Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Samantha Jones, Karen Enns, Luke Hathaway/Daniel Cabena, Endi Hartigan + Katie Ebbitt : virtual reading series #31

a series of video recordings of contemporary poets reading from their work, originally prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent cancellations, shut-downs and isolations; a reading series you can enjoy in the safety of your own protected space,

Samantha Jones : “Three Monuments,” published in G U E S T 22 (March 2022), edited by Kyle Flemmer, published by above/ground press.

Samantha Jones (she/her) lives and writes in Moh’kins’tsis (Calgary, Alberta) on the traditional territory of the Treaty 7 peoples, and home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. Sam is a magazine and journal enthusiast with writing in THIS, Room, Grain, CV2, Watch Your Head, GeoHumanities, Arctic, and elsewhere. Her visual poetry chapbook, Site Orientation, was published by the Blasted Tree in the spring of 2022. Sam has a background in geology and is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary where she studies carbon cycling in the Canadian Arctic. She comes from a mixed background; she is white settler and Black Canadian. Sam enjoys developing content, including workshops, that highlight underrepresented voices and writers—she is the founder and facilitator of the Diverse Voices Roundtable for BIPOC Writers at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society in Calgary. When she isn’t up to her eyeballs in science or poetry, you can find her making epic constructions with her kiddo or browsing the book and stationary shops of Calgary.

Karen Enns : “Place of the Steelhead,” “Middens, Gordon Head,” “Night Sounds” and “Almost”

Karen Enns is the author of three previous books of poetry: Cloud Physics, winner of the Raymond Souster Award, Ordinary Hours, and That Other Beauty. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Luke Hathaway and Daniel Cabena : As the hart…

Daniel Cabena
(co-creator, with Luke Hathaway, of the audio book for The Affirmations) is a concert singer, recitalist, chamber musician, and singing actor; he is also a curator of texts and music. With Luke he shares the artistic direction of ANIMA, a metamorphosing ensemble — a place where old texts and melodies are animated by spirit and voice. To this work Daniel brings a background in early music and liturgical music scholarship and a commitment to exploring how music functions in different performance contexts and traditions. Daniel’s singing and teaching are also informed by the Alexander Technique, in which movement education field he is a teacher-trainee. He teaches singing and music at Wilfrid Laurier University and at Laurier's Beckett School of Music in Waterloo.

Luke Hathaway is a trans poet, librettist, and theatre maker who lives in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, where he teaches English literature and creative writing at Saint Mary’s University. His mythopoeic word-worlds have given rise to new choral works by Colin Labadie, James Rolfe, and Zachary Wadsworth, and to the folk opera the sign of jonas, a collaboration with Benton Roark. He is the author of four collections of poetry, one of which — Years, Months, and Days — was named a Best Book of the Year in the New York Times. His most recent collection, The Affirmations (‘a trans-mystical work of love and change’), is published by Biblioasis.

Endi Bogue Hartigan : crawdads being most precise ; second entries: |clippablefan|; hour entry: all galaxies are not clocks ; you be the woodcutter ; hour entry: All bells must hold all clocks

Endi Bogue Hartigan’s latest book oh orchid o’clock (Omnidawn Publishing, 2023) explores clock measure, temporal presence in today’s realities, and impacts of our obsessions with time and instrumentation. She is author of the seaweed sd treble clef (Oxyeye Press, 2021), a chapbook of poems and photographs; the poetry book Pool [5 choruses] (Omnidawn, 2014) which was selected for the Omnidawn Open Prize; a collaborative chapbook out of the flowering ribs (Linda Hutchins and EBH, 2012); and One Sun Storm (Center for Literary Publishing, 2018), which won the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Her work has also appeared in numerous journals and in collaborative projects with artists and writers in the Pacific Northwest. More on her work is at endiboguehartigan.com.

Katie Ebbitt : from AIR SIGN

Katie Ebbitt is a poet/psycho-behavioralist living in NYC. She is the author of the chapbooks ANOTHER LIFE (Counterpath, 2016), Para Ana (Inpatient, 2019), Air Sign (Creative Writing Department, 2024) and HYSTERICAL PREGNANCY (above/ground press, 2024). Fecund, her first full-length book, will be released by Keith LLC.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Michael Trussler : New Work by Medrie Purdham





