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© 2006, West End Press
About West End Press
West End Press is a publisher of multicultural and working class poetry, drama, and fiction.
Most of our books are oriented toward social change, though we don’t define ourselves according to a single political category. We don’t believe there’s a dichotomy between literature and politics, and we believe all art has political overtones.
We believe that literature contains powerful symbols capable of transforming reality. We see promise in the fusion of old and new cultures, recognizing social, political, and personal change as essential to rescue us from worldwide exploitation and alienation. We believe not only that the personal is political, but the political is personal—that progressive art must be brought to individual awareness. We believe that all people should be able to develop their own cultures in freedom, with tolerance for others and consideration of the natural world around them.
Since its founding in 1975, West End Press has published progressive, working class, and regional poetry, drama and fiction, with a concentration on women and multicultural U.S. writers.
A Brief History
We have been in business for 30 years and have published 112 titles. We have published, and are guided in part by the examples of authors such as Meridel Le Sueur, Pablo Neruda, Thomas McGrath, Sharon Doubiago, Cherrie Moraga, Luci Tapahonso, Laura Tohe, and Joseph Bruchac. Others who have inspired and helped us along the way include Adrienne Rich, Joy Harjo, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Linda Hogan, and Carolyn Forche.
We have made a special effort to publish first-time writers and collections of work from selected communities. More than one-third of our writers are first-book authors. We have published collected works by single authors including Olga Cabral and Paula Gunn Allen, and anthologies of writings from Nicaragua, Los Angeles, Boston, and steel workers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
We look forward to publishing relevant writing for the new century, writing that will capture the rhythm and substance of people’s art, music and culture and reflect the growth of an international culture. In an era when American interests seem to be narrowing, we wish to present an alternative vision of possibility and creativity for the future. We invite you to join us in that effort as writers, teachers, public intellectuals, and participating audience.
In the future we hope to represent a more global culture, and acknowledge indigenous music and art as well. We hope to recognize artists from Caribbean, Arabic, African and Asian cultures. We will work with other publishers to reach a broader audience by electronic means and through grassroots organizations for social change. We aim for the production of books, the electronic reproduction of art and music, an arts newsletter, and an archival department including the republication of otherwise unavailable works.
The West End Bar, located on Broadway across the street from Columbia University, was the origin site of West End Magazine (1971). The name was carried over to West End Press, founded in 1976.
John Crawford, editor and publisher of both the magazine and the press, frequented the bar while completing graduate studies at Columbia—along with a variety of philosophers, poets, raconteurs and friends.
The bar has survived several changes of ownership and, Crawford reports, retains many of the old seats and tables upon which ideas were debated and poems shouted back and forth over the years.