Woohoo! A whole month devoted to small presses! It seems appropriate to me that this coincides with Women's History Month, since blocking access to books and knowledge has been one of the ways that women have been and still are kept in unequal positions. The adage about keeping a woman "barefoot and pregnant" has a connotation of illiteracy and ignorance, as well as the physical limitations of caring for kids and pregnancy itself. If you're a reader, you know that books of any kind open a whole new world beyond the everyday. For some of us, they also offer a literal escape hatch, hope that there's a way out and information about how to find the exit, or even to make one for ourselves.
It's also fitting these two celebrations coincide since so many women have had huge roles in publishing, in championing books that may never have seen the light of day, in making sure that women's lost voices are recovered and new ones heard.
If you'd like to know more about women's literacy issues, check out Kent State's bibliography.
And a late-breaking event from the Bowery Poetry Club:
National Small Press Month Reading Marathon
Thursday, March 6, 2008
308 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
7 pm to Midnight. $6.
Featuring: Eileen Myles (Wave Books), Noella Kocottomblin (Wave Books), Lynne Tillman (Soft Skull), Jen Benka (Soft Skull), Brenda Coultas (Coffee House Press), Ted Mathys (Coffee House Press), Alex Rose (Akashic Books), Camelia Entekhabifard (Seven Stories Press), Veronica Liu (Seven Stories Press), Martine Bellen (Belladonna Books), Lila Zemborain (Belladonna Books), Dan Machlin (Ugly Duckling Presse), Rachel Sherman (Open City Books), Leni Zumas (Open City Books), Sharon Mesmer (Hanging Loose Press), Marie Carter (Hanging Loose Press), Melissa Buzzeo (Leon Works), Tisa Bryant (Leon Works), Bob Holeman (Bowery Books), Paul Mills Bowery Books), Radhiyah Ayobami (Bowery Books), Rachel Levitsky (Futurepoem Books), Erica Kaufman (Big Game Books), Corrine Fitzpatrick (Sona Books), Dedra Johnson (Ig Publishing), Grant Bailie (Ig Publishing), Camilla Trinchieri (Soho Press), Anne Landsman (Soho Press), Jason
Schneiderman (Four Way Books), David Lawrence (Four Way Books).
Small indepdendent presses are doing what the components of the big conglomerates used to do, before they were swallowed up: they're taking a chance on and nurturing new writers and minority voices in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction—something we should all support. Go to a reading. Better yet, buy a small press book or two.