Feature photo by MindOnFire
Sometimes discovering a new author is as easy as clicking on a publisher’s website. While some people believe publishing literature and poetry only occurs in New York City, Chicago has its own bustling collection of small independent literature and poetry presses. Several of these Chicago-based publishers focus on the world of Latino or Spanish language literature.
It honestly does not get more local than this. March Abrazo, run by Carlos Cumpián, publishes Latino and Native American poets located in the Midwest, especially Chicago. Right now, if you visit their website, students, teachers, activist and educators receive a free copy of Earth Elegance written by Cynthia Gallaher with drawings by Lonnie Poco. Who doesn’t love free stuff?! Also, on their website, you can read sample poems from each book they have published. Check out their wonderful sample poem “Pilsen” from Between the Heart and the Land. Many of March Abrazo books are published in bilingual editions.
Ediciones Vocesueltas is a press designed to promote Spanish literature and poetry in Chicago. So far they have published four books. Their fifth book will be published next month. They also publish a free monthly literature magazine named Contratiempo. Last month’s magazine contained short stories and poetry combined with the beautiful work of artist Diana Solís. You can read past issues on their website. All work is published in the original Spanish.
Swan Isle Press
Swan Isle Press is a Chicago-based publisher specializing in translating literature from Spanish to English. Their book selection includes authors from Mexico, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Argentina and Uruguay. Unlike poetry, literature rarely sees its fair share of bilingual editions, but Swan Isle Press tries to bridge that gap.
Not to be overshadowed, Chicago also is brimming with small, noteworthy publishers specializing in international authors, African-American authors and women poets.
Cracked Slab is another small gem in Chicago that specializes in international and experimental poetry. Last week, I picked up Edging by Michelle Noteboom and I can’t stop rereading it.
dancing girl press
dancing girl press is a feminist poetry press run by Kristy Bowen. Right now, they are having a chapbook sale where you can buy 5 books for $20! I highly recommend discovering five new poets right now!
Third World Press
Located in Hyde Park, Third World Press has been publishing talented African-American authors and poets for forty years. Gwendolyn Books is their most famous poet. Other Chicago writers include Sterling Plumpp and Useni Eugene Perkins.
Dalkey Archive Press
Okay, technically Dalkey Archive Press is not in Chicago. It was founded in Chicago, but then moved to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. In any case, Dalkey Archive Press publishes quality literature and poems from all over the world. Some of their authors include Carlos Fuentes, G. Cabrera Infante and Raymond Queneau.