Resources for Writers
erbacce poetry journal and erbacce-press; Liverpool UK
The word ‘erbacce’ rhymes with the word ‘apache’ and is of Italian origin; it indicates ‘weeds’ and as you may be aware; weeds grow where they like, they might even take over the garden.
That slightly anarchist attitude indicates the personalities of the two key-figures at erbacce-press; Dr Andrew Taylor and Alan Corkish who are each established poets and editors who also write reviews for other journals.
…erbacce-press sprang from the poetry journal erbacce. We (Alan and Andy) realised that there were many talented writers out there who deserved to be read widely; gutsy and original writers like Misti Raiwater-Lites and A D Winans and people with a peculiar experience of the world such as the English war-poet Tracey Currall and the Canadian Lynn Strongin with her unique insight into disability. Too often though poets are treated like some kind of ‘also rans’ in the art field; many people charge poets to publish their work, even journals with established reputations will have the audacity to ask poets for a ‘reading fee’ or an ‘entry fee’ when they advertise poetry competitions.
When we established our journal; erbacce, we were researching at Lancaster University and we started devoting half of each journal to ‘featured’ poets. We did this because we felt that many new poets should be read more widely and so we decided to have a go at publishing pamphlets and the occasional perfect-bound book; we only had one rule which we were determined not to break; ultimately the writer would get paid royalties on all sales …and yet we didn’t want to charge a poet anything to send their work to us. Difficult. We knew of no other publishing house that was doing that.
We began our new venture in 2004 and we had an idea that as we progressed the poets whose work was selling might make a contribution towards helping another poet to get started…
Initially we simply weren’t selling enough books from the site and so we chipped in £1,000.00 to nurse the project through the lean-times, having faith that in the final analysis poets whom we published might become members of our cooperative… and it worked!
About eighteen months into our project we broke even thanks to generous contributions from poets who were now making money from their own sales and soon after that the whole scheme became a true co-operative… now erbacce-press produces about twenty chap-books and a couple of perfect-bound books annually and more recently we have established the annual erbacce-prize for poetry which has a first prize offering publication of the writer’s collected works with a publishing contract paying generous royalties and ten free copies of the finished book (post-free) being sent to the author. We are now; we are proud to say; a true cooperative. Now when the money in the kitty tops about £200.00 we seek out a new poet and publish their work either as a chap-book or as a perfect-bound and all at no cost to the poet; in fact we pay royalties annually.
Alan and Andrew still give their services for free (typesetting, editing, sales and distribution etc.); no one makes a profit; every penny goes back to producing the next book or pamphlet…
We now think of erbacce as an international family fighting Vanity Publishers and maintaining a commitment to paying poets for their work… we’re kind of proud of that.
To submit work to us simply send us five pages (no more than that please) of your best poetry to email@example.com …send it as an MS Word attachment or in the body of an email together with a snail-mail address.
That’s all there is to it; send nothing else though and we’d advise people considering submitting to download some (free) copies of past journals from the erbacce-site to see the kind of work we favour and we tend to favour poetry which is radical in form or content (samples on the journal site) but we’ll consider anything at all, even single long poems.
To complete the democratic process Alan takes each submission and allocates to it a code number then removes the poet’s details entirely. The selection is then sent ‘blind’ to a panel consisting of literary academics and established poets; they then, not knowing who the poems have been written by, indicate whether in their opinion they should be published by erbacce. No favourites. No emphasis on established poets. New work and new poets welcome. If the selection panel like them then we publish them; simple as that.
That’s it; a new concept in publishing poetry; like the idea? Then become part of the family: www.erbacce-press.com