Art, Drama & More of 2023

We’re excited to share this year-end roundup of multi-genre anthologies, art and comic books, drama and performance books, and more published in 2023 by independent literary publishers! (Read our year-end roundups for fictionpoetrychildren’s books, and nonfiction as well.)


Multi-Genre Anthologies


The People’s Tongue: Americans and the English Language

Restless Books | February 14, 2023

Edited by Ilan Stavans, this anthology features “essays, letters, poems, songs, speeches, stories, jeremiads, manifestos, and decrees across history” demonstrating “the diversity, strangeness, and power of American English.”




Holding Patterns: A Collection of Words on Ritual

Good Printed Things | March 15, 2023

Edited by Beth Ables and Angie Toole Thompson, this anthology features poems, prose, and short stories “on rituals of every kind, and the ways that they save us, challenge us, and utterly shape who we are.”




A Night of Screams: Latino Horror Stories

Arte Público Press | March 31, 2023

Edited by Richard Z. Santos, this anthology of horror stories and poems “contains themes impacting Latinos, such as cartel violence and immigration.”




South to South: Writing South Asia in the American South

Texas Review Press | June 15, 2023

The short stories and narrative essays in this anthology edited by Khem K. Aryal “compose a mosaic of South Asian lived experiences in the American South.”




Cover of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Graphic Literature: Artists and Writers on Creating Graphic Narratives, Poetry Comics, and Literary Collage, featuring several graphic-novel-like panels with illustrated birds.The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Graphic Literature: Artists and Writers on Creating Graphic Narratives, Poetry Comics, and Literary Collage

Rose Metal Press | July 18, 2023

Edited by Kelcey Ervick and Tom Hart, this anthology “gives readers unprecedented insight into the techniques of 28 of today’s most innovative creators of poetry comics, graphic narratives, and image-text hybrids.”




Black Joy Unbound

BLF Press | September 5, 2023

Edited by Stephanie Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle, this multi-genre anthology “encompasses a broad spectrum of literary writing on Black joy.”




Elektrik: Caribbean Writing

Translated from the French

Two Lines Press | September 26, 2023

In Elektrik, “eight women writers from Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe come together to explore, in poetry and prose, the complex nature of Caribbean existence.”




Cover of A Shape Produced by a Curve featuring bubble text over a colorful and tan, painterly background.A Shape Produced by a Curve

great weather for MEDIA | August 1, 2023

A Shape Produced by a Curve is “an invigorating collection of contemporary poetry and short fiction from established and emerging writers across the United States and beyond.”




Cover of Cascadian ZeCascadian Zen, Volume One

Watershed Press | October 1, 2023

Edited by Jason Wirth, Paul E. Nelson, and Adelia MacWilliam, this anthology asks, “Is there a connection between Zen practice, broadly construed, and the Cascadia bioregion?”




Closer to Freedom: Prose & Poetry From Maximum Security by Chris Belden featuring a watercolor picture of a man’s mouth.Closer to Freedom: Prose & Poetry From Maximum Security

Woodhall Press | October 2, 2023

In this anthology edited by Chris Belden, “dozens of incarcerated men share poems, stories, and essays that celebrate the power of the written word.”




Connecticut Literary Anthology 2023: Celebrating Authors From the Nutmeg State by Victoria Buitron featuring a green cover with blue pictures of nature and animals.Connecticut Literary Anthology 2023: Celebrating Authors From the Nutmeg State

Woodhall Press | October 3, 2023

Edited by Victoria Buitron, this anthology collects poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by dozens of Connecticut writers.




G.I. Days, An Anthology of Military Life, edited by Mary Senter, featuring artwork of a soldier in uniform with a gun and helmet smoking a cigarette.G.I. Days: An Anthology of Military Life

Milltown Press | November 28, 2023

The twenty-nine stories and poems in this anthology edited by Mary Senter “give a glimpse into the lives of a diverse cross-section of U.S. military-connected writers, from Vietnam veterans to current military spouses.”





