Monday, May 21, 2012 Friday, April 13, 2012

English students start chapbook publishing company

The Mac Weekly wrote an article about us!

Along with Garrison Keillor’s eclectic book collection just across the street, Macalester students now have access to the products of a student-run publishing company.

Cloud City, a chapbook press led by Ollie St. John ’12 and LukeMarcott ’12, formed from the creative minds of English professor Wang Ping, English instructor Pete Bognanni and a team of student editors including Angus McLinn, Nick ArcieroJerremiah Ellison and James Cihlar.

“Ping told us we should start a publishing company,” Marcott said. “That was five weeks ago and it’s been taking over our lives.”

After just a little more than a month, St. John, Marcott and the Cloud City team already have a final product to show for their efforts.Marcott’s chapbook Filmpocalypse, which is both his and the company’s first publication, can be found on the shelves of Common Good Books and a handful of other stores in the Twin Cities starting today.

“We want to publish work that wouldn’t be publishable elsewhere because it’s too subversive, or it takes too many risks,” Marcott wrote in a press release.

As Creative Writing majors, both of these editors-in-chief saw that students are coming out of Macalester with huge projects – namely capstones – to which they have devoted too much time to not reuse. For a chapbook style piece, the length of a capstone is almost perfect.

“Every student who takes an intensive creative writing class in college ends up producing one of these 60-80 page pieces,” St. John said in a press release. “They’ve worked harder than they have in their lives on these things, but what can they do with them? They’re too long for a literary magazine and too short for a book.”

That is where Cloud City comes into play. Chapbooks, small books made from letter size paper that is bound and folded in the middle, are the ideal format for the projects Macalester students are producing.

“Chapbooks are a ‘Do It Yourself’ publication, which is most common with poetry,” St. John said.

Cloud City publishes submissions from 40-60 pages for poetry and 60-80 pages for prose. Most of these submissions are coming from friends who the editors know may have something to contribute. Though the press has not been around long, Marcott and St. John are finding themselves overwhelmed with support and opportunities from both staff and outside resources.

“We have more staff help than we know what to do with … for being the control freaks we are,” Marcott said. “And we have a lot of college connections with other friends and siblings.”

The two have already received offers from friends and family at St. Olaf, Carleton and Bard to do public readings.

“These plans are incredibly shaky and probably won’t transpire, but it’d be cool if they did.” Marcott said.

Though these kinds of offers could transpire into something big in the future, Marcott and St. John don’t have firm plans for the future of the press.

“[We] don’t ever really plan to make money off of it,” Marcott said. “We’d like to get younger Mac people to take it up, but if they don’t, then we’ll probably just continue it and have it be a Twin Cities publication. We also might be getting money from Mac to do it, and we don’t really know how that would change the game.”

In the meantime, Cloud City has already confirmed its first public event: a reading from and launch party for Filmpocalypse tonight at 6:30 at Common Good Books.

With help from the owners of Common Good Books and support in the Macalester community, Marcott and St. John have been able to get Filmpocalypse and Cloud City off the ground with more ease than they anticipated.

“[Running a press] is not a thing they teach at Macalester,” St. John said. “You just kind of make it up as you go along. But it has paid off a lot and gathered more momentum recently. We suddenly got all this support from all these people.”

“It’s also a great excuse to do little art projects,” Marcott added.

Cloud City is accepting submissions of 40-60 pages for poetry and 60-80 for prose at

Source: The Mac Weekly

New Chapbook Press: Cloud City

Cold Front wrote an article about us!

Published on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Cloud City is a new chapbook press coming out of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Oliver St. John and Luke Marcott, seniors at the college, founded the press with their common interest in unique writing and frustration over literary outlets.

“Every student who takes an intensive creative writing class in college ends up producing one of these 60-80 page pieces,” says St. John. “They’ve worked harder than they have in their lives on these things, but what can they do with them? They’re too long for a literary magazine, and too short for a book.”

Thus, Cloud City was born. (And yes, Cloud City is a Star Wars reference. +5 points in my book.)

As their website puts it, “We publish writing that don’t give a fuck what you think about it.”  While Cloud City is advised by three Macalester faculty members (Wang Ping, James Cihlar, and Peter Bognanni), the college itself is not bankrolling the endeavor. This affords the editors total freedom over their content. So duly noted: not a fuck will be given.

On Friday April 13th, Common Good Books (Garrison Keillor, prop.) is hosting the release party of Cloud City’s first chapbook, Filmpocalypse by Luke Marcott. It’s about a guy working in a doomed video rental store and features “Acid cats, underage sex, drugs, pornography addiction, teenage angst, psychotic rage, dragons, Andre the Motherfucking Giant, the 21 bus, the Twin Cities!”

Check it out. Here are the details of the release party:

Friday April 13th


Common Good Books
38 S. Snelling Ave,
St. Paul, Minnesota, 55105

–Sam Woodworth, Twin Cities

Source: Cold Front

Cloud City Press: You don’t need a deal with the Empire to become a literary publisher

The Twin Cities Daily Planet wrote an article about us!

In the world of literature, there is inevitably always something new happening. The newest new in Minneapolis is a project called Cloud City Press, co-founded by Macalester students Oliver St. John and Luke Marcott, and run with the help of a small (mostly Macalester) staff along with three faculty advisors. Though Cloud City only came into being about five weeks ago, its first chapbook will launch into this word-friendly world of ours on Friday, April 13 at the new Common Good Books, which is now located adjacent to Macalester’s campus.

