A Discussion with Garth Graeper

Recently, our class was given a chance to speak to an excellent poet and skilled editor. The Skype call was a success, as we were given a chance to ask some questions and learn from Mr. Garth Graeper, who has worked at a small press (Ugly Duckling Presse) in the past and who is currently working at a big-6 press (Penguin Random House).

Some of the topics we talked about that stood out to me the most were:

  • Small press work can literally change/reverse your life!
  • Larger presses require more precise jobs, while small presses usually involve employees in a more “all-around” position
  • Poets/writers can get published to both small and large presses (corporate presses require writers to have an agent(s), while small presses do not)
  • A lot of small presses publish books that would not normally be commercially “sellable”/profitable
  • If you like a few books from a certain small press, there’s a big chance that you will like all the works this press publishes (regardless of poet and genre)
  • In a small press publishing landscape, books are an experience, something more than a book
  • Small presses focus more on quality than on quantity, adopting a “less is more” and “give 100%” mindset (but presses usually end up taking on more projects than they originally planned to because they adore the works)
  • Small presses do not cater to a general audience, while corporate presses run on a “need to satisfy customer” basis
  • Small presses create well-define places and niches for themselves and cater to readers’ wishes for “raw” works that provide them with “the honest truth”

Overall, my favorite quote of Garth’s that he used to describe small presses’ publishing goals was “counter (pop)-cultural.”

To check out Eulalia Books press’s own “counter (pop)-cultural,” awareness-raising works, click here.

Also, make sure to check out Garth’s reading of an excerpt of his poem, “Journal,” below.

Garth reading an excerpt from his poem, transcribed here

(blog post #8)

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