Small Press Points: Saddle Road Press

From the January/February 2018 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

On a plateau at the center of the island of Hawai’i, Saddle Road runs between two nearly fourteen-thousand-foot volcanoes, one of which is active. “It is a strange, isolated, and terribly beautiful land of black lava and vast light,” says Ruth Thompson, the publisher of Saddle Road Press (, founded in Hilo, Hawai’i, in 2011. A similar description might apply to the style of work that Thompson and her team of editors look to publish at Saddle Road Press. Michael Collins’s poetry collection Appearances (November 2017), for example, is a meditation on nature not as “some place you visit / some museum to nostalgia through,” but rather, Thompson says, as “a place of meeting and confrontation between nature and civilization, art and subject, consciousness and the unconscious, life and death.” Jessamyn Smith’s hybrid prose and poetry collection Gilgamesh/Wilderness (March 2018), a follow-up to her 2016 novel-in-stories The Inugami Mochi, addresses mythology, nature, and grief. Gillian Barlow’s essay collection, Nomad’s Home (February 2018), “interweaves the author’s experience in designing aboriginal housing with the ancient Japanese text ki, aikido, thoughts on the idea of ‘house,’ a long-buried family secret, Australian bars, racism, and the idea of translation,” says Thompson. The press publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, though the editors are specifically seeking collections of lyric essays and hybrid prose and poetry. The editors also plan to launch a chapbook series of work from or about islands in the Pacific. Submissions of full-length manuscripts are open until January 31 via Submittable.