Drop the word Iowa into casual conversation and most writers in the room will likely finish your thought with “Writers’ Workshop” (especially this year, as the esteemed program in Iowa City celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary) but that’s a shame, because there is more to the area than the oft-cited crown jewel of MFA programs. For instance, Ice Cube Press (www.icecubepress.com), which was founded nineteen years ago by Steve Semken in the Iowa City suburb of North Liberty, is a gem in its own right. In a simple note on the press’s Web site, Semken writes, “We hand-wrap each order, write thank you notes, drink coffee and talk about book projects with our authors.” Imagine that. Among the recent book projects the indie press has undertaken are An Endless Skyway, an anthology of poetry from thirty-eight state poets laureate, and Train to Nowhere: Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation by Colleen Bradford Krantz. Semken plans to publish ten books in 2011, all of them expanding on the overall theme of the press: the importance of place. While the press isn’t formally accepting submissions at this time, Semken will consider a well-placed query via postal mail. To read Ice Cube’s full submission guidelines, in which Semken explains why he is “VERY VERY picky” with the poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction manuscripts that come his way, visit the Web site.
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