Friday, May 22, 2009

A Request from Tupelo Press

(This unedited message comes from the WOMPO listserv, from Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Levine. By unedited, I'm referring to the WOMPO references.)

At the invitation of Annie Finch, who founded Wom-Po, I joined the list seven years ago this month. Tupelo Press was then three years old and had at that point published women poets almost exclusively. As of this writing, we have published or have under contract 92 books of poetry, 61 by women, 31 by men. Those Tupelo books by women poets include 17 Wom-pos -- Annie Finch's Calendars, now in its second printing -- along with 16 other Wom-po books of startling originality, depth and beauty. Anna Rabinowitz, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Francine Sterle, Pat Fargnoli, Rachel Contrini Flynn, Kate Gale, Joan Houlihan -- and so many others.

Obviously, by word and deed, poetry by women signifies to me and therefore to Tupelo Press. We are in unbelievably hard times for non-profits. I don't honestly know how non-profits will survive the next few years without the dedicated and extraordinary support of others.

The good news: we have an unprecedented opportunity -- the pledge of a $30,000 donation from a single individual who cares deeply about our work and our mission. However, it's a "matching grant" situation. We, Tupelo Press, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, must raise matching funds in order to accept the donation. I do not want to lose out on this astonishingly generous gift, and so I'm throwing caution to the wind and looking to enlist your help and support. That donation will mean ALL the difference to us in getting through this depression.

As those of you who have participated in fundraising for non-profits know, on average, 80% of nonprofit funding support comes from individuals giving relatively small amounts. Hard to believe, but true. So, I'm challenging you to help us meet this challenge so that we can continue to discover and publish compelling books of poetry -- and in particular -- of books by women poets. If half the subscribers to this list contribute just $5, we'll have just about matched the grant. Your donation--in whatever amount--is tax deductible. The best part is, every dollar you contribute means two dollars to the press. (And, yes, subscriptions to our 2009 list -- 9 books for $99, count toward the matching grant.)

I apologize for making this appeal on-list. I've never done so before, but we have never had such extraordinary challenges , or such an extraordinary need, or such an extraordinary opportunity -- before. Our need is urgent, the opportunity so close at hand. Please consider the life-altering difference that collective support by Wom-pos will mean. The easiest way to contribute is by going to our donations page online at and pressing the Donate button. While you're on the home-page, maybe download for free the readers' guides to Annie Finch's Calendars, Karen An-hwei Lee's Ardor and Francine Sterle's Nude in Winter.

Jeffrey Levine

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