Medrie Purdham’s debut poetry collection, Little Housewolf (Véhicule Press, 2021), won the City of Regina Award for the 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards, and was also short-listed for the Gerald Lampert Award. This book of so-called “domestic miniatures” was justifiably acclaimed for its virtuosity and unpredictable jubilance. Intensely imagined in terms of subject matter and verbal dexterity, the poems in Little Housewolf contain some of the finest lyric poetry being written today. Reading them, one can almost overhear the individual words murmuring gratitude at suddenly finding themselves appearing on the page together. An extraordinarily inventive poet, Purdham’s writing has been published in Best Canadian Poetry several times, and she’s currently working on another collection. If this new work simply extended her success in Little Housewolf, it would find many enthusiasts—her signature style of exquisite exuberance is present in the poems she’s been writing lately—but she’s doing some things differently now. She’s developed the confidence not only to write longer poems (“Cursive,” a tribute to a grandmother who lived with Alzheimer’s, is almost nine pages long), but also to engage in more formal experimentation. Most important to the new writing, Purdham contracted COVID in late 2020 and is now contending with Long COVID. Her earlier writing had an enviably broad intellectual and emotional range; her new poems maintain this steady curiosity in the world, but there’s more grief. The anguish is punishing. Worried that her wounded brain wouldn’t be capable of writing poetry, she began studying the Rubik’s Cube, improving her skill at solving the puzzle (her personal best is two and a half minutes), and came upon a provisional title for the new collection: The Solve, a word that embodies the challenges of the Rubik’s Cube and the difficulty involved in creating new work. There is, she writes, “the purity of salvage.” I met with her in February in Regina to talk about the collection on which she’s been working.

As a longtime admirer of her poetry, I’m relieved and thrilled that she’s been entirely successful at writing more poems. Her sheer joy in words persists in the new work. From “Megafauna”:

When my father mentions

the giraffe he autopsied in that rosette year,

I’m ruminant. Did the bloodfaulted giraffe

die, was the question, of a cavorting malice?

Was it full of arsenic. It fell to my father to know.

Who dives inside us? Who breaches the boundary?

      (emphasis in original)

It’s “a mid-life book,” Purdham told me, when I commented on the collection’s gravitas, its poignant explorations of grief alongside its elastic experiments in structure. There is honest despair, which is hard to maintain and harder to get right on the page. The Rubik’s cube, she learns, “like all platonic solids [has] a knack for elegy.” But the moments of elegy in these poems are grappling with the possibility that the talent responsible for the first book is irretrievably lost to neurological damage. COVID has turned the speaker’s mind in “Cursive” to “a single rubber glove”:

little nubblesquid,

rippling into itself, a blabber of a handshake. Frankly,


this is not how I wanted to touch things.

Its suctionverse is stealing all the nomenclature!


. . . Make it stop.

The poems don’t stop, their unstinting integrity refuses to turn away from their fear of incapacity. And fortunately, Purdham’s gift for encouraging words to rejoice in being themselves hasn’t abandoned her. The poem “What the Fog Wasn’t” is an astonishing repudiation of so-called COVID brain fog. Playfully excoriating the imprecision of the term, the poem identifies the way that all damage, whether neurological or existential, manifests a shape particular to each person who experiences these confusions and griefs. The poem should be circulated among health care workers certainly, but all of us need to take in the “flare / where thought was,” the “exoskeletons / [the fog has left] on the windowsill.” I’ve no doubt that Purdham will complete this book and it will expand the readership her debut collection so deservedly gathered. The poems in Little Housewolf were composed pre-COVID. As more and more people become battered by the pandemic and its ongoing trauma, these new poems go far to make Purdham’s work important in a new way. They’ve become necessary.   





Michael Trussler [photo credit: Amy Snider] writes primarily poetry and creative non-fiction. His work has been anthologized both domestically and internationally. He has received Saskatchewan Book Awards for poetry, non-fiction and short stories. His memoir concerning mental illness, The Sunday Book, was published by Palimpsest Press in 2022. Two poetry collections have recently appeared: Rare Sighting of a Guillotine on the Savannah (Mansfield Press, 2021) and The History Forest (University of Regina Press, 2022). Radiant Press and Icehouse Press will be publishing the poetry collections Realia and 10:10 respectively in 2024. All of his work engages with the beauty and violence of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, though his most recent writing specifically explores what it means to be alive at the beginning of the Anthropocene.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Amy Glynn : Process Note #36 : Romance Language

The 'process notes' pieces were originally solicited by Maw Shein Win as addendum to her teaching particular poems and poetry collections for various workshops and classes. This process note and poems by Amy Glynn are part of her curriculum for Maker, Mentor, Muse and her poetry classes at the University of San Francisco. Thanks for reading.



