While we genuinely admire their dedication, we were rather surprised to read that Michael O'Leary and Devin Johnston think that "there are a lot of good presses in Chicago, but most of them are associated with universities, except for the Guild Complex" [October 26]. I think they should know that while there are a handful of university presses there are many more independent presses in Chicago. There's us, for example, perhaps the city's largest and oldest independent press; and there are well-regarded houses like Ivan Dee, Lake View Press, Lake Claremont Press, Dalkey Archive, as well as Chicago Review Press, Passport Books, Albert Whitman, Rand McNally, Surrey Books, Third World Press, Tia Chucha Press, Fitzroy Dearborn, Contemporary Books, etc, etc.
Most of them don't publish poetry, it's true, but there are a number of small, independent presses that do.
We all get taken up, not to say overwhelmed, by our own concerns, but it might comfort the two fledgling publishers to know that there are more colleagues struggling to get their own work noticed in Chicago and elsewhere (not an easy task) than they might think. Good luck to us all.
Anita and Jordan Miller
Academy Chicago Publishers
Martha Bayne replies:
In the conversation the quote above was taken from, Johnston and O'Leary were specifically addressing the scarcity of independent poetry presses in Chicago. Sorry if the context--or lack thereof--led to any misunderstanding.