I heard about Stacey Lynn Brown's fiasco with a first book contest when she contacted me directly at my non-profit press, C&R Press, to see if we would be interested in helping out. We have a full schedule of authors already set to go for the next 12 months. Our first DeNovo winner, Michelle Bitting's Good Friday Kiss. Our 2007 Open Series winner, Jon Veinberg's The Speed Limit of Clouds. Our first anthology, Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes. And we're already taking submissions for the 2008 DeNovo (first book) contest as well as the 2008 Open Series. Plus even though we're not actually asking for unsolicited work, it's coming in by the truckloads and some of it is so good, it's hard to say no too, even though we're not yet operating in the black.
But we were moved by her story, and most importantly, moved by her fine book which already came with terrific blurbs from Naomi Shihab Nye, Major Jackson, and Rodney Jones (which we will use in full, without rearranging, cutting, or altering in any way). In short, we're taking it and we'll squeeze it into our already overburdened schedule in order to have it out around January 2009 such that she doesn't have to cancel her readings and other engagements that were made back when she thought her prize-winning book was coming out. She's incredibly brave for taking on a publisher--any publisher--in the small po-biz world where it feels like the poet has a water pistol and the editors have M-60s. And I feel incredibly lucky that my press was recommended to her and that she felt good enough about C&R Press to trust us with Cradle Song, a powerful work that we are proud to publish, promote, and support.
Thank you Stacey.