Dear CLMP Members & Friends,
During these painful days of loss and deep unrest, as we mourn the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, we join so many in our community who’ve expressed their outrage and sorrow about the continued violence committed against Black people and communities of color. We stand with all those calling for the end of systemic racism in our country.
We believe that literature has the power to effect change, that books can provide solace and guidance. We believe that mission-driven independent literary publishers are vital to our culture for their commitment to raising the voices of authors who’ve been marginalized, whose narratives inspire social transformation. It has always been our mission to support and advocate for these publishers toward ensuring a vibrant, diverse literary landscape. But there is much more work to be done.
Some literary magazines and publishers have centered their founding missions around publishing the work of Black writers and people of color. But for far too long, Black writers and writers of color have been denied an equal voice in the cultural landscape. This must change. The more we know about one another, the more we understand one another. We recognize and support the work that needs to be done to ensure that those voices are heard and included.
As we all discern the meaningful actions we must take in the fight to eradicate racism in our country, institutions, and communities, we urge you to turn to those literary magazines and publishers whose founding missions have been to publish the writing of Black writers and people of color.
We encourage you to take a look at our reading list of books, recommended by our member presses, that speak to social justice, activism, police brutality, and human rights, to buy these books from Black-owned bookstores, and to share them with your friends, families, and communities.
CLMP is working on actionable steps we will take in the fight for racial justice and equity in the literary field, and we’ll provide updates as we move through them. We look forward to our continued work together.
Sending strength and solidarity,
CLMP Staff and Board of Directors
Many of the literary magazines and presses that are CLMP Members have also issued statements of solidarity and taken action steps in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. We will continue to update this list as we learn more.
The editors of AGNI issued a statement acknowledging that, “founded in racism and structurally wedded to it, the United States needs wholesale, systemic change.” They shared a list of bail funds and community-resilience efforts in their communities that they had donated to and encouraged their readers to do the same.
Apogee Journal has suspended their fundraising campaign and published a statement in solidarity with protestors and Black activist communities. The magazine has also signed on to The Offing‘s open letter, endorsed the Safer NY Act through Communities United for Police Reform, and signed on to a letter asking Mayor de Blasio to defund the NYPD.
Autumn House Press
Autumn House Press has made a donation to Campaign Zero and has pledged to donate 50% of June book sales from books by Black Autumn House authors to causes of each author’s choosing. In its statement, the press says, “We are here to listen, we are here to grow, and we are here to offer our support.”
Birds LLC is donating all direct sales for June to Black Visions Collective, The Okra Project, and National Bailout “in solidarity with and support of anti-racist movements and protests, and in response to the recent police murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, David McAtee and the long history of Black people murdered and terrorized by racist police and state sponsored violence.”
BOA Editions issued a statement on their website and by email demonstrating the press’s commitment “to the long road of anti-racism and fighting oppression in all its systemic forms”; this statement included a list of organizations “whose work is vital in the dismantling of white supremacy and whose lead, vision, and work we follow and who provide crucial education and information.”
Brink Literacy Project and F(r)iction
The editors of F(r)iction put out a statement explaining that since the literary magazine “exists to amplify emerging and underrepresented voices… as writers, editors, readers, and nonprofit leaders, we must be more than passive observers. We must, and will, be activists and allies.” The statement also declared Brink’s resolution to suspend company-related social media activity and “only post and share content and resources that recognize Black writers and readers,” as well as to increase accessibility to the journal. In addition, they invited Black writers to send pitches for articles, essays, and other content.
Carve Magazine changed their website homepage into a statement in solidarity with the Black community, committing to “listening and being part of the change.” They also compiled a list of organizations to donate to and support and “a growing list of links to Black artists and writers and their works.”
Coffee House Press
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Coffee House Press added a statement to their homepage “against the police brutality and all forms of racial violence inflicted in our city and around the world.” The press is donating 10% of all website profits to the National Bail Out collective and encouraging their readers to donate directly to this and several other local and national funds as well. They also made Henry Dumas’s short story “The Marchers” and collection Echo Tree available online as a free download. Their publicity and operations associate, Claire Fallon, also collected donations to distribute necessary supplies in the Minneapolis community.
The Common issued a statement in support of “the nationwide protests against anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and police brutality.” They invite submissions of poetry or prose from Black writers and other writers of color to their place-centric Dispatches column to report on change, or desired change, in their neighborhoods; there is no submission fee, and published writers will receive an honorarium.
Copper Canyon Press
Copper Canyon Press issued a statement condemning “the murder of Black Americans at the hands of police” and supporting “those gathering in protest, in grief, in an unequivocal demand for systemic change.” They also encouraged their readers to donate to several organizations working for accountability and justice and amplifying Black writers.
Electric Literature has shared multiple reading lists related to anti-racism, including one of new and forthcoming books that celebrate black lives; one of nonfiction books on the necessity of defunding the police; and one of fiction by contemporary black authors about navigating white supremacy.
Evergreen Review issued a statement declaring “our support for every American standing up against the state-orchestrated murder of African Americans, whether it be by police officers or systemic health-care inequality or red lines or gerrymandering.”
The Feminist Press
The Feminist Press put together a reading list of books that contribute to “dissecting power and imagining freedom.” They also encouraged their readers to donate to the Black Visions Collective, the National Bail Fund Network, Black Lives Matter, Unicorn Riot, and the LGBTQ Fund.
flock “unequivocally supports the Black lives movement and the necessity of this long overdue, transformative moment” and is donating 30 percent of proceeds from the sale of Flock 23 to support BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective).
