, partly because I wanted to put together a venue that would treat poets the way they deserved to be treated, and partly because I wanted to celebrate our area's wonderful poets and their work. Probably the biggest development in MK over the years has been the slow seduction of poets, local and otherwise, so that now I have enough work coming in to post every day without having to resort to various "fillers". Everyone is welcome to send me poems, including ones that have been previously published; this is an excellent way to get your poetry out there, and don't be afraid to send photos and artwork too! For submission guidelines (which are darned few), see medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/placating-harridan.html/.
In May of 2023, MK celebrated her 18th anniversary, and we plan to keep going into the foreseeable future. MK is a continual joy to me—the golden child of my old age. I love it, for example, when poets send each other "letters" through their poems, answering each other's voices that have appeared in the Kitchen. And there are many other rewards that come with being a conduit for such wonderful, wonderful work. I have been grateful, for example, to be able to keep posting and connecting poets, including ones from overseas, during the pandemic.
MK also has pages devoted to some thoughts about writing, publishing, and otherwise wrangling the Muse. I hope you can find something of use in these; they are not all mine, but ones I have gleaned from being around, and workshopping with, our lively, talented and intelligent NorCal poetry community. Bless their hearts for all they have given me. And check out our UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS page for readings, deadlines and workshops. Nowadays with Zooming, even our SnakePals in Wales, India and other exotic locales can tune in!
What happened to Rattlesnake Press in the end? I got exhausted, expenses were out of control, The Book Collector changed hands and the new owner was less interested in poetry. Things change, that's all. Evolved, let's say.
Oh—and why "Medusa"? Because Medusa is the gal from whose head springs all those "snakes" (ideas), even since Rattlesnake Press has retired its print publications. And of course the Kitchen is where we cook up all these tasty delectables from you…