Here’s a reprint of our first entry…
This is the first, of hopefully, many newsletters to come that we can post regularly on the site. Some background to start: EM Press co-publishers/owners Ronald Maruszak and Mark Eleveld frequented a couple of classes together during their respective college days in Midwest-somewhere-Illinois. On and off as mutual acquaintances and bickering literature conversationalists, Ron and Mark hooked up again as high school English teachers in the fabled city of steel, Blues Brothers, and-most recently-river boats, Joliet. Enthusiastic about the opportunities of the classroom, but anguished in the restrictions of education, Ron and Mark sought other paths, assembling a line up of authors and books they loved, taught, and would be excited about dealing with. The fusion of Eleveld and Maruszak brought about what is known as EM Press.
Opening doors in 2000 with the guidance of Marc Smith and many of the literary in Chicago, EM Press has published four books of poetry and one double CD. Too date, all four books are in independent and chain bookstores around the U.S. Receiving favorable reviews from ALA Booklist and Kurt Vonnegut, our first poet-the walking ‘ear’Regie Gibson-is in bookshelves in Barnes & Noble with Storms Beneath the Skin. Our third book, Jack McCarthy’s, Say Goodnight, Grace Notes: New and Corrected Poems (with equally good reviews from ALA Booklist) is on its way to “the show” we call B & N. The others, we assume, to follow shortly. Our second book, Children of Kosen-Rufu, from the distinguished Professor George David Miller has recently graced the stage at the National Poetry Slam, and our youngest-and perhaps most interesting stylistically-poet Mike Kadela, author of the EE Cummings influenced 1 hundred hiccups, should be returning shortly from the Playboy Mansion in California.
E & M took a year off from official EM Press business (not really true, I suppose), to work on The Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip Hop and the Poetry of the Next Generation, published by (follow the thread here, we were contracted by another publisher to do THIS book) Sourcebooks Publishing out of Naperville, IL. Advised by poet Marc Smith, this is an anthology of contemporary poetry, essays, history, pictures, and CD recordings, narrated by the same poet Marc Smith. This book offers all of our favorite EM Press poets, plus the likes of Luis Rodriquez, Patricia Smith, Saul Williams, Viggo Mortensen, and U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, to name but a few. The book has done swell, selling over 30,000 to date, and receiving critical praise (some ‘nays’) all over the country and overseas. Along the way E & M were on WGN (radio and tele.), NPR (over 20 stations), NBC, in the Chicago Tribune, Publishers Weekly, ALA Booklist, etc. A fun-tiresome-ride, which has not ended.
As a result of our collaboration with Viggo Mortensen (very busy doing movies), E & M did a poetry show/book signing in LA, on Nov. 15 at the beautiful Beyond Baroque Literary Center. A stunning night of 300 plus people coming to enjoy live poetry by Marvin Bell (Iowa Poet Laureate), Mike McGee (2003 National Poetry Slam Champ), Patricia Smith (nominee for the Pulitzer, tons of bio…literally, tons), Viggo Mortensen (author of four books of poetry and co-publisher of Perceval Press, and some movies), Georgeanne Deen (yes, the incredible painter and equally incredible poet), Saul Williams (author of two books of poems, rock-hip poet emcee deity), and our own Regie Gibson (if he were an inch shorter, we’re certain he’d be walking on water). The show was a benefit for the now defunct, hopefully opening soon again, revolutionary bookstore Midnight Special; all held under the roof of Beyond Baroque, curated by John Dewey’s great-grandson Fred Dewey (this means tons to teachers and philosophers currently reading). Special, special night! Which leads to our most recent project.
EM Press collaborated with Perceval Press to publish the live CD from the Nov. 15 reading: “Live from Beyond Baroque 2.” Featuring all of the above named poets and some surprises. The CD is available.
Well, that’s it for the first newsletter. Thanks for reading, stay tuned. (It should be noted: In this small intern of EM Press existence, Ron has had two lovely baby girls, Mark has survived a tornado, and his wife birthed young Finnegan Eleveld six months ago.)
Us at EM Press.
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