Art Books and Illustration


I Will Keep My Soul by Helen Cammock

Siglio Press | April 21, 2023

I Will Keep My Soul is “an orchestral layering of photography, historical documents, poetry and interviews, rooted in the history, geography and community of New Orleans.”




Readers by Harvey Finkle

Tursulowe Press | April 21, 2023

These photographs of readers “span over four decades and a half a dozen continents. Some capture a still or tranquil space, while some are more energetic, even raucous.”




Roots, Stones and Baggage by Richard Brown Lethem

Bamboo Dart Press | April 22, 2023

This collection features paintings and poems from seventy years of Lethem’s life, “written and painted in Missouri, Paris, Brooklyn, Maine, and California.”




Bait the Toad by Kendra Powers featuring a photograph of a toad in a hat.Bait the Toad by Kendra Powers

Catalyst Press | October 7, 2023

In this book of photographs, a “tiny toad has a lot to teach us all about being comfortable in our own skin.”




Comic Books


The Woman Who Was Forced to Draw Cats for a Living by Nicole Hollander 

Woodhall Press | June 6, 2023

This book is a collection of humorous comics by the author of Female Problems and My Cat’s Not Fat, He’s Just Big-Boned.




Drama and Performance


Embarrassed of the (W)Hole by Panoply Performance Laboratory

Ugly Duckling Presse | March 1, 2023

An “operating manual for an opera-of-operations,” this book includes “scores-for-scores, theoretical frames, process notes, and a User Survey meant to be ‘operated’ and ‘used’ (specifically, rigorously) to stage and situate pertinent contexts, conditions, and embodiments of and for projected future operations.”




Hoppla, We’re Alive by Ernst Toller

Translated from the German by Drew Lichtenberg

Berlinica Publishing | May 1, 2023

This play from the Weimar Republic is “a powerful portrait of a fragile democracy at war with itself, inevitably corrupted from within by the rising forces of capitalism and fascism.”




Guía de campo de iLANDing 

Translated from the English by Alexandra Viteri Arturo and Alejandra Martorell

53rd State Press | June 1, 2023

Guía de campo de iLANDing is a Spanish-language translation of A Field Guide to iLANDing, published in 2017 by 53rd State Press.




All These Things by Sharon Bridgforth & Daniel Alexander Jones

53rd State Press | June 21, 2023

Bridgforth and Jones hold “an intimate and searching conversation about the pragmatics of making art and engaging the communities—living and ancestral—from which their work emerges.”




Mahabharata by Ravi Jain and Miriam Fernandes

Coach House Books | September 5, 2023

According to Robert Lepage, in this dramatic retelling of Mahabharata, “the 4,000-year-old Sanskrit poem comes to life and feels more universal than ever.”




Cover of SKiNFoLK by Jillian Walker, featuring white text and a branching organic shape.SKiNFoLK: An American Show by Jillian Walker

53rd State Press | October 17, 2023

SKiNFoLK: An American Show is “a quilted ritual of liberation, bearing witness to the playwright-performer’s identity, heritage and legacy as a Black woman in this America.”




Angela’s Mixtape + The History of Light by Eisa Davis featuring three vintage photographs of a Black child in a red shirt. Angela’s Mixtape + The History of Light by Eisa Davis

53rd State Press | November 16, 2023

In Angela’s Mixtape, “time shifts like a mixtape, and like a mixtape, the play is both a memoir and a gift”; The History of Light is “a study in black and white, love and alienation.”




Emergency INDEX, An Annual Document of Performance Practice: Volume 10 featuring a navy blue cover with white circle patterns near the bottom. Emergency INDEX, An Annual Document of Performance Practice: Volume 10

Ugly Duckling Presse | December 15, 2023

In this annual anthology “open to all who work with performance,” contributors “document works made in the previous year.”