3 Latinx Poetry Presses that Promote Equality
There are many literary presses in the United States that feature underrepresented voices and provide publishing opportunities for poets who experience discrimination or racism in the publishing industry; Latinx presses are one of them. Latinx presses are an empowering resource for poets who identify as either Hispanic or Latina/o. The term Latinx is gradually becoming the more accepted term among poets of Latin American origin or descent because it’s a gender-neutral term and doesn’t carry colonial connotations. While some people may find labels to be constricting, they are necessary in a world where true equality does not yet exist for Latinx voices and people of color.
While there are great literary presses and editors who do their best to maintain a blind submission process, presses are not immune to systemic racism, sexism, and heterosexism. When you submit to a literary press or magazine, you assume that any rejection you receive is based completely on the merit of your work. But that is far from the truth. In June, the Poetry Foundation received criticism for failing to respond with action plans to combat racism amidst the tragic homicide of George Floyd. Their own published poets, as well as fellowship recipients, also criticized the Poetry Foundation for not donating enough of its millions of dollars of funds and resources to support Black Lives Matter and underrepresented voices. There have also been serious accusations of nepotism. The Poetry Foundation responded to these accusations and criticisms in this letter.
We can use the Poetry Foundation’s mistakes as a case study. If we want the submission process to truly be based on literary merit, it’s important for presses to acknowledge systemic racism and nepotism and to actively promote the work of underrepresented poets. That’s what these Latinx presses aim to do: bring some kind of justice to the minorities and underrepresented voices facing inequality. Consider these three presses when submitting your manuscripts and poetry collections.
Promoting the work of Latinx poets and writers since 1994, The University of Arizona Press is “one of the first publishers to spotlight poetry, fiction, and essays from both emerging and established voices in Latinx literature.” They do this through the Camino del Sol series which has won many awards, including the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, two Before Columbus Foundation American Book Awards, two International Latino Book Awards, the Premio Aztlán literary prize, the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles National Literary Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry.
Some of the well-known poets they’ve published include Richard Blanco, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Ray Gonzalez. You can check out the breadth of poets and writers they’ve published in their anthology, and submit a manuscript here.
If you identify as Latinx, queer, or gay then this is the right place for your poetry. The majority of Korima’s published collections deal with Latinx identity, and some of them address racism and homophobia. Their About section states their mission succinctly: “Built on the Rarámuri tradition of sharing, Kórima Press is an independent queer Chicanx press committed to simultaneously providing a platform for, and amplifying the experiences, perspectives, and hopes of, queer and trans Chicanx and Latinx authors, and, creating artifacts for future generations to hold.”
Korima is a small press, but look at how many Latinx poets they’ve already published: Dr. Osa Hidalgo de la Riva, Cathy Arellano, Claudia Rodriguez, Jesús Alonzo, Joe Jiménez, Maya Chinchilla, Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, Dino Foxx, Joseph Delgado, Pablo Miguel Martínez, and Adelina Anthony.
If you’re a bilingual Latinx poet who likes writing poems in both languages then Veliz Books could be the home for your poetry. Check out their About page: “We seek quality and original literature from authors writing in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Veliz Books is also committed to publishing translations into English because we believe in cultivating artistic and literary connections that transcend geographical, cultural, and political borders.” If you already have a book written in Spanish, consider translating your work and submitting it to Veliz.
It’s important that Latinx people see themselves reflected in the movies they watch, the music they hear, and the poetry they read. Their stories are important, necessary, and a part of our American narrative. With these poetry presses illuminating their work, their stories will be heard and never erased from the canon of contemporary literature.