Futurepoem Books issued a statement declaring their intention to give 25% of the profit from all web site sales for the month of June to Equality for Flatbush and the Sister Outsider Relief Grant. They also plan to give up to 100 free books from their catalogue to anyone who makes a direct donation of $30 or more to one of several organizations listed on their statement.
Graywolf Press, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, issued a statement on social media encouraging their readers to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund, Black Visions Collective, and Minneapolis indie bookstores.
In lieu of sending out their monthly newsletter, Kenyon Review issued a statement saying that they are “shaken, horrified, saddened, and outraged by barbaric violence against innocent people, especially Black Americans, in recent days as well as by the economic inequality that has caused people of color, and underserved groups in general, to fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic at far higher rates than others.”
Levitate Magazine, edited by students at The Chicago High School for the Arts, issued a statement statement in solidarity with “those who are marching in protest,” “the Black Lives Matter movement,” and “those who are doing the hard work of making the world new, making it match our vision of what it should be.”
Lucky Jefferson stated that they stand “for and with the Black Community. Being founded by women of color, we take acts of violence against our community very seriously and to heart.” They also invited Black and African American writers and poets to contribute to their digital zine Awake, which they recently started “to amplify the experiences and perspectives of Black and African American writers in American society.”
Off Assignment paused their publication schedule and published this newsletter instead, which included a statement and links to a wide variety of resources. They are currently working on a long-term strategy to diversify their community and are prioritizing Black writers, writers of color, and minority/marginalized writers in their upcoming call for submissions.
Oxford American gathered a collection of work from the magazine’s history that chronicles “police brutality, racial injustice, and inequality” and centers “Black excellence and joy.” They also encouraged their readers to support organizations that advance racial justice.
The Paris Review
The Paris Review issued a statement of their commitment “to being a part of the change: we will work with our writers, our readers, and our team to make publishing a more equitable, dynamic, and creative place.” They also made several interviews of Black writers, including of James Baldwin, Percival Everett, and Claudia Rankine, free to read online.
Perugia Press issued a statement standing with the Black Lives Matter movement and pledging “to actively listen to and support Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).” In particular, they echoed the call to demand justice for Breonna Taylor and invited readers to support bail funds and Black Lives Matter, and to sign several petitions, review anti-racism resources, and follow other concrete action items.
Poetry Northwest issued a statement “in solidarity with all those who fight for justice and equity for Black lives” along with a list of ant-racist initiatives they will be taking and reporting on regularly from now on. These initiatives include a pledge that each issue will include at least 50% writers of color, a paid internship to a high school writer of color, and a new contest offering significant financial award for a single poem by an Indigenous poet.
Radix Media extended the deadline for the Own Voices Chapbook Prize, which publishers emerging writers of color, to give writers “time to process and take care of themselves”; they suspended submission fees for anyone experiencing economic hardship. In an emailed statement, they announced that they “support the Black Lives Matter movement and the brave protesters who have been relentlessly taking to the streets in the face of violent crackdown,” and they encouraged readers to donate to bail funds and “have conversations on the Anti-Blackness that exists in our communities and families.”
Red Hen Press
Red Hen Press is highlighting the work of their Black authors and poets through individualized social media posts, sharing resources and donation links, and supporting and highlighting black-owned businesses and bookstores. They also held an event titled Black Lives Matter: Writers Talk Back, featuring Ishmael Reed in conversation with Danzy Senna, Douglas Manuel, and Dana Johnson.
Restless Books is sending a free copy of How to Travel Without Seeing by Andrés Neuman to anyone who donates $25 or more to the Justice for Breonna Taylor fund or to a bail or mutual fund.
Sarabande Books, based in Louisville, Kentucky, issued a statement condemning “police violence, racism, and the systems that uphold white supremacy” and “the unjust killing of our fellow Louisvillians, Breonna Taylor and David McAtee.” The press announced their intention to “redouble our commitment to amplify the work of Black writers, artists, and members of our community” and urged their readers to donate to the Louisville Community Bail Fund, National Bail Out, Campaign Zero, and Black Voters Matter.
Seven Stories Press
Seven Stories Press made the e-book Against Police Violence, featuring writings by Angela Y. Davis, Huey P. Newton, and many others, free to download. They also put together a reading list of books on police, prisons, and protest.
Southeast Review is donating $1000 to local, state, and national organizations that support protestors and members oppressed communities and asks other journals to do the same; they are committed to fundraising an additional $2,300 this week and donating those funds as well. They also call on editors to use “your institutional power to combat anti-Blackness and racist violence.” In addition, they reserved their website’s homepage to sharing “information on how to support Black lives.”
The editors of Twyckenham Notes have invited people of color to submit poetry, fiction, artwork, and other forms to a special issue of the magazine; accepted work will be published online and contributors will be paid $25. The submissions page also encourages an optional donation to the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund. The editors write, “Art as resistance is a celebration, a call to a higher purpose of togetherness through the witness of the artist and the consumption of the reader. Through our participation in art we reject the idea of remaining silent. Now is the time to elevate these voices.”
Ugly Ducking Presse
Ugly Duckling Presse is donating 50% of all publication sales for two weeks to Equality for Flatbush and Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network’s #BrooklynShowsLove Mutual Aid Project.
Words Without Borders
Words Without Borders issued a statement saying that “as a US-based organization devoted to amplifying voices that are often relegated to the margins, we cannot stand by as Black people in this country continue to be violently and systematically silenced.” They announced their intention to keep thinking about “how we can sustain and deepen this commitment going forward” and asked readers to consider donating, learning more, and signing petitions.
Writers Resist put out a call for submissions of “poetry, prose, and images of resistance in today’s USA” and will be releasing a special protest edition for their next issue. They are also amplifying Black voices and posting factual data on their social media accounts.