My publisher at Black Ocean, Janaka Stucky, has written on the press' blog a very thoughtful and comprehensive history of Black Ocean from its beginnings in 2004. He speaks of hearing me read in Austin (at an amazing group reading during the AWP conference) and soliciting The Man Suit that night, and how he was able to ride its wave into other projects.
What I don't want to get lost is that that wave has two sides. The Suit had been batted around in contests for 3 years before that night in Texas and I had already pushed it aside to start work on Scary, No Scary. Janaka and Carrie Olivia Adams reinvigorated my energy and confidence in the Suit, and were generous enough with their time and editing skills to make it twice as tight. Compared to what I can gather from other poets who have published books with small presses, Black Ocean spends an exceptional amount of time and energy being sure they get it right--not just in pre-publication, but also in post-publication. The Man Suit's success can be largely attributed to Janaka and Carrie's continued willingness to invest in its promotion. They didn't just publish it and move on to the next title, despite each of them having full-time jobs outside of Black Ocean. They still invent new ways to make it stronger, to promote it, Scary, No Scary, and their other dynamite titles, and they will continue to as long as they exist as a press. Thank you, Black Ocean, for taking a chance on me, for continuing to follow through on that chance, and for helping me trust that what I write is worthy.