6/25/23 : In this "What's the Matter with PANK Books?" piece in Lit Mag News, 2 authors anonymously gave their accounts of how they got punked by [PANK]. Oddly, the article was classified under "humor & opinion"... there's nothing funny about [PANK] stealing your money + swindling aspiring writers w/ empty promises. Apparently this SCAM has been going on for years + there's so many allegations it's not opinion but FACT, a shady pattern of behavior that seems will never change until people speak up.
FACT: Despite all these allegiations, if you go to their website they are still charging for submissions, $5 for "tip jar" submissions., $25 for book-length subs. Not sure if we've ranted about reading fees on 5cense b4, but the idea of them is fucked in our opinion. Especially when the press/magazine has no intention of ever reading them (as many [PANK] submitters have claimed... just follow the links in the above article). It's a complete shitshow, they have more submissions than they can read, yet they are still open for subs (i.e. to take your money). If a press or magazine doesn't have the time + resources to read submissions they shouldn't be in business. And don't get us started on contests, those are criminally unethical + usually fixed/inside jobs.
FACT: If you go to the online [PANK] catalog, the 1st book listed is
Chest is the Best Storage Space by Yuxin Zhao + they are taking orders for it. We ordered a copy on June 11 + now it's 2 weeks later + we haven't received it, nor an email to tell us when we will. Even the author has never seen a copy + questions whether it ever went to print + nothing has been communicated to her about it's release. There was no messaging about "pre-order" + no indication of when it will ship (see below series of screens (click to see detail) + confirmation email)... they are selling a book that doesn't exist!
Cute how they reply from firstname.lastname@example.org, eh? Their motto written all over their site is: "PANK loves you. PANK is always open for your love." As if...
FACT: [PANK] does not love you. [PANK] is only open to take your money.
FACT: Over 2 weeks ago on June 10 we sent [PANK] (+ Jessica Fischoff, apparently the only "editor" left on the sinking ship) an email inquiring about the status of Yuxin Zhao's manuscript:
After no response (+ no book), 2 weeks later we followed up, this time CC'ing Roxane Gay, who is still listed on the site as the founding editor:
Minutes later, Roxane responded (unless she has an auto-responder for any emails w/ the word "PANK" in it), which surprised us b/c our email for her was from 10–15 yrs ago... ironically, most of our brief correspondence back then was about starting up [PANK] magazine + Tiny Hardcore press, sharing tips + commiserating... she certainly had no intention of [PANK] ending up to be the shitshow it's become after she sold it.
CC'ing Roxane worked, b/c ~15 minutes later "PANK PANK" replied:
To which we responded:
+ we haven't heard back from them since, except Roxane responded again to a sidebar about something else to say: "PANK is clearly not a functioning entity..." And then later she said: "They keep scamming people. They have no credibility. I don’t want my name on the masthead but I also know I have nothing to do with this. Matt and I ran a great, honest magazine. And we thought we were selling it to someone who wanted to continue that. We were wrong and it’s painful." These are the perils of selling off a labor of love, the grifter reincarnation of [PANK] has exploited Roxane Gay's reputation to filch aspiring writers + sell books that don't even exist.
FACT: the sad truth is that writers (often penniless) + small press supporters are the victims here. We used to think bicycle theft was the lowest form of thievery (we've had our cheap-ass bike stolen when we had no car + said bike was our only mode of transportation), but this [PANK] SCAM takes the cake. Yuxin Zhao's book is brilliant + worthy of publishing (last week we published an excerpt in Sleepingfish). Either [PANK] should publish it, or let someone else. As you can imagine, Yuxin is reluctant to move forward w/ [PANK] even if they do eventually publish it, wouldn't you be? She is not alone, other [PANK] writers have had to hire lawyers to get out of their contracts, even though it was [PANK] that wasn't keeping their end of the bargain. These aspiring writers hopes + dreams have been soured + people that think they are supporting small press books are getting burned, it's just fucking shameful + sad.
