There are only a few presses that have changed poetry publishing. New Directions in its heyday helped bring Modernism to the bookstores. City Lights fostered the Beat movement. More recently, Neil Astley's Bloodaxe ushered in a new generation of British poets. And Salt publishing changed the whole game: international in scope, broad in aesthetics, interested in the avant-garde, writings of indigenous peoples, and criticism as well as poetry, Salt has been on top of new technologies in publishing and distribution as well as new movements in poetry, and they've been great about being loyal to their authors. In many ways, they've been the most living thing in poetry publishing for almost a decade. Chris and Jen Hamilton-Emery (seen above with their Independent Publishing Prize), and their partner John Kinsella, deserve nothing but praise as promoters of poetry. And they've done well as a business, too — until quite recently, when fallout from the economic meltdown (thanks, Milton Friedman, thanks, gospel of unregulated greed, thanks, University of Chicago Econ Department!) put them in a tight spot. Here's a recent note Chris has sent out over the internet, announcing the situation and proposing a solution to the current quandary:
Saving Salt Publishing: Just One Book
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
As many of you will know, Jen and I have been struggling to keep Salt moving since June last year when the economic downturn began to affect our press. Our three year funding ends this year: we've £4,000 due from Arts Council England in a final payment, but cannot apply through Grants for the Arts for further funding for Salt's operations. Spring sales were down nearly 80% on the previous year, and despite April's much improved trading, the past twelve months has left us with a budget deficit of over £55,000. It's proving to be a very big hole and we're having to take some drastic measures to save our business.
Here's how you can help us to save Salt and all our work with hundreds of authors around the world.
JUST ONE BOOK
1. Please buy just one book, right now. We don't mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you'll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store and help us keep going.
UK and International
2. Share this note on your Facebook or MySpace profile. Tell your friends. If we can spread the word about our cash crisis, we can hopefully find more sales and save our literary publishing. Remember it's just one book, that's all it takes to save us. Please do it now.
With my best wishes to everyone
Things have started to work — Chris even compares what's happened to the end of It's A Wonderful Life— but Salt needs us. And poetry needs Salt. Let's see what we can do. If you don't want to use the Salt website, you can get a list of their books on Amazon.com by going to "books," then "advanced search" and searching for "Salt Publishing" under "publisher."