This press was founded by Brett Rutherford in 1971 in New York City, and has now published 154 titles. The reading list from our achives includes full text and/or excerpts from some books which are still currently available in print editions. Other books which are out of print are presented here to help promulgate the work of these important poets.You may read these texts for your enjoyment, or even save the HTML or Acrobat files and print out poems. But please respect the copyrights of the authors and do not republish, perform or otherwise use these works without our consent.

Some of our poets are available to perform their work, teach workshops, or contribute to anthologies or other Internet sites. Please send us E-mail for information. For our authors who are deceased, we will refer requests to their literary executors or holders of their copyrights as appropriate.

Note: The Poet's Press has moved back and forth among several cities over the years, including New York, Boston, Providence, and Weehawken NJ. All Poet's Press and Grim Reaper Books with any of these locations on the copyright page are probably ours. West Coast poet Diane DiPrima had a Poet's Press in New York before we arrived there in 1969, by which time her operation had left the East Coast. There have also been other small presses called "The Poet's Press" in Ohio and perhaps other locations, but they are not affiliated with us.

The press currently publishes two or three books a year, plus CD-ROM E-book and web publishing. We are now concentrating on short-run hardcover editions for some books, and CD-ROM and e-book publication for others. Although we welcome "guest poets" to submit material for the web site, we are unlikely to take on any new print authors for at least two years.

A large part of our energies are also devoted to preserving and promulgating several Poet's Press authors who are no longer living, most notably Emilie Glen and Barbara Holland. Contributions to the archives for these poets are welcome, in the form of undocumented poems, photographs, and personal reminiscences.

The press is now located in Providence, Rhode Island, which we intend to be our permanent home.


Q. Are Poet's Press books sold in bookstores?

A. Very seldom. The Poet's Press is a private press, which means that it prints only limited editions. Since we share proceeds with our authors generously (usually 50/50), it is not our business to make bookstores and distributors rich. A few of our books are sold through Amazon, but frankly, we lose money every time we sell a book through Amazon. We would rather keep books affordable by selling them directly through the mail.

Q. Does The Poet's Press accept submissions from poets?

A. Not at the present time. We are committed for the next several years. Even when we are caught up with our publishing activities, 99% of the new authors we have taken on are people we discovered performing their works at readings.

Q. Is The Poets Press a vanity publisher (i.e., do you publish books if the authors pay for them)?

A. We are not vanity publishers. In our early days some thirty years ago, we were a print shop and publisher, and we sometimes published less interesting and less worthy books to help us pay for the really, really good ones, but we decided it was better not to add any more to the vast literature of bad poetry. We invest our own money in books we believe in.

Q. Do you guys make any money?

A. Are you kidding? On paper, some books break even, and a few have been successful enough to go into reprints (our print editions used to be 500 copies — nowadays they're 100 at a time). But the founder has never collected a salary and has to pay rent on a room full of unsold books — this is the punishment for publishing great literature that nobody will appreciate until we're all dead.

Q. How is a poet supposed to get published?

A. Things aren't as bad as you think. Do it yourself if no one will do it for you. When we started The Poet's Press, there seemed to be a great need for someone to help lesser-known poets get into print. We are proud to have produced some chapbooks and books that helped some important (to us) poets along in the careers. Today, the situation is totally different. Anybody with access to a computer can design and typeset a book, and there are short-run printers who will produce softcover and hardcover books for authors in runs as small as 100 copies. In other words, you can do for yourself everything that we have been doing for 30 years. In this digital age, every author is a publisher.

Q. How can I learn about how to be a small press publisher?

A. If you're crazy enough to want to do this, offer your help to a small press that's already out there publishing real books. All of us need help with book design, printing, binding, promotion, web site maintenance, etc. If you live in Providence, Rhode Island and would like to "apprentice" at The Poet's Press, let us know.

This page updated June 2004