A LETTER FROM THE EDITORS ON ORIGINS, AESTHETICS, AND INTERESTS.
Steel Toe Books entered the C&R Press family in 2020 as the small but mighty poetry press’s founder, Tom C. Hunley, looked to pass the baton. C&R Press acquired Steel Toe Books (STB) as a distinct imprint and looked to build STB by adding prose to the catalog. We launched a prize whose first two years featured well-known, independently published authors. C&R Press loved the STB ethos, its origins, the lovely, talented poets it selected to publish and their well-liked books. C&R Press editors Christine Gendy and, later, Benjamin Tyrrell, contributed mightily to both the preservation of STB and its growth and evolution, each of them serving as Director after working with C&R Press as editors for some time. At present, C&R Press and STB are run with great love by Andrew and John.
While linked as an imprint, Steel Toe Books has a different perspective than C&R Press, though there are certainly overlaps–we love good work! STB orients itself toward the personal story looking outward, seeing the world through the self’s interpretation, whatever that might be, often by the body through the body. With STB, we are interested in what we’ve come to describe as the New American Experience, in more message-based work, while growing out of the inherited blue-collar & exclusively poetry legacy. We look for well-crafted and polished work, work that grabs us emotionally, too. STB enters several indie awards with strong hopes of placing high and or winning. We publish poetry, essay, memoir, fiction (novels and short story collections) as well as chapbooks.
To STB, the New American Experience is a purposeful play on neo-Americana (Neo meaning New, and Americana, meaning artifacts of America’s culture) while opening the door to re-understand and extend the Americana concept with an eye toward inclusivity, toward the contemporary and ever-changing make-up of what we know as America, its vastness, its enclaves of immigrants and diverse groups of people, diverse thoughts, diverse experiences, and diverse ideas and interpretations. The New American Experience explores the history, folklore, or geography of individuals and communities through traditional and non-traditional lenses and includes all stripes, belief systems and cultures, criticisms and commentary, that expand our understanding and awareness. We seek to publish literature about the many far-reaching experiences of living together in one community in (if but sometimes fraught) solidarity.
We appreciate your taking the time to read up on our story and vision. We'll continue to discuss in our newsletters and on the website how we differentiate the properties, what we are looking for, our aesthetics and ambitions. There's so much great literature, so many lovely writers out there; we feel blessed to be able to publish 3-5 books a year with STB, for the opportunity to pursue and express a wide range of interests and literary tastes. Please stay reading.
Looking Forward and With Affection,
Andrew & John