Small presses mean a lot to me. They represent my best hope getting a book or two out there someday. And there are a lot of them out there. Like literary magazines, this poses a challenge for people like me. After all, I write better when I read, much of is new that I do want to read are done by small presses. I want to support them and I want to benefit from them, both in terms of hopefully getting published and having a constant stream of new material to read. But the challenges to do so are two-fold. One, which do I support and how do I choose from such a vast field? Two, my money is limited. I do have a day job, but I also have two small children and aging parents who live 5000 miles away as well as living in a fairly expensive city. Mind you, I have a very frugal wife and we pinch our pennies pretty tight. For some, something like supporting small presses and literary magazines might sound like a luxury, but it many real ways, it’s not. There are lots of reasons for supporting them and there are many resources that can explain it better than I can. The most important reason I have is that literature is not static and it is not dead. It’s evolving and continuing to do so. Reading only those who are now long gone ignores the fact that those same writers and artists didn’t do that when they were alive. Besides, many libraries have fairly small contemporary poetry sections, leaving poets and fans to build their own collections.
In the Tupelo Press’ case, I’ve taken part in their 30/30 Project as well have having read a couple of their titles. The project, which I’ve written about on this blog is a wonderful experience for any poet, especially if you’ve been out of a community for a while. Beyond that, I like their books. The two books, Into Daylight and Lucky Fish, are two of my favorite poetry collections I’ve read recently. After reading Lucky Fish, I decided to apply for the 30/30 Project.
In the case of Steel Toe Books, I know the editor. Tom Hunley is one of my classmates from my MFA program. He’s a talented and prolific poet, dedicated teacher, and really one of the most honest and earnest people I’ve met. He’s definitely the kind of person/editor any poet should want to have in his or her corner. He’s also built a pretty nice list of books for his press over the past few years. Additionally, they are having an open reading in September/October 2014. There’s no reading fee, but they do ask that you buy one book from them directly, which is still cheaper than a lot of reading fees.
I hope that you will consider supporting these two presses through donations or purchasing books from them. Buying books is something I strongly encourage. I sometimes take notes in mine. I don’t benefit in any way (except that you’ll help keep them going) if you do support them. I recommend them because I like what I’ve seen/read from them. However, in regards to Tupelo, you can make a donation in honor of me, because I’m short on my fundraising goal for the 30/30 Project and this can be done after my term in the project is over.
And, if you have any suggestions for presses that I should look into, please submit them in the comments. I’m always looking for new things to read. Thank you.