Small Press Points

By the time an indie press turns five years old, most of the people involved in the acquisition, editing, production, and marketing of its books—to say nothing of the authors whose works have been published by the fledgling house—should have a pretty good idea of how viable the whole operation is shaping up to be. Plenty of well-intentioned presses have been born, faltered, and died within that half-decade span. Not Wave Books (, which is riding…well, a wave of good fortune. Since its first season in 2006, the Seattle-based poetry publisher has established a national reputation for its carefully selected and artfully produced books by poets such as Noelle Kocot (Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems, 2006), Eileen Myles (Sorry, Tree, 2007), James Tate (Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee, 2008), Dara Wier (Selected Poems, 2009), and Timothy Donnelly (The Cloud Corporation, 2010). Founded by Charlie Wright, a Seattle-based businessman with a background in the visual arts, Wave operates with a small staff, including editors Joshua Beckman and Matthew Zapruder, and a team of interns and volunteers. So far the press has published thirty titles, which in and of itself is not earth-shattering—until you consider that those books have been garnering prizes such as the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award as well as attention from the New Yorker, the Nation, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. But before anyone starts self-addressing stamped envelopes, there is a footnote to this happy anniversary story: The press isn’t accepting submissions. “Over the past five years, we have tried a variety of different ways of acquiring manuscripts,” Beckman wrote in an e-mail. “We have had calls for general manuscripts, the building of an editorial library through which we learned about working poets through reading poems that had already been published, and a specific call for our political anthology, State of the Union. All of these resulted in publications, and while Wave Books is not presently open for submissions, we expect to continue these periodic openings and suggest people keep an eye on our Web site.” While you’re there, check out Wave’s April releases, including collections by Kocot, Anthony McCann, and Matthew Rohrer.