When writer and educator Roberto Carlos Garcia founded the nonprofit poetry press Get Fresh Books in 2016, he was “trying to be the change” he longed to see in the world. “It’s tough out there for up-and-coming poets, both economically and due to the lack of opportunities for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, older, and differently abled poets,” says Garcia, who oversees Get Fresh from his home in northern New Jersey. “I wanted to provide a cost-free publishing option for marginalized voices.” Get Fresh publishes one to three poetry collections each year, selecting manuscripts from a pool of no-fee submissions and solicited work. Get Fresh staff members work closely with each poet to produce a manuscript and craft a marketing strategy. Get Fresh is currently accepting no-fee submissions and aims to read manuscripts year-round.
In selecting collections Garcia says he and his readers look for verse that viscerally moves them: “We want to be devastated and have our hearts jump out of our chests.” Get Fresh authors are certainly resonating with a wide audience: The Slowdown poetry podcast, now hosted by Major Jackson, has featured readings of “Tea With Ann” from Mary Brancaccio’s Fierce Geometry, published by Get Fresh last December, and Rosebud Ben-Oni’s “Dancing With Kiko on the Moon” from turn around, BRXGHT XYXS, published by Get Fresh in 2019. This year Get Fresh released Christina Olivares’s Future Botanic, which grapples with queer love and the “postcolonial condition”; Dimitri Reyes’s Papi Pichón, which features the eponymous Father Pigeon as an “omnipresent voice” commenting on personal and historical events; and Mercy Tullis-Bukhari’s The Little Deaths, which explores “existential rebirths in everyday human interactions.”