We continue our “Best of 2019″ series curated by the entire Entropy community and present some of our favorite selections as nominated by the diverse staff and team here at Entropy, as well as nominations from our readers.
This list brings together some of our favorite presses, publishers, magazines, literary journals, and other literary / publishing projects that were doing phenomenal work in 2019. This doesn’t mean necessarily those that were founded or started this year, just those we thought were doing particularly exciting & cool things this year and deserve a little bit of extra attention.
In no particular order…
Apogee is a journal of literature and art that engages with identity politics, including but not limited to: race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and intersectional identities. We are a biannual print publication featuring fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. Our goals are twofold: to publish fresh work that interrogates the status quo, and to provide a platform for underrepresented voices, prioritizing artists and writers of color.
The word “apogee” denotes the point in an object’s orbit that is farthest from the center. Our mission combines literary aesthetic with political activism. We believe that by elevating underrepresented literary voices we can effect real change: change in readers’ attitudes, change in writers’ positions in literature, and broader change in society.
Winter Tangerine is a literary & arts magazine dedicated to the electric.
We aim to disrupt the status quo. To amplify the unheard. To account for the unaccounted. To publish the unconventional, confront the uncomfortable, marvel in the mundane. We are unapologetic. We are firm believers in the power of art to transform, to heal, to revolutionize.
Through issues, columns, live and online workshops, internships, an annual awards, a fellowship program, and our Spitfire and Spotlight Series, we create dynamic platforms for narratives and voices from traditionally uncentered communities.
We want lightning. So go ahead: ignite.
At The Operating System, our vision is a community where permission is freely granted, where access isn’t behind lock and key (perceptual or actual), where tools, information and resources are equitably shared and made easily available. Creative people from all disciplines are encouraged to work with one another, to explore every and all media freely and without fear. Both creative output and practice / process are equally valued. Those who are new to creative practice are encouraged to engage, explore, make mistakes, and play, without shaming. Degrees can be useful but do not grant any special privileges — rather, it is the responsibility of those of us with resources (be they intellectual or more classically capital in nature) to gather, document, make accessible, and pass along skills, information, and other salient lessons to those without.
Our vision is a community that is intentionally present but with a constant awareness of both past and future. Original voices from all disciplines, across the spectrum of gender, sexuality, race, religion, ability, age, as well as geographic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds not only have a place here but are invited in — understood as essential components to making, building, listening, and teaching in service of a more just and equitable world. Our community is comprised of those united by their commitment to transformation, service, justice and social progress FIRST, and a shared understanding of creative practice as an instrumental tool of individual and collective change for everyone, everywhere.
Our vision is a stepping stone towards an evolved, transformed humanity, and a respected, honored planet — facilitated by the connections making and sharing creative work makes possible. When we engage with our bodies, minds, and senses, we are able to break down barriers in ways that are becoming less and less viable through the institutional structures nominally in our service.
4. Noemi Press
Noemi Press is committed to publishing poetry, prose, theory, and translation by diverse emerging and established authors to create a national audience for writers who might otherwise be marginalized by mainstream presses. One thing that differentiates us is that we see extensive editorial collaboration as an integral part of the process for our books. That editorial work has helped us promote emerging writers with the support and guidance to put out the very best book possible. We are excited by innovative writing, by people pushing the landscapes. We’re interested in interrogative writing that looks both to our poetic landscape, but also beyond, to find inspiration. We’re interested in voices that are complicating ideas of identity, beauty, and more. – from Entropy‘s Small Press Interview
The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) is devoted to creating, publishing, developing and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans, and to providing an alternative literary arts space at the intersection of migration, race, and social justice. Since our founding in 1991, we have been dedicated to the belief that Asian American stories deserve to be told. At a time when migrants, women, people of color, Muslims, and LGBTQ people are specifically targeted, we offer a new countercultural public space in which to imagine a more just future.
The Margins is our award-winning magazine of literature, arts, and ideas, dedicated to inventing the Asian American creative culture of tomorrow. As the editorial arm of AAWW, it draws upon a commitment to social justice to imagine a vibrant, nuanced, multiracial, and transnational Asian America. The Margins is visited by an average of 3,000 people weekly, and has received over a million views since its launch in 2012.
pulpmouth investigates the thin partitions between the living and the dead, following the gut punch of intuition that leads beyond the arras and into disembodied rooms. the place where psychogeography meets static electricity, the magnetism that happens when we sense the pulse of a body standing behind us. the underside of the document, the O, the gaps and absences and redactions that speak forth, or an ink stain tracing wallpaper. we’re seeking poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, hybrid, and critical work that understands language as an umbilical cord or tether between the human and animal (and everything else); work that hollows objects and inhabits them; that spoofs, impersonates, and pretends. in short: the allure of the abyss. updates/transmissions from the psychic plane.
