Chicago Review is seeking proposals for an upcoming special feature on small press poetry in the United States—its past, present, and probable future, as well as the writers, editors, communities, and institutions that make it run.
We’re looking for brief pitches (200–300 words) that outline a compelling, focused engagement with some aspect of this topic. Interested writers should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “PITCH: SMALL PRESS POETRY” and the contents of the pitch in the body of the email.
The deadline for pitches is January 8, 2023. Drafts for accepted pitches will be due in late February. Learn more here.
Below are a handful of possible topics, but writers are welcome to propose other ideas.
- City Reports. A well-researched account of the small press poetry scene in a specific city (or region). We’re interested in documenting poetry and publishing activities outside major metropolitan areas, and in investigating notable yet under-recognized literary communities. How does poetry in this particular scene look or achieve something different than poetry published elsewhere?
- Small Press Biographies. A nuanced, contextually minded account of the life of one or several small presses. How has the press’s output impacted the poetry communities around it? What is or was its role in a particular literary “ecosystem?”
- The Small Press and the Institution. What is there to say about the relationship between small press poetics and institutions (e.g., universities, private and government benefactors, etc.)? How have MFA programs, trends in arts funding, and other institutional and economic factors affected small press poetry in the US? What happens when small presses themselves become institutions?
- The Out-of-Print. Describe and analyze an important out-of-print publication published by a small press. Combining close reading with a consideration of context, tell the story of this “lost” title, elaborating on its status, significance, and stakes for particular literary or cultural communities.
- The Not-to-Print. How have digital platforms worked with or against small press poetry? Essays might think about the role of social media in small press publishing, or consider a journal or press that publishes exclusively online (its aesthetics, distribution, networks of relation, etc.).
- Small Press Labor. Comment on the unique conditions of labor in the world of small press publishing. This could take the form of an interview with or an essay by employees and publishers of small press poetry, or an overview of the labor landscape of small press poetry publishing.