My name is Patrick Durgin and I founded Kenning Editions in 1998. Back then, it was a journal. Now, we publish paperback books. I say “we” because, although I am the sole full-time worker, Kenning Editions is really a community: of authors, designers, board members, and other co-conspirators. I say “conspiracy” because we strive to realize and make accessible books that most commercial presses and many independents would not consider viable. Viability has everything, for us, to do with quality and commitment. Our missions statement is this:
Since 1998, Kenning Editions has been exploring the tensions between aesthetic quality and political commitment. We are interested in poetry, poetics, art, drama, and hybrid genre literary and critical writing that is experimental in the fullest sense: formally daring and close to lived experience. We publish new and archival writing from the United States, Latin America, Europe, and elsewhere, often in translation.
As a 501c3 non-profit organization, Kenning Editions relies on the support of individuals—readers, really—to maintain this mission.
I am writing to you now to ask you to donate. If you do, you will support the publication of many new titles and also help keep back titles in print. Forthcoming titles include Zeroes Were Hollow, by David Larsen, and Tomatoes, by Nathalie Quintane, translated by Marty Hiatt, with a foreword by Juliana Spahr. Also in the works are new books by Charlie Markbreiter, Holly Melgard, Adalber Salas Hernández, and Connie Scozzaro. In collaboration with the performance company Every house has a door, we are publishing an ambitious three-volume set devoted to the plays of renowned American poet Jay Wright, with the first volume due this spring. A little further down the line is a selected poems of Elvira Hernández, translated by Alec Schumacher—whose translation of The Chilean Flag was long listed for ALTA’s National Poetry Award for 2020.
Here is what some of our co-conspirators believe:
There’s only one press I want to be working with in America today: Kenning Editions. They’re low to the ground and continue to operate with the DIY, mimeograph spirit they started with while, in the past decade, releasing some of the most pro-level, innovative work in the small-press sphere: Trisha Low, Ana Arzoumanian, Jesse Seldess, Laura Elrick, Pamela Lu. Who else is publishing Kevin Killian’s batshit bongo-party plays? This means that any level of donation helps; even five dollars could help them with printing costs for any one of their exciting upcoming books: Nathalie Quintane’s Tomatoes, David Larsen’s Zeroes Were Hollow, and two volumes of plays by Jay Wright.
—Devin King, author of The Grand Complication and There Three
Kenning Editions is the ideal home for Coronavirus Haiku. That we were able to edit, design, and produce such a gorgeous volume in such a timely manner during, and as response to, the global Covid-19 pandemic speaks volumes to both the hard work and social vision of Patrick and his fabulous co-workers. Kenning Editions is precisely the kind of independent publisher that needs to be supported in increasing amounts because the books they print are vital testaments to our times.
—Mark Nowak, editor, Coronavirus Haiku, by Worker Writers School
Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe was printed in April, 2020. This volume is unconventional in its form and purpose, lending insight into the pedagogical efforts of Audre Lorde. Dream of Europe compiles seminars, readings and interviews by Audre Lorde across Western Europe between 1984 and 1992, printed along with the poetry of Mari Evans, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Langston Hughes, Haki R. Madhubuti and June Jordan among other figures of American counter culture and the Civil Rights Movement. Dream of Europe was an ambitious editorial project, only possible by the lucid vision of Kenning Editions.
—Mayra Rodriguez Castro, editor, Dream of Europe
Want to help? Go to our website, Kenningeditions.com, and click “Donate?” Choose a level or name your own, and you will receive premiums, such as a subscription. We can accept checks made out to “Kenning Editions NFP” at 834 Columbian Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302. Already a supporter or subscriber? Then please consider telling a friend, even forwarding this notice, and continue to spread the word!