7. Peach Mag
Peach Mag is an independent and volunteer-run literary publishing project. Our flagship publication is our online journal, where we publish a new literary or visual arts feature every Tuesday and Friday (MAG). We also produce in-print anthologies (BOOKS), present a seasonal reading series (EPISODES), sponsor an annual poetry award judged by nationally celebrated poets (GOLD), and host an annual apprenticeship program for emerging teen editors (SEEDS).
Founded by three friends in Buffalo during the summer of 2016, and currently powered by a team of editors and designers based in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, New York City, Baltimore, and Toronto.
8. Clash Books
CLASH BOOKS IS WHERE HIGH AND LOW ART MEET TO MAKE SOMETHING FRESH, NEW, AND EXCITING. WE PUBLISH LITERARY FICTION, NON-FICTION, POETRY, HORROR, SCI-FI & GENRE-FREE FICTION.
MISSION: TO PUBLISH AWESOME & ENGAGING BOOKS THAT TRANSCEND LABELS & BREAK BOUNDARIES. WE PUT THE LIT IN LITERARY.
exquisite imagination… (Publishers Weekly “Best Books 2018”) warped from one world to another (The Nation); beautifully startling and fucked and funny and tender and sad and putrid and glitter-covered all at once. (VICE); simultaneously metaphysical and visceral … scary, sexual, and intellectually disarming (Huffington Post); only becomes more surreal (NPR Books); proves indie presses deserve your attention (BuzzFeed News); hallucinatory … trance-inducing (Publishers Weekly “Best Summer Reads”)…
Tarpaulin Sky was born in early 2003, in a remote cabin on the Canadian border in northwest Washington State, when a certain convenience-store clerk bought the tarpaulinsky.com domain and used a Netscape browser to hand-code the first issue of Tarpaulin Sky Online Literary Journal. Within the year, operations relocated to Brooklyn, NY, where the magazine began to focus on “trans-genre” texts and otherwise innovative or “experimental” fiction and poetry without allegiance to any one style or school, but very much indebted to trailblazers like 3rd bed and Chain and Fence and Slope. In early 2006 Tarpaulin Sky expanded into publishing books by contributors to the magazine, and by the end of that magical summer the Press released both paperback and hand-bound editions of one love affair, by the incomparable Jenny Boully: “blurring fiction, essay, and memoir in an extended prose poem” concerning “mud daubers, Duras, and the deaths of mentally ill and drug-addicted lovers” — a book that remains one of the finer examples of precisely what the fuck Tarpaulin Sky Press is about.
The Feminist Press is an educational nonprofit organization founded to advance women’s rights and amplify feminist perspectives. FP publishes classic and new writing from around the world, creates cutting-edge programs, and elevates silenced and marginalized voices in order to support personal transformation and social justice for all people.
Founded in 1970, we began as a crucial publishing component of second wave feminism, reprinting feminist classics by writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and providing much-needed texts for the developing field of women’s studies with books by Barbara Ehrenreich and Grace Paley. We publish feminist literature from around the world, by best-selling authors such as Shahrnush Parsipur, Ruth Kluger, and Ama Ata Aidoo; and North American writers of diverse race and class experience, such as Paule Marshall and Rahna Reiko Rizzuto. We have become the vanguard for books on contemporary feminist issues of equality and gender identity, with authors as various as Anita Hill, Justin Vivian Bond, and Ann Jones.
