"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Small Press Spotlight: San Diego's City Works Press


This weeks Press Spotlight is on City Works Press out of San Diego

The publishers of Rita and Julia by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Atacama Poems by Adrian Arancibia, Vox Saxophonos by Luis Omar Lopez, San Diego City Works Press is an independent press in San Diego, California.

The press started as a publication of City Works, a journal for poetry, fiction, prose, and artwork of City College students as well as work by local and national writers. After ten years of publishing, they thought it was time to create a small press, in 2003 they formed the San Diego Writers Collective, a group of City College faculty and writers and arts supporters from all around San Diego. Though sprung from City College, they funded it through local support.

The press' interests include local, ethnic, and border writing as well as formal innovation and progressive politics.  

 "Our purpose is to put out both first chapbooks by talented student writers and novels, creative non-fiction, and collections of short fiction and poetry by professional writers. We are not bound by commercial considerations nor are we looking to mimic the world of academic publishing. City Works Press is committed to creating a literary culture in a city where no press dedicated to the publication of local writing exists," states their mission.

City Works Press says its a "collective" in that they all contribute part of the funds and labor that go into each publication and the money made from their sales goes toward the publication of subsequent books.  

You can see their writing submission by clicking HERE .

They started the Ben Reitman Award. This is a cross-genre competition for emerging writers who have not yet been published. The winner of the award gets up to 200 pages of their poetry, fiction or non-fiction published and distributed with an initial 500-1,000 copy run.

Here are a few books from this press:

Lavanderia: A Mixed Load of Women, Wash, and Words
Edited By: Donna J. Watson, Michelle Sierra, and Lucia Gbaya-Kanga

This anthology initiates us into one of the most sacred domestic rituals of our mundane world—the purging of physical and psychic stains, or the art and work of doing laundry. The writers' voices rise above the sounds of washing machines, non-televised daytime dramas, and laughter. Removing the clothespins from their mouths, these women reveal their secrets, fears, loves, and regrets in poem and story form. As finely detailed as the vintage sleeve of a rummage sale find, the work in "Lavanderia" brings the circle closer to home as you find yourself nodding and remembering and thanking every woman who ever sat next to you in a laundromat and made conversation.

Peeping Tom Tom Girl
By Marisela Norte

Peeping Tom Tom Girl is the first collection of poetry by Marisela Norte, the incredible and audacious spoken word poet from Los Angeles. Winner of San Diego City Works Press's Ben Reitman Award, this collection of Norte's poems takes her readers on fantastic journeys into the heart and soul of what it means to be Chicana, human, a woman in 21st Century Southern California. 

Rita and Julia
By Jimmy Santiago Baca
Rita and Julia is an extraordinary collection of poetry that takes the reader from the depths of despair through outrage to transcendent joy. In these searingly intense poems, Baca inhabits the subjects of his poems and makes them sing.

Atacama Poems
By Adrian Arancibia
Long before maquiladoras and transnational migrations, there were pampinos who worked mines owned by American companies in Latin America. Their lives are inspirations, their toils directions of where the spirit can survive. Atacama Poems offers reminders of the importance of fulfilling dreams and remembering those who made them possible. A multi-generational family album, where voices carry like echoes.

A groundbreaking and innovative collection of San Diego/Tijuana writing edited by Jim Miller co-author of Under the Perfect Sun featuring:  Jimmy Santiago Baca, Mike Davis, Marilyn Chin, Steve Kowit, Sandra Alcosser, David Reid, Mark Dery, Victor Payan and Perry Vasquez, minerva, reg. e. gaines, Adrian Arancibia, Hal Jaffe, Sue Luzzaro, Jimmy Jazz, and many more…
  "Here is a chance, with Sunshine/Noir, to discover a new bright world of writing.  Bravo!”
 - Ray Bradbury

"At one time, borders were a challenge.  They were part of nature; rivers, mountains, and passes. And humans accepted this challenge with a spirit of adventure, magic, and mystery.  But now our borders are man-made and we demand that no one cross them. Yet, in reading the stories found in Sunshine/Noir, maybe we can re-learn that there is still great magic, adventure and mystery, when we dare to cross these modern borders."
 - Victor Villaseñor, author of Rain of Gold, and, Burro Genius: A Memoir

Vox Saxophonos
Luis Omar Lopez
A surreal rant.  Vox Saxaphonos is Dada poetry for the postmodern age.  Luis Omar Lopez has written "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" like T.S. Eliot in the midst of a psychotic break.


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