In 2012, I wasn’t “processing” much but trauma (unless you count copious amounts of coffee). I was very preoccupied with loss and death—largely my own, but also the deaths of friends, family members, jobs, lovers, marriage, phases of life. I had recently published my first book. I had some ideas swirling for a second one but it felt monumentally out of reach. Shortly before I left for a fellowship at the James Merrill House, I had a vivid dream. In it, Merrill (looking as he had in the early 90s, the first and only time I ever met him) stood before a wall of books in a sun-drenched room. He was speaking intently to me, but soundlessly. He kept gesturing at the bookshelves; there was (clearly) something there that he wanted me to see. For days afterward the image replayed like the cyclical crackles of a record player stylus at the end of a groove. Looking back, I’d probably seen photos of the apartment when I’d applied for the fellowship, but when I arrived, I was stunned to find I’d accurately dreamed Merrill’s upstairs solarium.

Merrill was (and is) one of my most powerful influences, a writer whose formal acrobatics and massive, symphonic vocabulary took my breath away. A month in the mise en scene for The Changing Light at Sandover was a serious pilgrimage for me.

But I was really blocked. I’d even resorted to the derpy but inevitable: soliciting Merrill’s legendary Ouija board for advice. It was… uncooperative, which hardly seemed fair. Yeats and Auden had been having such a laid-back afterlife they had time for years of cosmos-splaining colloquy with Jimmy. After all the years I’d spent with his poems, why was Merrill pulling a “new phone who dis?” cold-shoulder worthy of my worst ex?

I have “formalist” leanings, though I dislike the term. I have a theory that formalists are people with extremely chaotic minds who turn to formal containers in a bid to impose some kind of order on the inner wilderness. My poetry collections never come together meaningfully without an organizing principle, “high concept” or other framing device. I’ve given up fighting it. I had the book’s title, several of the poems and a sense of its key themes—loss and disintegration, Romanticism and “authority,” permanence and impermanence, structure itself and its inevitable collapse—but I was foundering.

2012 was an epic leaf year in Connecticut. As a Bay Area native there are few things I find more exotically dazzling than a New England broadleaf forest in October. I walked to the Stonington cemetery every day. On this one I was sitting among the grave markers, feeling very alone and more than a little hung over thanks to a post-reading dinner party where I’d had too much champagne, when the wind kicked up and it started raining bronze and scarlet and yellow and purple leaves—and I left my body.  

There’s a phenomenon called the Casimir effect, where if you place two mirrors opposite one another and stand between them, you can see the reflection of your reflection and the reflection of your reflection’s reflection in a receding cascade of identical images. Suddenly I saw the entire universe like that… it was as if the past and the future had become interchangeable; everything became part of a vast cosmic mandala, images repeating, elaborating, telescoping.  This went on for over an hour, during which, if you happened to be walking past the cemetery, you would have seen a crazy or very high-seeming person leaping off headstones, singing at the top of her lungs, and twirling like a child in a party dress trying to catch leaves. It would take me six more years to actually complete the book, but everything I needed came through in that hour. The Ouija board might’ve been mum…. But the trees and headstones were giving up the goods bigtime.

A favorite fragment of Sandover has Merrill moaning about his Ouija-mediated assignment to write “poems of science,” despite being a science-nebbish who couldn’t be expected to work with words like “mitochondria.”  Then…

Whereas through Wave, Ring, Bond, through Spectral Lines
And Resonances, blows a breath of life….

The quote itself had featured prominently in a craft lecture I’d delivered on a sanity-thrashing trip to Rome the previous summer. I considered the word-play value of those words, as I had in that lecture: Ring, as in bell, as in wedding, as in telephone, as in benzene; Bond, as in familial, chemical, financial, adhesive, legal; as in shackles, paper, brick patterning. It was all there. In Sandover, Merrill drew on Yeats’s A Vision, finally leaning into an influence he’d tried to obscure in earlier work. I’d been trying to de-Merrillize my poems since I was sixteen—now, though, I took those “monosyllabic bezoars already found in the gullet of a three-year-old” for section titles: Wave, Ring, Bond, Spectral lines, Resonances, Breath of Life, Eclogue. Tiles of the mosaic began to fall into place. I started with Rome itself. Hadrian’s Villa:

Even the dust is dazzling: glinting grit,
biotite mica’s black fire in the dirt,

glass pulverized underfoot. The grandiose
wreckage goes on forever. Everything

recrystallizes over time; chert turns
to flint, shale turns to slate, acanthus leaves

blanch, petrify;

, the Pantheon:

The info enters the eyeball in reverse,
and the mind upends it. Radial symmetry
has always ruled the mandala: let there be
the visible image of the universe,

imposed on the sky like a film on a cinema screen.
Adult themes: tensile strength and the sublime
eloquence of omission.

