»

| Give a Gift |

  • Digital Edition

A Pair of Presses Join Poetic Forces

Last December two small Portland, Oregon–based presses, Octopus Books and Tin House Books, announced that they would join forces to collaboratively publish a new poetry series, effectively extending the reach of the city’s growing poetry community. Poets Zachary Schomburg, editor of Octopus Books—a poetry-only press that publishes full-length collections, chapbooks, and the online poetry journal Octopus Magazine—and Matthew Dickman, the current poetry editor of Tin House magazine, will be the acquiring editors for the collaboration. 

“Zachary and I had been having conversations about the poetry community in Portland,” Dickman says, “and in particular about the collaborative spirit running through the different threads of aesthetics here, while at the same time watching large trade presses drop their poets and the amount of poetry they were publishing over the last few years. We wondered about a model that would reflect the community here in Portland.”

The first book in the Tin House/Octopus Books series, Brandon Shimoda’s Portuguese, was published in March and distributed by Publishers Group West. Shimoda, who has published three previous books of poetry, will be joined on the Tin House/Octopus roster by Bianca Stone, whose first book, Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, will be published in the spring of 2014. As the first two acquisitions have indicated, the series is geared toward obtaining the work of both emerging and more established poets. “This is a series that will result strictly from soliciting manuscripts from poets we admire,” Schomburg says, “poets we’re too curious about to wait until somebody publishes their stuff so we can read it.” 

Despite being based in the same city (Tin House also has a New York City office), the two presses attract decidedly different audiences, and often publish aesthetically different work. While Tin House publishes primarily fiction and nonfiction, some of the press’s notable poetry collections have included Alaska-based Olena Kalytiak Davis’s second book, Shattered Sonnets, Love Cards, and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities (2003), and Alex Lemon’s first book, Mosquito (2006). A book that received considerable attention for Octopus Books was last year’s Hider Roser by Ben Mirov. Both editors hope to use their differences in style and perspective to create a series with a far reach and broad appeal. “Maybe the advantage of this collaboration is that our work is the work of two presses and editors with semi-opposing visions,” Schomburg says. 

Dickman, too, speaks of publishing work that would carve out a space for a new audience and invigorate the poetry community. “There’s no desired aesthetic except that of poetry both Tin House Books and Octopus Books finds intriguing and exciting,” he says of the collaboration. “Perhaps, though, it’s a way to look beyond what one or the other press might normally publish, and be enamored by a third option.” 

At a time when large presses are acquiring fewer first books and thinning their existing poetry rosters, the collaboration between Tin House and Octopus is good news for poetry.  “This is a model that is necessary for a new kind of conversation to begin,” the editors write in the introduction to Portuguese, “not to see how we can meet in the middle, but how we can meet at the edges.”

Alex Dimitrov’s first book of poems, Begging for It, was published in March by Four Way Books. 

Reader Comments

close
Article Permissions
A Pair of Presses Join Poetic Forces (May/June 2013)
http://www.pw.org/content/a_pair_of_presses_join_poetic_forces?cmnt_all=1

In the details box below, please include information about the reprint permissions you'd like granted.

Thank you for your permissions request. We do our best to respond immediately, but it may take up to three business days.

City Guide

by Jen Michalski

Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

by Lee Montgomery

portland_brown_small.jpg

Lee Montgomery, associate publisher and editorial director of Tin House Books, moved to Portland, Oregon, twelve years ago but never meant to stay. It was a charming Victorian house, the rain and clouds, and the energy of the places featured in this guide that compelled the writer in her to hunker down and take advantage of a city brimming with literary offerings.

Upcoming Events
Poetry/Fiction/Creative Nonfiction
Workshop
Marconi Conference Center
October 22, 2014 (All day)
Poetry
Performance
RCAH Theater
October 22, 2014 - 3:00pm
Fiction
Reading
Gibson's Bookstore
October 22, 2014 - 6:00pm
Fiction
Workshop
Creative Workspace
October 22, 2014 - 6:30pm
Poetry
Reading
Berl's Poetry Shop
October 22, 2014 - 7:00pm
Conferences & Residencies
Residency
West Cork, Ireland
Residency
Riga, Latvia
Conference
Charlotte, North Carolina
Writing Contests
University of Evansville
American Library Association
Magazine Articles

by Staff

November/December 2014

Small Press Points highlights the innovation and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features the Portland, Oregon–based Tavern Books, which publishes original, translated, and reprinted poetry, as well as the Honest Pint, a unique take on the literary journal.

by Mira Ptacin

November/December 2014

Despite struggles, libraries are learning to navigate the ever-changing, and often cost-prohibitive, landscape of digital lending.

 

Directory of Writers
Poet
Somerville, MA
Poet
Chicago, IL
Poet
Springfield, MA

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | Help | About Us | Contact Us | View Mobile Site

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2014. All Rights Reserved