A Message from the Publisher
Onward and Upward

Over four years have passed since John Martin, the founder and for thirty-six years the publisher of Black Sparrow Press, closed down his shop in Santa Rosa, California and entrusted David R. Godine with keeping Black Sparrow’s offerings available to the trade and to the public.

In the fall of 2002, Black Sparrow Press became Black Sparrow Books, an imprint of David R. Godine, Publisher, under the direction of Christopher Carduff, consummate editor and publisher. Chris Carduff’s steady hand at the helm and keen vision kept Black Sparrow’s best-selling titles in print and the house's spirit alive through judicious acquisitions.

The first Black Sparrow Books title—Mirage, a novel by Bandula Chandraratna—was published in September 2003, followed by a reissue of The Exquisite Corpse by Alfred Chester and new collections by Wanda Coleman, Clayton Eshleman, Robert Kelly, and Ed Sanders—all five writers long associated with the Black Sparrow name.

Over the next three years, Carduff acquired and edited new titles that complemented and expanded upon the literary aesthetic of Black Sparrow Press. He published Isobel English’s exquisite novel Every Eye; he collected for the first time in one volume the fiction of Kenneth Burke, better known for his criticism as the “American Coleridge”; he made available once more the complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff, 1918-1975; and he revived and republished the work of veteran Hollywood screenwriter and novelist Daniel Fuchs in The Golden West: Hollywood Stories and The Brooklyn Novels.

While Chris has set sail for new horizons, thanks to his efforts we are looking forward now to the publication of more Reznikoff—one of the great long poems of the late 20th century—Holocaust, to another Alfred Chester novel, Jamie Is My Heart’s Desire, and to a reprint of D.H. Lawrence classic Birds, Beasts, and Flowers! in an edition that re-sets the text in the format of the first edition (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1923) and restores several "indecent" lines suppressed by the original publisher.

You will find these books announced on the “new and noteworthy” page of our website. You will also find the covers and detailed descriptions of all titles, new and old, by clicking on authors’ names in blue in the left-hand column of the website or by searching by title or author.

The original Black Sparrow Press was named after “the most common trash bird,” according to John Martin, “which people try to eradicate, poison, frighten away,” but which survives. Not only did this tenacious bird survive its flight across the country, it seems to be flourishing, even in this harsher New England clime.

—Susan Barba, editor and publisher

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David R. Godine, Publisher

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