Graywolf Press

I’m sitting in bed with my new laptop, cat at my feet. Vincent’s asleep, Lance went for a walk — silence but for the ticking clock. Serene winter evening.  Let’s hope it doesn’t all go to hell.

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In terms of small presses, Graywolf Press is practically a venerable graybeard. It’s been around a while now, it’s a very successful press, their books get reviewed widely, and distribution is by Macmillan, who also distributes St. Martin’s Press, Henry Holt, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Graywolf books are even in the back of the FS&G catalog. This is great visibility for a small press.

And the Graywolf poetry list is reliably top-notch. New books forthcoming:

  • Colosseum, by Katie Ford. June, paperback, $15.00. A new book of poems from the poetry editor of the New Orleans Review. Excerpt: If you respect the dead/ and recall where they died/ by this time tomorrow/ there will be nowhere to walk.
  • Matter of Fact, by Eamon Grennan. June, paperback, $15.00. Excerpt: Don’t look back. Think Orpheus. Pillar of salt./ One breath, then another. Sweat of apprehension./ Still life with wind and breadcrumbs.
  • Letters to a Stranger, by Thomas James. Introduction by Lucie Brock-Broido. July, paperback, $15.00. A new book in the Graywolf Poetry Re/View Series, edited by Mark Doty, which is dedicated to bringing essential books of contemporary American poetry back into print. Excerpt: I will last forever. I am not impatient–/ My skin will wait to greet its old complexions./ I’ll lie here till the world swims back again.
  • Best Thought, Worst Thought: Art, Sex, Work, and Death, aphorisms by Don Paterson. August, hardcover, $18.00. “The male genitals are worn externally as evolution is in the process of expelling them from the body. Another million years and they’ll be stored in a drawer.”

As a bookseller, my knowledge can be limited to the catalogs I receive, the sales reps I meet. So I know Copper Canyon Press, Tupelo Press, and a whole host of others I hope to cover, are distributed by Consortium/ Perseus/ PGW / Whatever they’re calling themselves these days. Small Press Distribution (SPD) distributes a continent of small presses. And they’re (SPD) non-profit. (I wish their catalog was more like Consortium’s, which gives each frontlist book at least half a page. I have to work very hard to read an entire SPD catalog.) Being somewhat plugged into the poetry blogosphere has also introduced me to some fantastic small presses.

All of which goes to say that, while I’m gathering intel, it’s easy to miss good stuff, especially if a press doesn’t have a distributor or great online visibility, so if you have a favorite small press, please, go ahead & tell me about it! How else am I to learn?

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