Image Credit: Hercules Seghers
Today begins the first of a series of “Best of 2014” lists curated by the entire Entropy community. We don’t mean these lists to be definitive, complete, or authoritative, we simply wish to represent some favorite selections as nominated by the diverse staff and team at Entropy and to try to pay some homage and respect to those who we think deserve it.
This list brings together some of the best small presses, publishers, magazines, and literary journals of 2014. This doesn’t mean necessarily those that were founded or started in 2014, just those we thought were doing particularly exciting things this year and thought deserved a little bit of extra attention.
In no particular order:
Presses & Publishers.
1. Dark House Press. An imprint of Curbside Splendor publishing neo-noir, fantasy, science fiction, horror, literary, magical realism, transgressive, crime, surrealism, and the grotesque.
2. Two Dollar Radio. The Brooklyn Rail praise TDR for publishing “some of the finest works of contemporary fiction in the past few years.”
3. Belladonna*. The Belladonna* mission is to promote the work of women writers who are adventurous, experimental, politically involved, multi-form, multicultural, multi-gendered, impossible to define, delicious to talk about, unpredictable and dangerous with language.
4. Les Figues Press. Les Figues Press embraces a feminist criticality and editorial vision and is interested in work that is aware of itself as a textual body within a history and culture marked (like physical bodies) by constructs of gender, race, class, and sexuality.
5. Coconut Books.
6. Sidebrow. Says Entropy editor Dennis James Sweeney: “I think it’s amazing how consistently and beautifully they publish hybrid writing—I know that when I pick up one of their books I’m going to be endlessly interested by its approach to language, and endlessly mystified.”
7. Greying Ghost Press. Greying Ghost was started in March of 2007 in a steamy attic apartment just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Since its inception the press has released nearly 130 chapbooks, pamphlets and ephemera; each painstakingly printed, assembled, and distributed by hand, in house.
8. Penny-Ante Editions. Of new release Unamerica by Momus, The Guardian wrote: “UnAmerica might be the most entertaining (and readable) experimental art novel of the last few years.”
9. Civil Coping Mechanisms. A continuously expanding selection of innovative literature and poetry.
10. Ugly Duckling Presse. UDP is a nonprofit publisher for poetry, translation, experimental nonfiction, performance texts, and books by artists.
11. Wakefield Press. Wakefield Press is an independent American publisher devoted to the translation of overlooked gems and literary oddities in small, affordable, yet elegant paperback editions.
12. Action Books. Art, Genre, Voice, Prophecy, Theatricality, Materials, the Bodies, Foreign Tongues, and Other Foreign Objects and Substances, if taken internally, may break apart societal forms.
13. Curbside Splendor. Voted Best Chicago Indie Publisher of 2014 by CHICAGO magazine.
14. Deep Vellum Publishing. Deep Vellum Publishing is a not-for-profit literary publisher that seeks to enhance the open exchange of ideas among cultures and to connect the world’s greatest untranslated contemporary writers of literature and creative nonfiction with English-language readers for the first time through original translations.
15. Dorothy, A Publishing Project. Dorothy, a publishing project is dedicated to works of fiction or near fiction or about fiction, mostly by women.
16. Graywolf Press.
17. Zephyr Press. Zephyr Press publishes outstanding literature from around the world, and seeks to foster understanding of other languages and literary traditions through the twin arts of poetry and literary translation.
18. FENCE Books.
19. Bloof Books. Bloof Books is collective poetry press based in Central New Jersey, publishing perfect-bound paperbacks as well as limited-edition handmade books and chapbooks.
20. Big Lucks. “We at Big Lucks feel as if the the most exciting and noteworthy writing lurks in the unlit depths of the ocean, amid the lifeforms and creatures humanity was never meant to see. It’s our goal to be the vessel–the nuclear submarine–that helps these new life forms breach the repetitive ebb-and-tide of this metaphorical ocean’s surface.”
21.Urbanomic/Sequence Press. Urbanomic proposes a renegotiation of the relationship between philosophy science and art, on the model of an interrupted relay in which thinkers offer their conceptual resources for reflection on artists’ practice, and artists in turn develop and synthesise them in unforeseen ways, stimulating a productive and unpredictable cycle of “research and development” subordinated neither to the norms of academic thinking nor to the mainstream discourses of art criticism.
22. Birds of Lace. Birds of Lace is a feminist press that loves words that, placed and space just so, gush right through the middle of your willing guts and spit out into the ocean, dragging you happily behind them.
23. Caketrain. A journal and press.
24. Copilot Press. “The tactile reading experience is not behind you, it lies ahead. Our books are made for your amusement and visual pleasure. Someone is still thinking of you when they make books.”
25. gnOme. gnOme is a secret press specializing in the publication of anonymous, pseudepigraphical, and apocryphal works from the past, present, and future.
26. Writ Large Press. This year, Downtown Literary Alchemy Laboratory, experimenting in the literary arts, the business of publishing and the process of building community with 90 events in 90 days. #90for90
Journals & Magazines.
1. Entropy. Of course. We’re biased. And admittedly so. But we started almost 9 months ago and are so excited to be where we’re at now! And so many more exciting things to come!
2. The Fanzine.
3. Cartridge Lit. A journal devoted to video game literature. Says Entropy editor Eddy Rathke: “It’s genius. It’s perfect. I want to live in it.”
4. The Account. “We were interested in the conversations that could arise when an account was paired with creative work. We imagined a journal where writers could offer such accounts beside their poems and prose, and where artists could offer the same pairing of work and aesthetic statement.”
5. Gigantic. Says Entropy editor Dennis James Sweeney: “I’ve never seen a lit mag that was this nice to look at, or a lit mag that had a number you could dial to hear the authors read over your phone. I laid in my bed and listened to these people read into my ear. It was strange and lonely and wonderful.”
6. The Quietus.
7. PANK. Founded in 2006, the nonprofit literary arts collective [PANK] – PANK Magazine & Tiny Hardcore Press – fosters access to emerging and innovative poetry and prose, publishing the brightest and most promising writers for the most adventurous readers. To the end of the road, up country, a far shore, to the edges of things, to a place of amalgamation and unplumbed depths, a place inhabited by contradiction, quirk and startling anomaly, where the known is made and unmade, and where unimagined futures are born.
8. The Volta.
9. Berfrois. Berfrois is a literary-intellectual online magazine.
10. Queen Mob’s Tea House. Queen Mob’s is an online arts magazine comprised of U.S. and international contributors focused on lit but also art/movies/music/philosophy/pop culture/personal musings, etc.
11. Bone Bouquet. Bone Bouquet is a biannual online journal seeking to publish the best new writing by female poets, from artists both established and emerging.
14. The Triangle. Fear No Lit.
15. BOAAT Press. A poetry chapbook + photograph monograph publisher and a quarterly online journal of poetry & photography.
17. Nautilus. “We are here to tell you about science and its endless connections to our lives.” Says Entropy editor Janice Lee, “It’s beautifully designed and endlessly smart and insightful.”
18. The Awl.
19. Asymptote. Asymptote is an international journal dedicated to literary translation and bringing together in one place the best in contemporary writing.
20. HTMLGIANT. The literary giant and historically significant website founded by Blake Butler officially closed this year. RIP.