The Press was founded by Alan Clodd in 1967. Sharing a belief with close friend Kathleen Raine in the "sacrificial stresses which seem to be the means by which the vision of outstanding creative spirits is enhanced for the benefit of their fellow beings", Clodd had little faith in the publishing mainstream. Since its founding Enitharmon Press has been distinguished as an independent press whose two major concerns have been the quality of its books (from paper and binding to typesetting and design) and maintaining a "wide-ranging literary culture outside the realm of agents, public relations and television tie-ins".
Under Alan Clodd's stewardship Enitharmon published over 150 titles. Some of the most prestigious include books by Kathleen Raine, David Gascoyne, Vernon Watkins, Samuel Beckett and John Heath-Stubbs.
In 1987, as he neared the age of 70, Clodd passed on the directorship of Enitharmon to Stephen Stuart-Smith. Alongside the poetry list, Stuart-Smith established Enitharmon Editions, now the leading British publisher of collaborations between distinguished artists and authors. Artists include Paula Rego, Gilbert & George, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jim Dine, Robert Creeley, R. B. Kitaj and Victor Pasmore, and authors Ted Hughes, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney and Blake Morrison.
The list of Enitharmon Press, while still specialising in poetry, diversified to include translations, memoirs, fiction and literary criticism. Poets published since the beginning of Stephen Stuart-Smith's directorship include Anthony Thwaite (collected works), UA Fanthorpe (collected works), Jeremy Reed, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Ruth Pitter Alan Brownjohn and Edwin Brock. The press has published first collections, and subsequent ones, by Martyn Crucefix, Jane Duran, Martha Kapos and Pascale Petit; memoirs from Michael Hamburger (Larkin, ISBN 1900564785), Anne Ridler (Eliot), Edward Upward (Auden and Isherwood), and Edmund White (autobiographical); and prose from David Gascoyne and Edward Upward, two veteran writers particularly championed by Enitharmon.