During this year-long celebration of Canadian poetry I would like to present the following micro-presses in Canada who publish beautiful hand-made, limited-edition books and chapbooks of poetry.
Thanks to rob mclennan for this article “Notes on Five Canadian Small (micro) Publishers” which gave me the idea.
Here is an alphabetical list of the micro-presses that are active. They have provided me with short descriptions. Please visit their websites (the links are included in any names that are brick-red; no websites for names in black.)
P.S. Please let me know if I have missed any.
above/ground press – rob mclennan
above/ground press is a poetry chapbook press founded in July 1993 by rob mclennan. So far, above/ground press has produced more than 760 items: predominantly single-author chapbooks of poetry (averaging a print run of 250, but some have gone as high as 1,200), but also including more than three hundred “poem” broadsides and more than twenty issues of the long poem STANZAS magazine, as well as a handful of other journals—Missing Jacket, drop and the current Touch the Donkey and The Peter F. Yacht Club. The goals are rather uncomplicated: the distribution of writing that excites me, with numerous names repeating throughout the entire length and breadth of the press’ twenty-two year list, as well as numerous first and second publications, and works by established (and often award-winning) poets. Annual subscriptions, of course, are offered, as are all titles individually.
Anstruther Press – Jim Johnstone
A Toronto-based chapbook publisher, Anstruther Press is committed to publishing emerging and established writers alike. With an emphasis on poetry, our goal is to produce limited edition book objects that are both beautiful to hold and engaging to read.
Alfred Gustav Press – David Zieroth
The Alfred Gustav Press is a micro publisher of poetry. The press uses home office technology to produce handmade, mini-run chapbooks (around a dozen pages) of either one not-too-long poem or a sequence of discrete, connected poems, concluding with the poet’s illuminating afterword. All copies are signed by the poet. The press is named after the founder’s father, a farmer both serious and taciturn yet not without charm and wit, sometimes melancholy, always hard working and a great lover of winter reading. The intention is that the poems published will exhibit some of Alfred’s (counsel-to-the-elves) acumen and Gustav’s (staff-of-the-Goths) gusto. As the publisher, I produce three chapbooks in the spring, three in the fall. Aside from a few complimentary copies, I print only as many copies as I have subscriptions, and thus I know exactly the number to produce and to whom each copy will be sent. I think of the readership as small but intense. I imagine their pleasure on receiving the chapbooks in the mail as equal to mine in producing them. Altogether, it’s an effort of guild-like pleasure keen to bring poetry to readers.
AngelHousePress – Amanda Earl
Established by Amanda Earl in 2007, AngelHousePress publishes ragged edges, raw talent & rebels. While chapbookery is a focus with poetry and visual poetry published in limited editions of 50 copies, AngelHouse also hosts an essay series & publishes two online magazines, with annual issues: NationalPoetryMonth.ca (April) & Experiment-O.com (November). Its latest initiative is the imprint DevilHouse, for transgressive fiction, non fiction, one act plays & hybrids. For further information, please visit AngelHousePress.com & DevilHousePress.com.
Apt. 9 Press – Cameron Anstee
Apt. 9 Press, run by Cameron Anstee in Ottawa, ON, publishes handmade chapbooks of poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction in limited editions by new and established writers. Our first titles were launched in August 2009 and to date Apt. 9 has published 34 chapbooks, 7 broadsides, 2 folios, and 1 anthology. Recently published poets include Michael e. Casteels, Marilyn Irwin, Lillian Necakov, Beth Follett, Ben Ladouceur, and Nelson Ball. Claudia Coutu Radmore’s Accidentals (2011) won the bpNichol Chapbook Award, and Christine McNair’s pleasantries and other misdemeanours (2013) was on the shortlist.
Baseline Press – Karen Schindler
Baseline Press is a London, ON micro-press founded in 2011 by Karen Schindler. Baseline publishes Canadian poets, launching four to six titles every fall. Their limited edition, thread-bound chapbooks are known for specialty papers and hand-made construction, and for supporting a range of poetic styles.
bird, buried press – Elisha May Rubacha and Justin Million
bird, buried press is a micropress in every sense. Our effort is to publish three high quality chapbooks per calendar year. However, we are very interested in publishing broadsides, chapoems, and small book objects that fit our aesthetic.
Frog Hollow Press – Caryl Peters and Shane Neilson
Frog Hollow Press has been publishing limited editions of Canadian poetry and literary criticism since 2001.
Greenboathouse Press – Jason Dewinetz
Greenboathouse Press is a small publishing concern producing short run, limited editions, printed letterpress and bound by hand. As in our previous incarnation (Greenboathouse Books), our mandate is to publish work that is compelling both in its content and its form, and our attention to typography, design and fine-printing is an extension of that interest in form.