In other small press news, Sleepingfish is now open for submissions for a 20th anniversary print issue. Ↄalamari Arↄhive will be re-issuing Laura Ellen Joyce's Museum of Atheism (which Salt Publishing let got out of print) + in trademark no-kill-shelter fashion, we'll also be fostering Subito Press books, which went into a state of neglect after Noah Eli Gordon's sad + unfortunate passing a few years ago. Those still semi-involved w/ Subito proposed having the press be an imprint of Ↄalamari Arↄhive, but they publish books through contests, which as we mentioned above is not something we want to support. Besides, the logic seems backwards, Ↄalamari should be an imprint of Subito, since they have institutional + financial support from the University of Colorado at Boulder. But until they can get back up on their feet we're gonna help make the Subito Press books available, which includes 37 books, by: Janalyn Guo, HR Hegnauer, Richard Froude, Soham Patel, Maxine Chernoff, Michael Nicoloff, Jessica Alexander, Kirsten Kaschock, Trevor Dodge, Patrick Culliton, Liz Countryman, Henry Hoke, Douglas Kearney, Nick Francis Potter, Linda Russo, Sarah Bartlett, Thomas Hummel, Amaranth Borsuk & Andy Finch, James Brubaker, Peter Grandbois, Wendell Mayo, Renée Ashley, Mathias Svalina, Marcus Pactor, Melanie Hubbard, Sandra Doller, Alta Ifland, Andy Frazee, Ted Pelton, Tracy DeBrincat, Stan Mir, L.J. Moore, Andrew Farkas, Nin Andrews, Adam Peterson, Sherwood Anderson (yes, that Sherwood Anderson!) + Kristin Abraham. Anyways, it's a bit premature as we don't have the books yet, but as soon as we do we'll make them available so they can find homes in well-lit home libraries instead of dark storage facilities.
The Douglas Kearney + Nick Francis Potter books we already read... in fact, the Kearney book is what made us realize the Subito books had gone out of print. Subito's 1st book, Kristin Abraham's Little Red Riding Hood Missed the Bus, was in our to-read pile, so yesterday we read it on the train to Williamsburg, our destination du jour in our remapping Maphattan Project. We're cheating a bit b/c we were going to W-burg anyway for a show, but figured we'd kill 2 birds w/ 1 stone + go early + walk around + explore. Williamsburg is far from an unknown hidden cranny, in fact it is probably the most overhyped + gentrified hood in NYC. When we 1st moved to NYC in 2000 it was not so developed, but the hip place to live, which always seemed weird to us b/c at it's core there's nothing so interesting about it except it's proximity to Manhattan. There was hardly any waterfront access, most of it abandoned industrial wasteland. The nearby Greenpoint oil spill in the '70s was one of the largest oil spills ever in the U.S., bigger than Exxon Valdez + it took decades to clean it up + the soil is still contaminated. The only reason you went to W-burg was for shows, so unfortunately we ended up in W-burg a lot more than we wanted to be. Now it's douche-bag central + Bushwick is the place to be, but even Bushwick is past it's prime + the kids say Ridgewood Queens is the it place, or who knows where, we don't care... all it means for us is that we have to schlep deeper + deeper into Brooklyn or Queens to see shows. As usual, the trains were fucked up on weekends, so appropriately enough almost finished Little Red Riding Hood Missed the Bus waiting for the C train @ 103rd st.
And when the train came, of course it was crowded as hell. Took the C to the L, got off at Bedford + walked down to the waterfront, which now has all these waterfront condos that only Wall-Street types can afford, even though they are cheaply built + we will likely read about them in the news 10 years from now when they collapse or it's revealed people are getting cancer from the toxic groundwater. Then we went under the bridge to South Williamsburg, 1 of the main Hasid enclaves of aNYCity. At some point a young Hasid couple approached us + asked if we knew if it was gonna rain + we realized since it was Shabbat they couldn't look up the forecast, so we donned our goy hat + told them AccuWeather said their was a 50% chance of rain. They pointed to a dark approaching cloud + we shrugged... who needs iPhones when U can just look into the sky? We wish we had $1 for every time we've seen a forecast of 0% chance of rain + then been rained on. Why can't they just say 1%? Nothing is ever 0%.
aNYCity as scene from W-burg
the old Domino plant being turned into who nose what
a few artist types cling to their places under the bridge
sum 1 painted over work by this street artist we don't remember the name of, but they've done a lot of stuff in Italy
(see the "Bologna Street Art" feature in Sleepingfish)
Met L + ate Thai at Zaab Zaab, which was delicious (tho their beer overpriced). Then went to some bar we forget the name of. Then to Brooklyn Bowl to see W.I.T.C.H. The opening band sucked, but the Death Valley Girls rocked. The weird thing about the Brooklyn Bowl (our 1st time there) is that it's literally in a bowling alley + ppl are bowling while the concert is going on. For those younger than 50, W.I.T.C.H. (We Intend To Cause Havoc) are a bad-ass psychedelic rock band from Zambia that have been around since the early '70s. The only 2 original members are the singer Jagari + the keyboardist Patrick Mwondela, the rest were recruited from various parts of the globe... Bulgaria, New Orleans, The Netherlands, etc. Do the math, unless Jagari was a kid when he founded W.I.T.C.H., he's pushing 70 yrs old + he's still rocking, so inspiring...
More delays on the way home + sum 1 kept falling over on us + we reflexively moved out of the way + they hit their head on the plastic seat + we felt bad. The 2nd time they nodded over, they kept their head nestled against our lap + slept the rest of the ride.
If you want to respond/comment to this post, send us a message through Calamari or subscribe to the 5cense mailing list + respond to 1 of our emails... sorry, we're not savvy enough to build 1 of those comment forums.