The pigeons in the Campo dei’ Fiori:

We survive

by cobbling things together; we’re about
acceptance. Which is not the same as peace.
It’s letting things be piecemeal, rather; thriving
on it, omnivorous, adaptive to the nth.

It’s taking what the world gives with reflexive
good grace, humbly reflective on its each
small simple gratification: the left over,
cast off, accretive tesserae, the cracks

between the stones where anything can lodge.
We dodge contempt. We are the square’s familiars.
We sample what’s on offer, and we never
complain it’s not enough.

…the Villa Borghese, the Janiculum, Baroque churches, public fountains. Some of the poems overtly play with poems of Merrill’s, especially utilizing his go-to, Casimir-effect ABBA stanzas:



Your point's made, I'm an infidel.
But who needs friends
To remind him that nothing either lasts or ends?
Garrulous as you, dear, Time will tell.

                       –James Merrill, “Mandala”


Infidel. That’s a funny word for it.
Perhaps instead
call this saccade, the eye getting ahead
of a distance shift or a change in light. We ought

to say enlightened or lucid or something better than lit
on just-OK
bourbon. Why infidel?

Others “converse” with poems by Mary Jo Salter (my college mentor and definitely my other poetry-parent), Richard Kenney, Keith Waldrop, Homer, or Romantic masters like Coleridge and (especially) Keats, who graciously provided two riffs on his odes, including this one where I aped not only the structure of “To Autumn” but (because I am that kind of geek) its exact rhyme phonemes:

Cue up the twist: things yellow and senesce
And curl in on themselves and come undone.
Botrytis-botched, yeast-bloomed, decadent mess
Of must and pomace, arrows of geese nocked one
After another and loosed southward. Freeze,
Bud: keep those carpals in plain sight. No more:
Call off the withdrawal of chloroplastic cells
That spurs the stupid deciduous woodland’s war
Of attrition. Detachment’s well and good but please,
Stop the parade now and grant us all some peace
From chatterbox blackbird flocks and dumb autumn smells.

What I struggled with longest was the “spectral lines” section, which I intended to be a series of poems but was reduced to one in the end: a sestina, that most miserable of formalist torture devices and the only one that even came close—though I doubt anything truly ever will come close—to commemorating that day in the Stonington Cemetery. 

October 2012

Now every cell wall paints itself with flame:
Water Street’s ginkgos go to sulfur; shades
of burnt orange claim the beeches, the late light
acting as an accelerant. The Sound
is offering its ghost-notes up as well;
gongs, restive boats. Everything else is leaves.

Chlorophyll gets costly, so the leaves
discard it, baring arteries of flame
and bronze. I’d like to tell you all is well
here, that the bony twigs that tap those shades
message me all night long, meting out sound
like small-hours text pings, substantively light

though dazzlingly composed. But you are light
years from me now, a ghost who rustles leaves
and rattles glassware. Light pools on the Sound,
clouds edged in a mystic fire like the flame
in a sunstone. We must not forget our shades:
it’s blinding out. Let’s get blind—leaving well

enough alone is not what we do well:
uncork the spirits. Nothing’s brought to light,
but this is what we have instead of shades
who bring field notes from Asphodel on leaves
torn from a chestnut bursting into flame
in a cemetery where the only sound

is a spiky hail of conkers. Let them sound
off as they will, hallow the ground with well-
worn sermons on detachment. Here, old flame,
watch this limb, on which gregarious sparrows light
en masse, so thick they almost look like leaves—
they leave as if blown by gusts, till nothing shades

this place or hides us from each other. Shades
will always follow us: however sound
our plans, our places, you’re what never leaves
me, and vice versa. Phototropins well
and wane in concert with the slanting light,
bartering greenness for a heart of flame

year after year. Rake up the leaves. Then light
the pile, and sound what depths you can from flame
rising. I’m doing shades of that as well.




Amy Glynn is an award-winning poet and essayist whose work appears widely in journals and anthologies including The Best American Poetry (2010, 2012, 2024). Her first book, A Modern Herbal, was published by Measure Press in 2013. Her second, Romance Language, won the 2022 Able Muse Book Award. Amy has received the SPUR Award of the Academy of Western Writers, The Troubadour Prize, Poetry Northwest's Carolyn Kizer Award and the Literal Latte Essay Award among other honors, and has received two James Merrill House fellowships. She served as the inaugural Poet Laureate for the cities of Lafayette and Orinda, and lives and works in the East Bay.

