Back before the Internet, if somebody wanted to publish, say, poetry, just about the only option was a small press. As the name implies, these were small, cheaply published booklets with such names as PinchPenny, Blue Unicorn, U.N.C.L.E. (for those who have given up), Midwest Arts and Literature, and the like. They featured a variety of literature, but mostly poetry, because everybody seems to think they can write poetry. And because poetry is... well... poetry, it's really hard for anybody to say something isn't poetry. So if you had a poem or 48 that you wanted to see in print, you sent them to these little magazines, and if the winds of fortune weren't blowing sand in your eyes, one of those poems just might get put into print. Of course, you weren't getting paid for it. Often the only way you could see it published was to buy a subscription to the magazine. And the only people who were ever going to read it were those other folks who had to buy subscriptions, too.
And that's what the Holy Grail Press was originally, a small press. Of course, we didn't publish anything back then, either, except the occasional works of Michael Soetaert. But we're all OK with that.
© 2022, The Holy Gral Press, Portland, Oregon
The Holy Grail Press would like to recognize its editorial staff. Seriously, we haven't seen them in so long we don't recognize them anymore.
Earl Eldridge – Editor in Chief
It has come to the attention of the HGP editorial staff that no one here can remember ever having met Mr. Eldridge. None of us is equally sure if he’s ever actually written anything... or edited anything, as far as that goes. In fact, we have no strong proof that he truly exists at all, except that the Holy Grail Press is in his name. Therefore, somebody has to be paying the bills. It sure as heck isn’t any of us.
Mrs. Vula Bimbaum – English Language Consultant
HGP is honoured to have the esteemed grammarian, Mrs. Vula Bimbaum, as a member of our editorial staff. Mrs. Bimbaum taught English for 38 years at the Jimmy Carter Middle School (formerly the Richard M. Nixon Junior High), and one year of high school Latin, as well as published the Weekly Grammarian from 1982-1987, a locally distributed newsletter in the greater Kansas City area. Says Mrs. Bimbaum, “When it comes to bad grammar, there is never a scarcity of examples. Never has been. Now when you write this, make sure you join “Never has been" to the previous sentence. Otherwise it will be a fragmented sentence. Now we couldn’t have that, could we?” In addition to her publishing forte, which Mrs. Bimbaum insists should be pronounced “fort,” she is one of the founding members of the Professional Structuralist Grammarians’ Association and a member of the Professional Organization of English Majors.
This isn't actually Mrs. Bimbaum.
It's Mrs. Grimalkin. Close enough.
Duckworth Hollingsway – Medical Editor
Duckworth Hollingsway first became acquainted with the Holy Grail Press in the fall of 1987, when HGP published his much criticized “Christmas Poems.” Whereas HGP’s main criterion for publication is up-front cash payments, sometimes we have to take what we can get. What can we say? It was 1987.
The “Christmas Poems” also met the State of Illinois’ criteria for insanity, and Duckworth spent the next 14 years at their facility just outside of Crossgrove, both as an inmate and as an intern, though it’s not clear if those two pursuits ran concurrently. Because the Holy Grail Press was Mr. Hollingsway’s last know address, they sent him here upon his release in 2001, 2006, 2014, and again in 2018.
The Reverend Bob Bidwell – Religion and Science Editor
The Reverend Bob Bidwell left his hometown of Phosell, Mississippi, to become a chaplain in the United States Navy. Upon his discharge, he returned to Phosell to learn, quite unexpectedly, that his father had left him a rather remarkable sum of money when he died. Bidwell, determined to spread the Word, invested the lion’s share of his inheritance into KMEN, a 100,000 watt radio station with an all-Bidwell format. Bidwell’s diversified investment portfolio allowed him to run the station at a loss, but that all ended when his accountant left for Costa Rica, along with the majority of Bidwell’s capital. Within three months Bidwell was completely bankrupt, left with nothing but the measly land he had been raised on, which he had so desperately tried to escape by joining the Navy to begin with.
Bidwell then entered into a period of what can best be described as mental debilitation. He went missing for several weeks, during which time he was implicated in the hi-jacking of a church bus, attacking a pimp, and getting into a gunfight in a hotel room with a detective who had reportedly been hired by God to keep Bidwell from killing Him. Said Bidwell, “Why! That’s ridiculous. I mean, how could anybody hope to ever kill God? Why, I’d just like to know how they would intend to do it. Seriously. Just give me a call. Please.”
The Reverend Bidwell has taken a temporary position here at HGP. Says Bidwell, “The Lord will show me the way. It is He, by His almighty powers, that will show me a sign how I might best serve the Lord my God. And when that day comes, I will have no choice but to go.” Bidwell has been with the Holy Grail Press since 1982.
Mandrake Chapman – Professional Grant Writer and Contributing Editor
Mr. Chapman received his Associate’s degree from Fairfield Junior College in Crossgrove, Illinois, in 1994, and then went on to join its faculty, where he is renown for his studies in Educational Philosophy and Toxicology. In his most widely recognized experiment, he concluded that, whereas it is true that children learn better when a teacher has fewer students, when the student to teacher ratio drops below one, learning becomes negligible.
And, of course, who hasn’t benefitted from Mr. Chapman’s pre-graduate school landmark research that concluded cold beer inherently tastes better when you’re on a tropical beech? That, in turn, became the foundation of undoubtedly one of his most controversial claims, that people truly do become more sexually attractive with increased alcoholic consumption, either on their part or on the part of the observer. Says Mandrake, “If we don’t test it, how are we going to know?” Mandrake is currently seeking to procure grant money to prove this assertion.
