In the 8th episode of Curtis Casts, I discuss a little about indie publishers, why a lot of their stuff doesn’t end up on public library shelves, and some of the poetry books I have received from Ugly Ducking Presse- an indie press and publisher based in Brooklyn, NY. I’m not super-knowledgeable about poetry, but I’m really starting to enjoy it- something I had to allow myself to do, after I got over the whole “I don’t like poetry- it’s too hard and I don’t get it” thing that I think a lot of us feel as a result of our experiences with poetry in school.

So if you’re interested in giving it a listen, you can find it here, or just look for Curtis Casts in your podcast app (we’re on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, etc).

Here is a list of links for some of the things I mention, if you want to explore/learn more:

Ugly Duckling Presse: Brooklyn-based nonprofit publisher of poetry, translation, experimental nonfiction, performance texts, and books by artists. They offer several subscription options.

Tupelo Press: Indie publisher in the Berkshires. They publish poetry, literary fiction, and creative nonfiction. They offer an annual poetry subscription.

Coffee House Press: Minneapolis-based publisher of literary fiction, essay, poetry, and “other work that doesn’t fit neatly into genre categories”. They have a few different subscription options.

I’m endorsing these publishers who offer subscriptions, as I think it is a great way to explore writing, especially poetry, experimental forms, translated works, and emerging writers. I honestly don’t think I ever would have considered trying poetry out again, if my partner hadn’t ordered an Ugly Duckling subscription – we get a box of books from them every quarter.

A great list of indie publishers to check out:

McSweeney’s: Mostly known for their fantastic quarterly publication McSweeneys’ Quarterly Concern, they also have a book publishing division. They are based in San Francisco.

City Lights: Bookstore/publisher made famous for publishing Allen Ginsburgh’s Howl– City Lights founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti was arrested and put on trial for “disseminating obscene literature”. The judge in the case ruled that the poem was not obscene, and was a “work of redeeming social importance”.

Graywolf Press: St. Paul publisher of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and work in translation.

Other things:

Forensic Architecture’s report on the Left-To-Die-Boat, a tragic incident in 2011 in which 72 migrants were left stranded in the Mediterranean for two weeks with no rescue or assistance from nearby vessels. Only 9 of the people survived. Forensic Architecture is a research group at the University of London. According to their website they “undertake advanced spatial and media investigations into cases of human rights violations, with and on behalf of communities affected by political violence, human rights organisations, international prosecutors, environmental justice groups, and media organisations”.

Dickinson on Apple TV+ a very cool dramedy series about Emily Dickinson’s young adulthood. It includes some magical realism elements and some stretching of the details of her life. There are a lot of anachronisms (modern soundtrack, dialogue, young adult culture/norms, etc) which I think would make it really enjoyable for younger viewers. (Rated TV-14) Not on DVD yet, so not available through the library right now.

The Booksellers – a great documentary on the past, present, and future of antiquarian booksellers in NYC. Available on DVD through the MINERVA catalog.

Poem-a-Day sign up to receive a poem in your inbox each day from A pretty simple way to start reading/exploring poetry!