Monday, May 12, 2008
Women of Color Publishing
The new issue of The American Book Review (May/June 2008, Volume 29, Number 4) is especially interesting this month. Besides the usual stuff (which I almost always find worth reading), the issue's focus section is "Women of Color Publishing." In the introduction to the focus section, Alexis Pauline Gumbs quickly sketches the long history of publishing initiatives by women of color and then discusses the work of six WoC presses currently operation-- RedBone Press, Moore Black Press, Incite!, GirlChild Press, Hermana, Resist, and BrokenBeautiful Press. Here's a taste of her observations about the current situation:
Despite its rich history, the existence of the body of work that constitutes this Focus section is not an inevitable outcome of the tradition I describe. In fact, due to the vexed relationship of autonomous women of color publishing practices to academic and literary marketability, the stories I mention here are part of a suppressed history of women of color publishing in the US. The reviewers and publishers featured below are producing and theorizing a phenomenon with precedents that have been ignored, and enacting futures that may be forgotten. Historicizing women of color publishing challenges the ways we think about literary history and relationships to time in general. The presence of women of color publishing cannot be taken for granted. In the act of print, these women of color publishers stain the present with a rival archive of references while at the same time stamping the white space of this moment with the future they demand.
I so love that metaphor. I hope you can see why you should run right out and get hold of the issue. It's definitely worth taking the trouble to find.