Dostoyevsky Wannabe is the brainchild of Victoria Brown and Richard Brammer, who are both writers, artists, and designers, and who are based in Manchester. Dostoyevsky Wannabe began as a platform for Richard and Victoria to publish their own work, but quickly became a vehicle for making the work of other fringe and experimental writers accessible. With their books retailing at around £5 each, accessibility seems to me an important part of Dostoyevsky Wannabe, and the most obvious comparison for me is the independent record label K Records in 1980s Olympia, Washington. Similarly to Dostoyevsky Wannabe, K Records ideology was based around using the technology of the day to democratise the process of making lots of art, by capitalising on the cheapness and malleability of cassette tape technology. For Dostoyevsky Wannabe, the 2018 version of this vision is to capitalise on the tools of late capitalism. – The London Magazine
Trembling Pillow Press is a New Orleans based publishing outfit run by poet Megan Burns since 2006. Its mission is to publish contemporary authors whose works are vitally important to the poetry community. Trembling Pillow Press has published dozens of broadsides and post cards featuring New Orleans based poets and artists as well as national writers. Trembling Pillow Press has also published three issues of YAWP: A Journal of Poetry and Art, three issues of Solid Quarter Poetry Magazine, poetry chapbooks and over 28 full length collections of poetry in addition to one Spoken Word CD; all available for purchase online and at our partner bookstores. Trembling Pillow Press endeavors to continue to publish first books from emerging authors as well as marginalized texts that have either gone out of print or that have had trouble finding a publishing house. 2019 will mark the 13th year of Trembling Pillow Press’ publishing efforts in New Orleans.
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Belladonna* mission to promote the work of women* and feminist writers who are adventurous, experimental, politically involved, multi-form, multicultural, multi-gendered, impossible to define, unpredictable, and dangerous with language. Belladonna* is committed to publishing and building literary community among women-identified and LGBTQIA+ authors who write off-center, producing work that is political and critical; situational rather than plot-driven; inter-subjective, performative, or witnessing rather than personally revelatory; work that reaches across the boundaries and binaries of literary genre and artistic fields, and that questions the gender binary.
Belladonna* is a feminist avant-garde collective, founded in 1999 by Rachel Levitsky. Belladonna* started as a reading and salon series at Bluestocking’s Women’s Bookstore on New York City’s Lower East Side. In June 2000, in collaboration with Boog Literature, Belladonna* began to publish commemorative “chaplets” (defined as short chapbooks of immediate writing or work-in-progress) of the readers’ work. This series continues today and has reached well beyond #200.
Since 2012, Aeon has established itself as a unique digital magazine, publishing some of the most profound and provocative thinking on the web. We ask the big questions and find the freshest, most original answers, provided by leading thinkers on science, philosophy, society and the arts.
Aster(ix) is a transnational feminist literary arts journal committed to social justice and translation, placing women of color at the center of the conversation.
Aster(ix) is a play on asterisk, star, splat, a wildcard. It’s the censored and omitted. It’s footnotes and to be continued. (ix) honors Mayan heart-knowing, the alignment with divine will, the torch bearer. We cast lines between the future and the past, the possible and the impossible.
17. Switchback Books
Switchback Books challenges gender inequity in literary publishing by producing and promoting books of poetry by women, including transgender women and all other female-identified individuals. Publishing exclusively women poets comprises a feminist act. We aim to change the unbalanced ratio of genders represented in literary publishers’ catalogs, making women’s voices and perspectives accessible to the literary community and the general public.
18. Deep Vellum
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, while facilitating educational opportunities for students of translation in the Dallas community, and promoting a more vibrant literary community in north Texas and beyond.
Barrelhouse is an independent non-profit literary organization. We are not affiliated with a university or writing program.
Barrelhouse is produced by writers for readers who are looking for quality writing with an edge and a sense of humor.
Barrelhouse bridges the gap between serious art and pop culture.
Barrelhouse is a biannual print journal featuring fiction, poetry, interviews, and essays about music, art, and the detritus of popular culture.
Barrelhouse is a web site that regularly posts new short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, interviews, book reviews, and other literary things.
Barrelhouse is a small press that puts out roughly two books a year.
Winner of the 2015 London Book Fair’s International Literary Translation Initiative Award, Asymptote is the premier site for world literature in translation. We take our name from the dotted line on a graph that a mathematical function may tend toward, but never reach. Similarly, a translated text may never fully replicate the effect of the original; it is its own creative act.
Our mission is simple: to unlock the literary treasures of the world. (Watch a video introduction of Asymptote here.) To date, our magazine has featured work from 121 countries and 103 languages, all never-before-published poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and interviews by writers and translators such as J. M. Coetzee, Patrick Modiano, Herta Müller, Can Xue, Junot Díaz, Ismail Kadare, David Mitchell, Anne Carson, Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, Ann Goldstein, and Deborah Smith.