Over Easter weekend, I met with St. John and Marcott at Cahoots Café on Selby Ave. in St. Paul to talk a little about their project, and how Cloud City (yes, that’s a Star Wars reference, and the name of the apartment where both St. Oliver and Marcott live) can help flesh out the already fertile landscape of the Twin Cities literary scene. The two seniors expressed a not uncommon dissatisfaction with the general atmosphere of most academic literary outlets, noting that generally, they “suck.”

“There’s this preconception if you’re an editor of a literary magazine this is the kind of stuff that goes into literary magazines and then you publish stuff that looks like that stuff and it’s all the same and you can’t take any real risks,” Marcott said. “We got really sick of this incredibly sterile writing environment that’s in and around Mac and so we decided to make our own thing.”

If they’re not publishing the typical stodgy work that often appears in the pages of university literary journal, then what are they publishing? We’ll all have to wait until Friday to really find out, but Cloud City’s mission statement packs a punch by promising to “publish writing that don’t give a fuck what you think about it.” Their first chapbook, Filmpocalypse, written by Marcott, is about working in a video store (loosely based on Franklin’s Filmzilla) during the 2000s, when everyone on staff knows that every day they’re open is a “slow march toward the death” of the store, but no one talks about it. Rather, the storeowners just subsidize sales with “B list porn” sales.

Modeled after One Story’s single-work, single-author pamphlet, Cloud City is looking to publish 60-80 page stories, a length much longer than typically found in school journals. The reason behind this, St. John explained, is that any student taking serious creative writing classes is going to end up working on a long project over the course of a semester or two, and it’s almost impossible to find a home for those longer works once completed. So Cloud City will be that home for some. However, who knows where the editors will take the project? Though Macalester is home to most of the staff, they are in no way funding any aspect of Cloud City, so St. John and company are free to do whatever the hell they please (which is really a pretty sweet deal).

Supremely DIY, Cloud City staff look to three faculty advisors for advice and practical guidance—Peter BognanniJames Cihlar, and Wang Ping, who first approached St. John and Marcott with the idea to start a chapbook press. “Oliver and Luke have been studying with me for several years,” Ping said. “I watched them grow and flower as writers, and would like them to have some fruit upon their graduation.”

Whether St. John and Marcott see the project as “fruit” is unclear. Marcott noted that he does not quite believe that an undertaking like this could be a résumé booster, and worries that a history of only small business experience will lead prospective employers to the understanding that he does not like authority figures, which (like most creative undergrads) he confirmed is, in fact, the case. St. John chimed in with the familiar writer’s goal of a strong desire to be famous. “That’s kind of always the end goal,” Marcott responded, laughing.

Regardless of where they end up, at least in terms of their work with Cloud City, Ping believes that this kind of experience is important: “It’s the climax of much training, labor, pain, and joy. When they hold the book in their hands, they’ll know what it means to labor for love and passion.”

Source: The Twin Cities Daily Planet

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Macalester Students to Launch Cloud City, a New Chapbook Press

(SAINT PAUL, MINN. March 30th, 2012) Coming to Common Good Books on Friday the 13th will be chapbooks published by Cloud City, a new press founded by Macalester Students Oliver St. John and Luke Marcott.

To celebrate Cloud City’s first chapbook, Filmpocalypse by Marcott, a reading and launch party will be held at Common Good Books brand new location at 38 Snelling Ave, Saint Paul. The event will begin at 6:30.

“I couldn’t be happier to host the launch of Macalester’s newest literary project at the neighborhood’s newest bookstore!” says assistent manager David Enyeart of Common Good Books.

 St. John and Marcott have found the support of hot shot Twin Cities authors, Wang Ping, James Cihlar, and Peter Bognanni to launch the new press.

“What a great start!” Wrote Macalester faculty advisor Wang on Cloud City’s Facebook Page, “Mac students rock!”

About Cloud City

St. John and Marcott founded Cloud City with the mutual interest in innovative writing styles, in terms of both form and content. 

“We want to publish work that wouldn’t be publishable elsewhere because it’s too subversive, or it takes too many risks,” says Marcott.

Cloud City will publish on a monthly basis prose pieces from 60-80 pages long, and poetry from 40-60 pages — the length of a typical college creative writing major’s Senior Project.

“Every student who takes an intensive creative writing class in college ends up producing one of these 60-80 page pieces,” says St. John. “They’ve worked harder than they have in their lives on these things, but what can they do with them? They’re too long for a literary magazine, and too short for a book.”

And that’s why Cloud City exists.

What’s a chapbook?

Chapbooks are a widely recognized publication format in the literary world. They’re made from letter size paper bound in the middle and folded over.

According to the National Library of Scotland’s website, chapbooks have been a popular literary format since the 17th century.  The National Library of Scotland has one of the largest historical chapbook collections in the world.

About the editors

Oliver St. John and Luke Marcott are both Senior creative writing majors at Macalester. St. John has published variously fiction and news articles in USA Today, DASH Literary magazine,, Marco Polo Arts Mag, and the Twin Cities Daily Planet. 

Filmpocalypse will be Marcott’s first publication.

Staff editors include Angus McLinn, Nick Arciero, and Jeremiah Ellison.

Macalester faculty advisors include Wang Ping, James Cihlar, and Peter Bognanni.

For more information, please see:


Editor in Chief Oliver St. John (202) 320-9824,

Editor in Chief Luke Marcott (651) 353-2040,