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Coffee House Press’s Innovation Sparks MPR News Conversation


Chris Fischbach. Photo courtesy of Coffee House Press

Amidst cries that publishing is a dying industry, small houses like Coffee House Press are searching for new ways to evolve and grow in the changing field. Specifically, Coffee House Press is illustrating that publishing is in fact not dying, and can, in fact, be a powerful tool. On September 2, 2015,Β Euan Kerr for MPR News talked with publisher Chris Fischbach of Coffee House Press about the press’ new endeavors and how they are “shaking up publishing” with innovative programming and a new imprint.

Coffee House Press is a small non-profit and independent press that releases roughly 18 titles per year, ranging from fiction to poetry. As Fischbach said in the interview, they “connect readers and writers,” using publishing as a tool to promote the arts while also constantly searching for “different kinds of programming” to increase readership and promote authors works. For example, they developed a residency program called In The Stacks that places writers in various locations – such as libraries – to engage with their readers and create innovative work. Coffee House Press was also recently involved in the Walker Art Center’s annual Internet Cat Video Festival, wooing the crowds with the new title Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong. Fischbach said that the press strives to release books and create different programs that merge disciplines and “cross boundaries of race, culture, [and] form.”


Photo courtesy of Coffee House Press

One of Coffee House’s new ventures comes in the form of creating an imprint in partnership with Emily Brooks, a “feminist publishing project” located in Brooklyn. In a statement about the partnership, Coffee House Press explained that Emily Brooks is a “hybrid book club/bookstore/publisher” that delivers a handpicked books to subscribers once a month. As Fischbach said in the interview, both publishing entities are striving to create original works that “speak to the aesthetic excellence, experimental boldness, and social concerns of both organizations.” Coffee House Press refuses to listen when people say publishing is dying, instead focusing on pushing the boundaries of the industry to create something fresh and exciting.

If you want to connect with Coffee House Press in person and give them your support, be sure to stop by Housequake on September 21, 2015 at the Fulton Tap room, where they will be celebrating their fall releases as well as Chris Fischbach’s twenty years with Coffee House and his rise from intern to publisher.



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Holy Cow! Press Showcases the Many Moods of Lake Superior with MPR

Lake Superior anAmethystandAgated the city of Duluth are often home to weekends away and mini-vacations on the chilly, vibrant water. Visitors and residents spend hours in the magical area, searching the beaches for driftwood and agates and enjoying the scenery. The lake holds a special place in the hearts of all who visit and live nearby. In Amethyst and Agate: Poems of Lake Superior (September 2015) published by Holy Cow! Press, the editors Jim Pearlman, Deborah Cooper, Mara Hart, and Pamela Middlefehldt put together a stunning collection of poetry that captures the essence of the lake and shows off its different personalities. On August 21, 2015, Dan Kraker for MPR News took a look at the special poetry collection.

Amethyst and Agate is just as unique and distinctive as the lake itself. The editors and poets all share a deep connection with the lake and its fluctuating personalities. Poet Deb Cooper, Duluth resident and editor of the collection, shared her love of the lake with Kraker:Β “Every time I travel away from Lake Superior, I feel like I’m sort of going against my own gravity… there’s always that pull to come back here.” Poet Gary Boelhower reflected on the wisdom the lake holds:”The lake tells me over and over about humility and mystery and wonder.”

Jim Pearlman in his office. Photo credit: Dan Kraker

Jim Pearlman in his office. Photo credit: Dan Kraker

Holy Cow! Press is located in Duluth, Minnesota, and they have published more than 125 books. Founder Jim Pearlman still runs the small publishing company out of his home office, just like he did 38 years ago when he started the company. He is proud to publish one of the few poetry collections that is focused entirely on Lake Superior and its many moods: “The poems are magical, mysterious, and also reveal the mayhem that Lake Superior can be.”

The poetry collection is obviously a work of love for the editors and poets– Lake Superior holds a mystical power over them, and their admiration for the special lake shows on every page of Amethyst and Agate.


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