Publishers and Their Purposes

After doing the assigned Jacket2 readings, I can say that I’ve definitely learned a lot about the world of publishing and how all-encompassing it is for those who are lucky enough to be a part of it. The how of these publishers and why they decided to become such is pretty oversimplified in the interviews, they pretty much all mention how they spontaneously decided to join this train and put their own spin on it. The whys seem to vary slightly but overall it’s to create some sort of niche that wasn’t around before, whether that’s creating “conversations between readers, writers, and artists” (Carmody), “give space for the dark and excessive, the gothic and grotesque” (Goransson) or to find larger audiences for poetry “through interdisciplinary works that bridge” (Adams) various mediums together.

The concept of the community is also a large part of the interviews. They mostly enjoy being a part of it and are thankful for the camaraderie that comes with it. It’s not just a social thing, though, community “has both an economic value and a social value” (Carmody). I think what Carmody means by this is that they rely on each other both socially and economically. Socially, obviously because they collaborate and hold each other up, but also economically because the critique means that they earn more money. Adams also strongly values the community of publishers as a “community of poets devoted to promoting poety and each other (as much, if not more, than his or her own work)” (Adams). Goransson, however, doesn’t really want to be a part of the community because he sees the U.S. presses as only wanting “oblivion and status quo” (Goransson) and not anything that he actually wants to publish. Overall, it’s a positive experience to be involved with others who do the same work so that one can receive positive feedback while still thriving in their own niche.

All of these authors see small press as sort of the place for those poets that don’t really fit anywhere else. They love weird things and they see the need for a space in which they can be presented as themselves and not the carbon copy of what the bigger presses want to see. Johannes Goransson summed it up best when he said “we’re opposed to evolution. We’re strictly an impasse press. Like the twin sisters who burn down the village because they love the smell of gasoline” (Goransson).

Carmody, Teresa 2013 ©

Works Cited:

Carter, Laura. “On Small Press Publishing.” Jacket2, 25 Sept. 2013,

Carter, Laura. “An Interview with Action Books.” Jacket2, 22 Oct. 2015,

Carter, Laura. “An Interview with Black Ocean.” Jacket2, 8 Oct. 2015,

1 thought on “Publishers and Their Purposes”

  1. There is definitely something empowering about having your own words on the page for sure. One downfall is that you are solely responsible for any mistakes, however, so it is extremely important to put both foot forward if going down the route of small-press or even independent publishing.


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