Black Sparrow Press

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Black Sparrow Press
Parent companyDavid R. Godine
FounderJohn Martin
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationBoston
Publication typesBooks

Black Sparrow Press is a publishing company founded in Los Angeles, California in 1966 by John Martin in order to publish the works of Charles Bukowski and other avant-garde authors. Martin financed the start-up of the company by selling his large collection of rare first editions.

Black Sparrow Press is perhaps best known for publishing the work of Charles Bukowski, John Fante, and Paul Bowles. Many Black Sparrow Press titles have become highly collectible.[1]

Martin acted as publisher, as well as editor of many projects, though also worked with freelance editors regularly such as Seamus Cooney. Barbara Martin designed Black Sparrow covers and title pages between the late 1960s and 2002. The interior typography and printing of the multicolor title pages were the work of different printers over the years including the Plantin Press, Noel Young, Graham Mackintosh, Mackintosh & Young (the men's joint operation for many years). Once Black Sparrow moved to offset printed interior pages, those pages and the binding was handle exclusively by Edwards Brothers, Inc. The hand-binding of limited was done in the early years by Emily Paine, and then for many decades by Earle Gray Bookbinding Company in California.

When John Martin retired in 2002, Black Sparrow Press sold the publishing rights to the work of Bukowski, Bowles, and Fante to HarperCollins. Martin then sold the remainder of his inventory for $1.00 to David R. Godine, Publisher who adopted the name Black Sparrow Books for a short time before returning in 2019 to the original Black Sparrow Press. Godine is the exclusive distributor of most Black Sparrow Press titles other than Bukowski, Fante, and Bowles.

In 2010, Black Sparrow published Door to the River, a collection of essays by Aram Saroyan; Well Then There Now, a collection of poems by Juliana Spahr, and Cheyenne Madonna, a collection of linked short stories by Eddie Chuculate.

In 2019, Black Sparrow the press began a dramatic renaissance. In early 2020, the press released Wicked Enchantment: Selected Poems, the first new edition of work by Wanda Coleman since the author's passing in 2013; the collection is edited and introduced by Terrance Hayes. The press also published books by two authors who are new to the house: geode by Susan Barba (poetry) and Summer Solstice by Nina MacLaughlin (essays).

Selected authors[edit]

Black Sparrow has published works by the following writers and artists:


External links[edit]