Small Press Points: Spork Press

From the January/February 2019 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

“To feature the work that amazed us,” Richard Siken says when asked why he and Drew Burk started the literary magazine Spork in 2000. “A parallel goal was to show that it was possible to start and run a magazine, and eventually a press, without external or institutional support and to maybe start chipping away at the notions of gates and gatekeepers. If you’re not asking for money or permission, then nobody can tell you no.” For the past nineteen years Siken and Burk have thus forged their own path through the literary landscape and in 2010, with the help of Jake Levine, Andrew Shuta, and Joel Smith, expanded the magazine into Spork Press, which now publishes chapbooks and full-length books of poetry and fiction. The editors, who are “invested in voice-driven work that evokes rather than recounts,” make all the press’s books by hand in Tucson, Arizona. “We’re looking for narrators that inhabit and enact,” the editors say on the website. “We want speakers that can render their investment in the subject matter.” Spork has published books of poetry by Kazim Ali, Sophia Le Fraga, and Ariana Reines, as well as books of fiction by Casey Hannan, Kathleen Rooney, and Colin Winnette. Recent titles include Jennifer Juneau’s novel, ÜberChef USA, and two poetry collections, Rae Gouirand’s Glass Is Glass Water Is Water and David Welch’s Everyone Who Is Dead. Looking ahead, the editors are experimenting with new production techniques—blind stamping, full-bleed wraparound covers, and designs that use overlapping transparent inks, for example—and are considering printing machine-made editions to meet demand. Spork will be open for submissions in the summer.