Says Mandrake, “It’s not so much writing the grants as implementing them. Some studies can take up to ten years to implement. And, of course, there’s a stipend. It’s not an easy job. It does require a lot of travel. For instance, in proving that students truly learn more if their regular teacher actually submits lesson plans to a substitute while he or she is gone, it was necessary to determine if there was a difference in the quality of the lesson plans that were submitted if they were written at various altitudes, like the Swiss Alps, or at sea level, such as Tahiti. A good grant will allow for travel.”
Mandrake is currently continuing his ongoing project of recording The History of the Future.
A very old photo
Mary Ann Joblonski – Contributing Editor and Journalistic Consultant
In 1974, during her senior year in high school, Ms. Joblonski received national recognition as the Most Proficient High School Journalist in the South Central United States, Northwest Region. She graduated with honors from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in Journalism in 1978. Her first paying job was with the Crane Chronicle where, in her first year, she won a regional award for journalistic excellence with her article entitled “Termite Infestation in Mobile Homes and Portable Buildings.” Shortly thereafter she moved up to the much more influential Springfield News-Leader. Four years later, having made her way to the New York Times, Ms. Joblonski was nominated for the Edward R. Murrow Award for her series on tenement flea infestations. Two years after joing the New York Times, Mary Ann Joblonski accepted a position with the American Inquirer, from which she retired... twenty seven years later. Ms. Joblonski has re-enterred the publishing world, mostly as a condition of her court-ordered anger management classes and part of a restraining order which requires that she remain at least 2,000 miles from New York City. Ms. Joblonski is currently working on an exposé of bedbug infestations in regional budget motels.
Dr. Ivan Tupidsay – Technical Consultant and Contributing Editor
In 1978, disappointed by what he called “the widespread use of test scores as the universal determinant for collegiate admission,” Ivan Tupidsay founded the University of Milan. According to Tupidsay, the name comes from the practice of holding classes outside on the grass during the early years. “Beside,” added Tupidsay, “it sounds better than the University of My Garage.” Three years later, Tupidsay was awarded the University’s first doctorate in Obscure Studies. In the years that followed, Tupidsay earned degrees in such diverse fields as Ancient Dravidian Retail Philosophy and Xenopaleontological Literature, as well as having published extensively. His 43rd book to be released by the Holy Grail Press, I Know More Than You Do, is due out at Christmas. Currently, Dr. Tupidsay is Professor Emeritus of Everything at the University of Milan.
The Honorable Leonard K. Bullfinch – Legal Advisor and Political Editor
Senator Bullfinch began his political career in 1968, when he first ran for the Senate. He quickly concluded that the democracy was “way too important to be left solely in the hands of the voters.” Realizing the injustice of just representing one small section of the population, Mr. Bullfinch withdrew from the general election and declared himself a “senator at large.” Since then, Senator Bullfinch has dedicated his life to representing what he describes as the “the true majority of the United States.” Unencumbered by the pressures of reelection, the selfish needs of constituents, or the greed of lobbyists, Senator Bullfinch has been indefatigable in his cause, that of promulgating truth throughout the land. Senator Bullfinch claims to be be the only truly nonpartisan politician, because he represents nobody.
Senator Bullfinch is a proud member of the
National Rattlesnake Association
Probably not Mr. Soetaert
In 1984, a young man claiming to be Michael Soetaert showed up at the offices of the Holy Grail Press. Why he ever felt the need to come here, he has never said, In fact, there is a whole lot he has never said. Though he claimed to know his own name, everything else, according to Mr. Soetaert, was completely lost. After a thorough and costly medical examination, it was determined that Mr. Soetaert is suffering from total amnesia, even though he claims to know who he is. As it happens, there is no unaccounted for Michael Soetaerts (and there are more than you might think). Therefore, we really have no idea who this person is. And since “That Guy” was already taken, we humour him and call him Michael Soetaert. As a public service, if you know of anybody who fits Mr. Soetaert’s description (an old, white guy) who may have gone missing 40 years ago, please come and get him.
Giovonni Pizza – Horticultural Consultant and Contributing Editor
Mr. Pizza came to HGP in 1999. As it turned out, Mandrake knew this guy who knew this guy who knew Giovanni, and, well, Giovanni dropped by one night on business, and, ummm... in the course of the conversation it was discovered that, should he be offered a position, Giovani would be the only member on staff who had a degree from an accredited university in anything remotely associated with the English language, and he would be one of the few staff members who had any sort of degree at all that wasn't drawn with crayons. Giovanni was offered the job, and he’s been here ever since. Literally. He moved in. It’s not too bad. He cleans up after himself, and he keeps the plants watered.
Giovanni Pizza began his career as a childhood star who was part of the critically non-acclaimed Papa Pizza Family.
After the series ended in 1973, Giovanni made numerous appearances in various shows, and even had a small but regular role in the popular series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Shortly thereafter, Giovanni decided to devote his life to the study of horticulture.
Giovanni Pizza began his career as a childhood star who was part of the critically non-acclaimed Papa Pizza Family.
Wide-Eyed Willie – Musical Director
Wide-eyed Willie, whose real name is Wide Eyed Willie, dropped by the Press in 2001, and when he left all that we had to remember him by was a CD we found hidden in a stall in the bathroom. We're hoping someday he will return and take the CD with him.
All the Real People
HGP would like to thank:
Stephen Priest of Baylor (which is also real) for his Latin translation.
Donna Stevens, who at the time was attending Mizzou, for her illustrations in The Secret Society of Spies.
My student from Ozarks Technical College for his illustrations on "Buddy Badger." I wish I could remember your name.
My good friend Darcy Stevens, who used to teach at Missouri State, and he still may. Darcy arranged and recorded "I Got No Reason," which also includes the talents of the Missouri State Mens Choir and the Missouri State Honey Bears, along with several students who I never knew.
And Michael Soetaert, who, aside from those people I just listed, wrote and illustrated everything at this site, no matter what the other editors might tell you.