Feisty Small Presses

Over at the Huffington Post Anis Shivani has an Independence Day feature on “15 Feisty Small Presses.” (There’s also a poll where you can vote for Open Letter your favorite):

To celebrate Independence Day, here are 15 small presses that exemplify the best qualities of this publishing tradition—so characteristic of America, where the upstarts and rebels and truly ornery literary entrepreneurs flourish side by side with the bloated conglomerate publishing houses. At their best, the independent presses represent democracy, flattening of hierarchy, and dynamic feedback.

One criterion above all was used to select these 15 presses: Are these presses taking risks? Are they publishing material conglomerate publishing turns away, yet finding critical—and even financial—success? Are they ahead of the cultural curve—pushing literary trends—rather than behind it? Would there be a noticeable cultural hole in their absence? Safety, caution, and submission are not being rewarded on this Independence Day.

Just because a press labels itself “independent” doesn’t make it so; small presses are also liable to slip into familiar grooves, risk-aversion, predictability, and catering to closed circles. But the presses chosen here embody a willingness to explore the outermost bounds of American literary culture with each new venture, despite few resources and few expectations of turning substantial profits.

As he mentions, there are a ton of presses that could be included on this list, but here are the official fifteen (and again, you should vote OL as your favorite):

Texas Review Press
Open Letter
Black Widow Press
Coffee House Press
Milkweed Editions
Raw Dog Screaming Press
Fence Books
New York University Press
Cleveland State University Poetry Center
Archipelago Books
The New Press
Copper Canyon Press
New Issues Poetry & Prose
C&R Press
New Directions

Congrats to all, and great feature, Anis!

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