Grey Borders Books – Priscilla Brett and Jordan Fry
Grey Borders Books is a Canadian Press, founded in 2002, based in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We publish perfect bound books, magazines and chapbooks and produce works of poetry, short fiction, historical, non fiction, art prints, and graphic novels. Grey Borders hosts the Annual Niagara Literary Arts Festival and also offers charitable publishing assistance through Grey Borders’ imprint Silver Line Editions and horror publishing through its imprint press The House of Gryhm. Grey Borders has an open digital submission policy. Visit their website for more information.
Saskatoon-based chapbook publisher JackPine Press facilitates the creation of hand-produced chapbook projects in limited editions. Our mandate is to publish literary and artistic book works that demonstrate a unified collaboration of text and design. JackPine Press began as a small collective of volunteer poets and chapbook enthusiasts back in 2002, and since then, our mandate has not changed: to keep creative control in the hands of poets and designers. Now, thanks to Saskatchewan Arts Board support, we also employ a part-time administrator, and are able to help with some design and production in house. We are still committed to poetry, released in limited editions, with a focus on the hand-stitched. But generally, when a project is approved by our editorial collective, it receives enough funding to produce a limited number of copies.
Laurel Reed Books – Kemeny Babineau
Laurel Reed Books is a poetry micro-publisher run by Kemeny Babineau. Using a combination of old and new technology Laurel Reed produces small print runs of one of a kind books.
Leaf Press – Ursula Vaira
Leaf Press is an independent press located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, founded by Ursula Vaira in 2001. She publishes and promotes new Canadian poets in the company of those in mid-career. At present Leaf is publishing 3-4 chapbooks and 1 trade title each year.
No Press – Derek Beaulieu
Founded in 2005 (after the closure of housepress in 2004), no press is dedicated to the publishing and dissemination of small press ephemera — chapbooks, leaflets, pamphlets, broadsides and other marginal forms. Edited and published by Calgary’s Poet Laureate Derek Beaulieu, no press publishes poetry, concrete poetry, conceptual writing, poetic statements, independent comics and whatever the editor deems intriguing. Most volumes are produced in edition of between 20 and 60 copies with the writer receiving half the copies as “payment” — the other half is given out and distributed by hand. Small press builds community through gifts and exchange, through consideration and generosity, through the creative interplay and dialogue with each other’s work.
Nomados Literary Publishers – Meredith and Peter Quartermain
Nomados is a Vancouver micro-press founded in 2002 by Meredith and Peter Quartermain. In 2015 it published its 45th book. The press emphasizes poetry but also publishes essays, plays and fiction, including titles from George Bowering, Daphne Marlatt, Robin Blaser, Rachel Blau Duplessis, Charles Bernstein, Sharon Thesen and Lisa Robertson. Nomados focuses mainly on chapbooks and occasionally publishes perfect-bound books. Three of its publications have won the prestigious bpNichol Chapbook Award: Lisa Robertson’s Rousseau’s Boat in 2004; Christine Leclerc’s Oilywood in 2014 and Lissa Wolsak’s Of Beings Alone in 2015.
Phafours Press – Pearl Pirie
phafours press is an Ottawa micropress making mini chapbooks (x-books) and chapbooks, often twice a year since 2007.
Proper Tales Press – Stuart Ross
Publishing chapbooks, leaflets, broadsides and occasionally book of strange and surreal poetry and fiction since 1979. Plus some other stuff.
Puddles of Sky Press – Michael e. Casteels
Puddles of Sky Press publishes fine chapbooks of poetry and fiction. We mainly publish poetry, with a focus on surreal poetry and concrete/visual poetry. We also publish an annual/semi-annual journal of poetry, ‘illiterature.’. While most of our chapbooks have print runs of 75-100 copies, some chapbooks have a limited print run of 26, and these are all hand-stamped/hand typed (on a typewriter) and hand-sewn. Check out the website for more details.
Rubicon Press – Jenna Butler and Stan Galloway
Rubicon Press publishes chapbooks and broadsides of extraordinary poetry from authors around the world. We’re looking for work that resonates; poetry that is more than just excellence of technique and use of multiple forms. We seek poetry that moves, inspires, and affects. Now publishing by invitation only as an occasional press.
serif of nottingham – Gary Barwin
serif of nottingham was founded in 1985 by Gary Barwin and produces chapbooks, pamphlets, broadsides, and other printed ephemera of poetry, fiction, and visual poetry. It is based in Hamilton, Ontario. Originally publishing work by Barwin as well as his collaborations with other writers and artists, over the last decade it now publishes work by other authors. Recent publications include chapbooks by American poets Michael Sikkema and N.F. Huth, Canadian poets Ally Fleming, Kevin Spenst, and Benny Langedyk. Here is an article at Open Book: Ontario.
Wrinkle Press – Nicole Markotic
Wrinkle Press publishes Canadian poetry chapbooks — by invitation — and includes a range of styles, interests, experiments, and disjunctive investigations. Wrinkle foregrounds the material and the visual, publication as art that complements and embodies the poetry. The poetics of Wrinkle Press extend the social and the artistic into the material form of the book, through celebrating the word, the page, the poem. Wrinkle Press is located in Windsor, Ontario.