Seminar in Creative Writing (Small Press Publishing)

Prof. Susan M. Schultz

English 713

Spring, 2021

 

 

Seminar in Creative Writing (Small Press Publishing)

Small presses have been at the vanguard of many literary movements, including Modernism, radical poetries of the 1960s, Black Arts, Asian and Pacific writing. Among the media used by small presses are the broadside; the chapbook (or a small sewn or stapled brochure); the mimeograph; the xerox machine; the book; the zine; and the internet. In this course, students will engage in several activities at once: 1) they will read about the history of small press publishing; 2) they will collect materials from a small press of their choice and do an oral report on the press, extant or not, based also on an interview with the editor/publisher; 3) they will start their own small presses, either individually or in small huis; and 4) they will write poems/stories inspired by Jack Spicer’s “Magazine Verse” and Catherine Wagner’s homage to Spicer in Miss America. There will be a busy class blog on which students will write about their findings and interview publishers, editors, writers, and designers. There will be frequent class visits by experts in the field.

ASSIGNMENTS:

–An oral presentation on a small press of the student’s choice.

–A written interview with a small press publisher/editor.

–A final project that involves starting a small press and publishing its first journal issue or book. Students will not publish themselves,

SLOs, or goals of the course:

–To learn about the history of small presses in the last century and some;

–To consider theoretical and practical aspects of running a small press;

–To create a mission statement for a small press;

–To think about problems in small press publishing, including if not limited to funding, accepting and rejecting work, distribution, marketing, creation of audiences, etc.

READINGS:

Our central text will be

A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections About the Book & Writing, edited by Jerome  Rothenberg & Steven Clay, Granary Press. Sections of this now out of print book will be provided as pdfs.