WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Hard to Swallow is meant to be two names at once:
The first and most obvious is the idiom "hard to swallow" and its pun on birds, which if you've spent any time with us you'll know we love our bird puns.
Second, "hard to" as in "to something else." Great chapbooks are often tiny, transformative things. They go from a space of relative discomfort to something else entirely. If we could, all of our chapbooks would represent this with Animorph covers, but with hard things like stones, bricks, or anvils into different birds. Probably would get sued if we did that, though, so no promises.
Hard to Swallow started as Lover Books, a chapbook press ran by John and Emily Colasacco, two personal friends of the magazine who gave us the original idea to start BPL in the first place. The first collection of chapbooks consisted of five different manuscripts, all solicited by John at the time. A year later, John contacted us asking if we'd like to take over for him. And we did want to, but we needed it to still recognizably be ours as well as Lover Books. Plus it turns out hosting two domain names is prohibitively expensive. So we took over, changed the name but hope to keep to the same stylistic forms. Below is a picture of all five of the mythic original books from Lover Books, now scattered to different people all over. Legend has it when they're assembled again they will form like Voltron into an entirely new book.