Sunday, April 26, 2015

Washington Writers’ Publishing House

Washington Writers’ Publishing House was established in 1973, mainly by Grace Cavalieri, as a nonprofit cooperative poetry press, which incidentally helped to integrate what then was de facto a Southern town. The animating idea was that poets chosen for publication would become members of the cooperative and commit to assist in the work of the press including the selection and production of subsequent books. The new books were chosen yearly through a competition open to writers from the Washington area, and later, the Greater Washington-Baltimore area. Initially the poets themselves underwrote the costs; later grants from foundations and other sources, such as recently the Jean Feldman award, supplement income from book sales to cover expenses.

Among the earliest publications were chapbooks by Grace Cavalieri, Robert Sargent, and Deirdre Baldwin, and soon Terence Winch, Ethelbert Miller, May Miller (no relation), Shirley Cochrane and others, most of whom have gone on to further awards and books. Some of the winners, whose manuscripts are chosen anonymously, turn out to have good publishing credentials already, others are neophytes glad for the handholding as they are guided through the process of becoming first-time authors. [See full list of winning poet below.]

As of 2014, the press had published over 50 volumes of poetry and, since 2000, also some dozen fiction titles (and several of the fictioneers also have poetry credentials). For many years, the press published two or three full-length poetry collections annually, and in early years could only afford simple one-color covers. In 2000 the press also began publishing fiction. WWPH currently publishes one poetry title and one fiction title each year, all with striking covers. Seven of the fiction titles in print are now also e-books, and in the future, some poets may opt for the electronic route.

WWPH presidents have shouldered full loads, publishing subsequent generations of new poets and since 1999, fiction writers. While posting notices about submission deadlines, reading manuscripts (with the help of our fellows), choosing, editing, tweaking, working with super formatter Barbara Shaw of ShawType, obtaining printers’ quotes and copyrights, helping to set up readings, and promoting, with the help of the new winner, in the process we all learn something about publishing. And thus we can turn around and help the next winners.

Among winners who eventually served as president of WWPH are: Robert Sargent, Shirley Cochrane, Eric Nelson, Elisavietta Ritchie Jean Nordhaus, Hastings Wyman, Jr., Bernard Jankowski, Laura Brylawsky-Miller, Ann Brewer Knox, Martin Galvin, Moira Egan, Brandel France de Bravo and Patric Pepper.  Although theoretically winners need not participate in the working of the press for more than three years, Robert Sargent served as treasurer for many more, as currently has Elizabeth Bruce, and Elisavietta Ritchie went on from three years as president for poetry a decade later to serve as president for the fiction division for a further decade. A very few winners vanished soon after WWPH published their books.

Christopher Ankney, Hearsay
Barri ArmitageDouble Helix
Ned BalboGalileo’s Banquet
Deirdra Baldwin, Gathering Time
David Bristol, Paradise & Cash
Laura Brylawski-MillerThe Snow on Lake Como
Nancy Naomi CarlsonKings Highway
Ramola D.Invisible Season
Grace CavalieriWhy I Cannot Take A Lover
Maxine Clair, Coping with Gravity
Patrick L. Clary, Notes For A Loveletter
Katharine Edgar Coby, Thrift
Shirley Cochrane, Burnsite
Ann Darr, Do You Take This Woman … and
Hungry As We Are, An Anthology of Washington Area Poets (Editor)
Jehanne Dubrow, From the Fever-World
Moira EganCleave
Paul Estaver, Salisbury Beach-1954
Harrison Fisher, The Gravity
Brandel France de Bravo, Provenance
Nan Fry, Relearning the Dark
Martin GalvinWild Card
Patricia Garfinkel, From the Red Eye of Jupiter
Piotr GwiazdaGagarin Street
Sid GoldWorking Vocabulary
Beate Goldman, Letters to a Stranger
Dan GutsteinBloodcoal & Honey
Paul R. Haenel, Farewell, Goodbye, Wave Goodbye 
Greg Hannan, Instincts for the Jugular
Catherine Harnett ShawEvidence, Still Life
Judith Harris, Poppies
Kathleen HellenUmberto’s Night
Gray Jacobik, Sandpainting
Robert HerschbachLoose Weather
Bernard JankowskiThe Bullfrog Does Not Imagine New Towns
Dan JohnsonCome Looking
Beth Joselow, Gypsies
Holly Karapetkova, Words We Might One Day Say
Ann Knox, Stonecrop
Kwelismith, Browngirl in the Ring (audiotape)
Mary Ann Larkin, The Coil of the Skin
Barbara F. LefcowitzThe Queen of Lost Baggage
Bruce MacKinnonMystery Schools
Elaine Magarrell, On Hogback Mountain
David McAleaveyHolding Obsidian
John McNally, Northern Lights
E. Ethelbert MillerMigrant Worker
May Miller, Halfway to the Sun
Elisabeth MurawskiMoon and Mercury
Sharon NegriThe Other Side of Now
Eric Nelson, The Light Bringers
Jean NordhausA Bracelet of Lies
Catherine O’Neill, The Daffodil Farmer
Patric Pepper, Temporary Apprehensions
Elisavietta Ritchie,  Raking the Snow
Kim Roberts, The Wishbone Galaxy
Ron RodriguezThe Captains That Dogs Aren’t
Carly Sachsthe steam sequence
Robert Sargent, Now Is Always The Miraculous Time
Jane SatterfieldShepherdess with an Automatic
Jane SchapiroTapping This Stone
Anne Sheldon, Hero-Surfing
Myra Sklarew, Altamira
Katherine SmithArgument by Design
Dean SmithAmerican Boy
Octave Stevenson, The Poet Upstairs, An Anthology Of Washington Area Poets (Editor)
Joseph C. Thackery, The Dark Above Mad River
Naomi ThiersOnly The Raw Hands Are Heaven
Maria UptonChildren of Apartness
Margaret WeaverEscaping Words
Terence Winch, Luncheonette Jealousy
Hastings Wyman, Jr., Certain Patterns