2011 was quite a time. Not only did we publish two exciting books, Joshua Ware’s Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley, which won the 2010 Furniture Press Poetry Prize, and Ryan Eckes’ witty and sophisticated Old News, we also published, with the generous help and talent of Jodi Hoover, three chapbooks, Nicole Mauro’s Tea Party Poems, a “fauxlaboration” between Emily Dickinson and Sarah Palin, Anne Ashbaugh’s Mythopoesis, and Elizabeth Savage’s Jane & Paige, or Sister Goose, Twenty-Four Women & Girls. And if there’s not enough room in our basement! The Emergent Poets Series took off with excellent reception. We published Lily Herman’s Better than some, not as good as some others. We even pulled off an impressive Cruellest Month Poetry & Performance Festival, our 6th, at the Towson Public Library, complemented with a community-wide “poem walk,” in which local businesses displayed a range of poems (more than 150 by 23 poets) on their store fronts or within their premises. And then we participated in the global 100,000 Poets for Change event, hosting a day-long open reading (on 33rd street in Baltimore) of poets and aspiring writers from the city and county and recording more than 100 emergent poets for the Onthology/audio series.
As might be obvious, a publishing project such as Furniture Press Books is not merely about the production of quality books and textual objects. If not for our reading public, the necessary part of the poetry equation, there would be no press. This is why we hold the local, our communities and our neighborhoods, our citizens and neighbors, in the highest esteem. And we want to give the community a chance to collaborate in the meaning-making venture, not merely absorb it. Books are vehicles. The community is the machine. In 2012, we will continue the tradition of community involvement by furthering our relationships with the local and partner with new and exciting organizations.
The 7th Annuel Cruellest Month Poetry & Performance Festival (CruMoPoPerFest) will be held at the Village Learning Place in Charles Village, Baltimore throughout the month of April (dates/performers/readers to come). This building is the site of an expansive free library, free workshops and events, and a newly established collection of local writers and presses. Partnering with a new organization means expanding our own aesthetics to those outside our small community, and open the way to further inter-community collaboration, which, in our hopes, will foster the talent of emergent as well as established poets.
And, so as not to overlook the overarching goal of the press, great books, we will be publishing a fine collection of poetry of manifest sorts: William Allegrezza and Garin Cycholl’s Aquinas and the Mississippi, Shabnam Piryaei’s A Method for Counting Days, Elizabeth Savage’s Grammar, Magus Magnus’ ReEchoes, and j. j. hastain’s myrrh to re all myth. The Emergent Poets Series will start off with Athena Pappas’ untitled collection. The details I will leave out. For now… But there will be more…