Maw Shein Win's most recent poetry collection is Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn) which was nominated for the Northern California Book Award in Poetry, longlisted for the PEN America Open Book Award, and shortlisted for CALIBA's Golden Poppy Award for Poetry. She is the inaugural poet laureate of El Cerrito, CA. Win's previous books include full-length poetry collection Invisible Gifts and two chapbooks, Ruins of a glittering palace and Score and Bone. Win often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers and her Process Note Series features poets on their process. She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of San Francisco. Along with Dawn Angelicca Barcelona and Mary Volmer, she is a co-founder of Maker, Mentor, Muse, a new literary community. Win’s full-length collection Percussing the Thinking Jar (Omnidawn) is forthcoming in Fall 2024. mawsheinwin.com



Saturday, April 6, 2024

Aidan Ryan : on Foundlings Press





Small presses and little magazines are tools of orientation. The idea for Foundlings—what started as a zine of friends’ poetry and found poetrycame to Max Crinnin and me when we were reorienting to each other, to Buffalo, New York, and to our place in a widening world. Max was finishing up at the University at Buffalo and applying to medical schools. I had just returned from a Master’s at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, a year when we had corresponded infrequently, and then only by mail. We had histories but not roots; we knew that circumstances could take us anywhere. We had been English majors, and had connected over the books we loved, but we were leaving behind our years of formal study; we wanted some structure, more than a book club, to keep reading, to keep our conversation going. One night in the UB dorms Max brought out a shoebox of things from his dad’s days as a PhD student at SUNY Binghamton. There, in the mid-80s, the poet Gerry Crinnin and his friendsstudying with Milton Kessler, Galway Kinnell, and John Gardnerstarted a little magazine called Slow Mountain. Like some of the other great SUNY-affiliated little magazines of the past, Slow Mountain published a mix of the editors’ classmates, teachers, and established poets, sometimes even internationally vaunted poets, along with the Xeroxed flotsam of the timesclassified ads and sections of the local phone book. We thought we could do something similar and enlisted our friends Steve Coffed and Darren Canham to bring Foundlings[1] to life. Immediately, we felt a stronger connection to our city, to the writers living and working there, to a murky tradition of “independent publishing,” and to each other. We launched the black-and-white, staple-backed zine at a Buffalo watering hole on May 1, 2016.

I honestly can’t remember why we decided to hold a chapbook contest the following year, but it had something to do with pairing one poet and one artist, a notion that grew naturally from our juxtaposition of submissions to the zine with found text and images. We lucked into a manuscript from the Rochester-based poet Lytton Smith, whom we paired with the artist Stephen Fitzmaurice; My Radar Data Knows Its Thing was our first book by a single author, and the Foundlings zine became Foundlings Press. Later that year we embarked on bigger-than-we-bargained-for project to commemorate the late poet Frank Stanford with a special edition of the zine focused on responses to his work. By 2018 it was clear this would be an anthology, not a special issue; and soon we decided to give in to the inevitable, killing the zine to focus solely on books, chapbooks, and broadsides.

Co-editing Constant Stranger remains one of the great privileges of my life. It put us in touch with other generous stewards of Stanford’s legacy, like Gerry’s teacher Forrest Gander, the inimitable Bill Willett, Irv Broughton, and Ginny Crouch Stanford. It introduced us to the translator Patricio Ferrari (instilling in us a love of bilingual editions) and scholars like AP Walton and Murray Shuggars, and connected us with poets we would publish in the years that followed, like Canese Jarboe, Ata Moharreri, and Zack Grabosky, some of whom I count as dear friends. The response to the book connected us with even more wonderful writers and friends like Marty Cain, Leo Lensing, and the late Matt Henriksen and Shannon Jonas.

We were orienting ourselves, or getting oriented. We were suddenly reading so much new work we wouldn’t otherwise have discovered, the work we wanted to stay up late talking about; we were meeting new people who encouraged and inspired us; and every writer we met wanted to introduce us to three or four more writers. Publishing still works that way; at least it does for us. That’s why we’re still doing it.

