Small Press Points

Kevin Larimer

At around the same time Unowsky was launching the Hungry Mind Review in St. Paul, four enterprising women in Corvallis, Oregon, founded Calyx Books (, an independent, nonprofit publisher of contemporary writing and art by women. The seeds for the press were planted 10 years earlier, in 1976, when Barbara Baldwin, Meredith Jenkins, Beth McLagan, and Margarita Donnelly launched Calyx, a triquarterly literary magazine. In its first decade Calyx published writing by Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, Marilyn Hacker, Sharon Olds, and Nobel Prize–winning poet Wislawa Szymborska, among others, and its issues were so fat that some readers considered them full-length books. Donnelly recalls an afternoon in the early ’80s when one of those readers, Scott Walker, the founder of Graywolf Press (, said to her, “Margarita, you’re already doing books, why not just do books?” So they did. While Donnelly admits that sales have dropped in recent years—as a result, the number of books the press publishes annually is only one or two, down from five or six a decade ago—the mission of Calyx Books remains the same: to discover and publish unknown women writers. The titles are distributed by Consortium. Forthcoming this year is a revised edition of Barbara Scot’s The Violent Shyness of Their Eyes: Notes from Nepal, originally published in 1993. Volume 22, No. 1 of Calyx will be released this month.

If you’ve heard of nthposition, it’s probably because of the war in Iraq. The London-based online literary journal’s publisher, Val Stevenson, and its poetry editor, Todd Swift, published the first of three free poetry anthologies, 100 Poets Against the War, in late January 2003, while President Bush was making his case for military action. Over 100,000 copies of the e-books were downloaded from the journal’s Web site. Stevenson and Swift recently launched nthposition press ( with the October release of In the Criminal’s Cabinet: An Nthology of Poetry and Fiction, a traditionally published 240-page collection of poetry and fiction by more than 90 contributors from nine countries, including Australia, Bulgaria, India, South Africa, and Switzerland. It will be followed by a biennial anthology of poetry and fiction, and single volumes of poetry and fiction. Although Stevenson has yet to secure distribution in the United States—the titles will be distributed by Inpress in Britain—the books can be ordered on the nthposition Web site.

Kevin Larimer is the associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine.