Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Workshop: Feminist Presses are alive and well

OK, so the workshop was just titled Feminist Presses, but they are alive and well from the showing at the conference. This workshop was organized by the four fabulous women who have created Switchback Books, a new publisher of poetry by women. Also speaking at the panel were Jan Freeman of Paris Press, Erica Kaufman and Rachel Levitsky of Belladonna Books (a wonderful collaborative of performance of poetry and books), Rebecca Wolff of Fence Books, Diane Gilliam on behalf of Perugia Press, and the incomparable Judy Johnson of 13th Moon Press. Judy Johnson has an incredible new idea and strategy for integrating online content and book sales and she brings to it her extraordinary savvy about working within institutions to achieve good outcomes for radical feminists. She is just brilliant. This was an inspiring group of women to see together reflecting on the political impact and significance of publishing, the challenges for publishers of poetry in the current moment, and the need for and commitment to doing it.

For my purposes, I was especially interested in the ways that new feminist presses are being founded and older ones are adapting to the current environment. It makes me think about my larger intellectual project for the dissertation and how important it is to contextual the current work with research on activities in the past. I’ll return to this again, I’m sure.

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