The feminist literary publisher Calyx Press of Corvallis, Ore., is celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer. While Calyx may not be thought of as an industry heavyweight, many of the writers whose careers it helped launch are Barbara Kingsolver, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Julia Alvarez, Natalie Goldberg and many more. Nobel Prize—winner Wistawa Szymborska's first published poems in English appeared in the press's journal, Calyx, in 1978.
The press began publishing Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women in 1976 and expanded into book publishing in 1986. The press has published 32 books to date, among them a series of multicultural anthologies, all of which it keeps in print.
Calyx cofounder Margarita Donnelly told PW, "We remain committed to developing new talent and publishing women writers whose voices might not otherwise be heard. Women of color, of other languages, working class and older women included."
As an independent nonprofit collective, Calyx relies on a shifting team of volunteers to help with the editorial and administrative work, while five paid staffers oversee operations, including grants and fund-raising. Calyx has received numerous awards, including the Oregon Governors Award, the American Book Award and the Pushcart Prize. Donnelly said that as larger presses continue to back away from possible midlist titles, the number and quality of submissions to Calyx has increased. "We publish work solely on the basis of merit, as viewed by our editorial team, not on our view of the marketplace."
Calyx has published nearly 200 women writers and artists. Several, such as Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, whose book of poetry Black Candle was reissued in a revised edition in 2000, will join the press this summer for a series of anniversary readings. Cracking the Earth: A 25th Anniversary Anthology from Calyx will be published in September.
Meanwhile, the collective plans to use the occasion to step back and consider possible funding and operating strategies for the future, and to continue "matronizing" the literary arts.