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P try All Year: The National P try Foundation
Judith Rosen -- 4/27/98
It's hard to imagine a more incongruous publishing house than The National P try Foundation. Besides being funded largely by bestselling novelist Stephen King, the NPF's list features Ezra Pound, one of the most anti-Semitic writers of the 20th century, and a broad list of Jewish p ts, including the definitive edition of verse by Louis Ginzberg, Allen's father.
The press was founded in 1971 as part of the English Department of the University of Maine at Orono. Of course, Stephen King (who happens to be a former student of the NPF's current director, Burton Hatlen) is a big benefactor to virtually every worthy cause in Maine; his foundation provides about $25,000 a year to NPF.

Besides publishing scholarly journals devoted to Pound, the NPF publishes books in three series: the Ezra Pound Scholarship series; the Modern P ts series, featuring critical volumes on the works of p ts such as Marianne Moore and William Carlos Williams; and the Ph nix P try series, which issues new collections, including John Tagliabue's New and Selected P ms, 1942-1997.

NPF is aiming for a larger trade presence this spring. Last June the press hired former Tilbury House publisher Mark Melnicove as sales manager and this January went from special order status to direct distribution via the University of New England Press. With a 10-book backlist promotion, UPNE got NPF's books into Borders and B&N for the first time, as well as into 50 independent stores.

NPF publishes about five books a year in print runs of about 1000 copies (800 paper and 200 cloth), but for Tagliabue's collection, due out this month, NPF is printing 2000 copies. Hatlen told PW, "We've managed to do a lot with very little resources. We have been a key in a network dedicated to making a space for radical, more experimental p try. We've made something important happen."
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