Criticism & Features


Small Press Spotlight: I HEART Poetry Chapbooks

By Rigoberto Gonzalez


A tradition of the Small Press Spotlight series is to call attention to the chapbook. They don’t take too much space on the shelf, their spines are easy to overlook, but these rare edition (and quite affordable) keepsakes are labors of love worth owning. Here are a few that have found a home in my ever-growing collection:


Little Spells, GOSS 183 Press


Publisher Didi Menendez has worked hard over the years to produce her popular print and online magazines OCHO & MiPoesias, which has featured special themed chapbooks on occasion. This stand-alone chapbook of poetry by the Cuban-American poet Emma Trelles marks yet another venture for the industrious poet/ artist/ editor based in Florida.


Disappears in the Rain, Parlor City Press


Winner of The Broome Review 2009 Chapbook competition (recently renamed The Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry), this is Matthew Thorburn’s gorgeous poetic response (loosely based on the renga) to a recent journey through Japan. For a more comprehensive list of poetry chapbook contests, click here.


Chamoru Childhood, Achiote Press


Edited by Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Victoria-Lola M. Leon Guerrero, and Craig Santos Perez, these writings by three generations of Chamoru people provide an important glimpse into the life and culture on the Mariana Islands and Guam.


Flood Year, Dancing Girl Press


Since 2004 (and with approximately 50 titles and counting), this independent press has worked hard to promote the work of emerging women writers. This recent chapbook authored by Sara Tracey, a poet based in Chicago, speaks to the pleasant discoveries to be found in the pages of these projects. 


A Field Guide to the Intractable, Small Anchor Press


I love this phrase in the press’ mission statement: “By preserving handmade production, we hope our chapbooks will impart an “aura,” whereby the reader handles the story or poem with extra care and attention.” This most recent art-object is in collaboration with award-winning poet Kimiko Hahn.