The business side is less exciting, probably because we’re not “business people,” and we have so much less time now than we did in our early 20s. We’ve scattered a bit geographically. Kids and pets and so on. So I have a deep, deep respect for the presses that run smoothly. We’re often behind schedule. We ended our brief experiment with a distributor in 2021 and haven’t found a replacement since.[2] For a while, the money would run out every nine months or so, and we’d have to pitch in to pay for a print runhappily I think we’ve learned how to break even. My hope is that we will find a suitable distribution partner in 2024 and get our authors back into community bookstores.

Being realistic and upfront about what we can offer authors has always been important to us. We used to pay royalties quarterly, but these were sometimes comically small checks (and again, we’ve never loved accounting). Now we offer honoraria for chapbooks and the like and advance full-length authors all their royalties on a print run. Simpler accounting for us and more immediate benefit to the author. We also developed formats to suit authors who might want to work with Foundlings in some capacity, but publish their full-lengths on larger presses. The most notable example is the Strays series, which welcomes “stray” poetry—experiments, drafts, scraps cut from longer manuscripts—and publishes three short editions by three authors in a “pack.” We’ve found this form is equally inviting to poets who’ve never published a full-length as it is to poets otherwise dedicated to places like Tin House, Graywolf, or Wave.

We still see publishing primarily as a way to stay connected with each other and with the most interesting writing happening today. I don’t mean networking (we’ve never been to AWP). I mean that small press publishing gives us a means and a reason to keep reading, keep thinking and talking about what we’ve read, and keep our hearts and minds open to the next work that will excite us. We also keep connecting with other publishers—people like Chet Weise, Lucy K. Shaw, Marty Cain and Kina Viola, and so many more—who inspire us and frequently show us how we could do things better or smarter. On a personal level, publishing has also given me a vehicle to connect creatively with my sister, the visual artist Talia Ryan, who is now Foundlings’ broadside artist in residence, and designs all of the broadsides for our Ralph Angel Poetry Prize.

I’m very excited about our most recent announcement, the short collection At His Desk In The Past by the late Franz Wright. We worked with Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright for a few years on this one. It collects fragments that Wright developed and recorded on a handheld audio device in 2011 and 2012. Along with the print publication we will be putting out an audiobookour first evercomprising these original fragments. It’s Wright’s first publication in the U.S. since his death in 2015, and I hope it will draw attention to his posthumous full-length, due out from Knopf at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Foundlings Press today is far from the dorm room idea we cooked up eight years ago, but I think there are some important through-lines. We are still interested in found text, found images, and “the magic of the happenstance” (something the poet Carl Dennis said to us about our zine when politely declining to send us a contribution). We have developed an accidental but deeply felt commitment to the legacy of certain writers who passed, for whatever reason, before their work was done. And though we don’t publish a zine, we still love to put writers and artists in conversation, often in unexpected places.

I can’t say more about where we’re going because I don’t know. I do know we have so many friends we can count on to help us get there. Shouts out and a million thank yous to all of you.


[1] We took the name from a hardcover Jesuit commentary on Roman Catholic canon law that I had taken from my late grandfather’s office. (I still collect specialized encyclopedias and reference books like this.) A section on soteriology for children of unknown parentage reads: FOUNDLINGS are presumed to be legitimate until the contrary can be proved. It immediately struck us as a fitting ethos for an independent publisher.

[2] My hobbyhorse: We all need to take a hard stand against the practice of over-ordering, returning, marking down, and pupling unsold books. It’s a bizarre arrangement unique to the publishing industry, a short-term solution to the slumping book sales during the Great Depression that the Big booksellers got to stick. Yes, I know the Big part of the publishing “industry” depends on artificially inflated sales for their bestseller lists, and I know that small/independent booksellers would have to adjust their operating model if they couldn’t return unsold books—but that would be better for everyone in the long run. Most small presses can’t afford returns, the practice creates barriers to entry against the truly DIY operations, and the carbon footprint of the whole mess is obscene.







Aidan Ryan’s [photo credit: Mark Dellas] writing has appeared in Public Books, The Millions, The White Review, Colorado Review, and the anthologies Conversations with George Saunders, Silo City Reading Series, and Best New Poets 2019. He is a senior editor at Traffic East and literary curator at Artpark, an arts and performance venue in Lewiston, NY. As publisher of Foundlings Press, he curates a range of poetry and nonfiction books and chapbooks and co-edited the anthology Constant Stranger: After Frank Stanford. He is the author of the visual poetry collection Organizaing Isolation: Half-Lives of Love at Long Distance (Linoleum Press, 2017), a collaboration with everyone who ever wrote him a letter. He lives in Buffalo, New York. More at www.aidanryan.com

Photo credit [above]: Foundlings Press

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