I am a publisher, editor, and writer, advancing progressive political perspectives on a variety of platforms. I am interested in new media and new distribution systems for news and learning. While I mainly cover popular culture and progressive politics, I maintain a strong interest in science and contemporary fiction (including science fiction). I believe there is increasing crossover in the fields of science and culture, and that politics has a role, implicit or not, in just about everything we do.

I am a publisher, editor, and writer, advancing progressive political perspectives on a variety of platforms. I am interested in new media and new distribution systems for news and learning. While I mainly cover popular culture and progressive politics, I maintain a strong interest in science and contemporary fiction (including science fiction). I believe there is increasing crossover in the fields of science and culture, and that politics has a role, implicit or not, in just about everything we do.

Publishing and Culture: The Alchemy of Ideas

for The Oxford Handbook of Publishing
(2019, Oxford University Press. Michael Bhaskar and Angus Phillips, eds.)

Recent Work:


Publishing and Culture:
The Alchemy of Ideas

for The Oxford Handbook of Publishing
2019, Oxford University Press.
Michael Bhaskar and Angus Phillips, eds.

After a brief stint as a reporter for the Associated Press in New Orleans, I got my start in publishing at Barney Rosset’s upstart independent outfit Grove Press. That came about because of an abiding interest in Samuel Beckett: in 1983, I wrote my Princeton undergraduate thesis on Beckett (“Flight from Chaos”). Not knowing better at the time, I had sent Beckett a series of questions via his American publisher. Beckett graciously responded (to some, not all, of the questions). I received the English Department’s thesis prize, graduated cum laude—and stayed in touch with Rosset. Later, Rosset invited me to join Grove, which was then teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. I had a great time, and although I had planned to be a journalist, shifted my sights.

In 1987, I started the publishing company Four Walls Eight Windows with a partner. In 1991, I edited the book In the Realms of the Unreal: “Insane” Writings, with an original introduction by Kurt Vonnegut. In 1999, I was named a “chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres” by the French government (at the same ceremony at which Barney Rosset was named a “commandeur”).

In 2009, Colin Robinson and I founded OR Books, hailed as “a radical, exciting response to Amazonian hegemony” by the magazine Dazed; the company thrives to this day, publishing 20-30 books/year with a focus on selling direct to consumers over the web. It is committed to a progressive outlook, broadly defined, and has published authors such as Eileen Myles, Patrick Cockburn, Yoko Ono, and Douglas Rushkoff, among many others.

In 2010, while working at OR, I started the Publishing Institute at The New School, which I conceived of as a compact, less expensive alternative to the publishing courses offered by NYU and Columbia. I continue to teach and run the annual program there.

In 2017, the board of The Evergreen Review asked me if I’d take over as publisher. Evergreen is a legendary cultural and political magazine that Barney had started in 1957, primarily as a vehicle for Grove Press authors. In 1998, it went online, and with Barney’s death in 2014 it largely disappeared from view. Working together with the writer and critic Dale Peck as editor-in-chief (and occasionally acquiring and editing pieces myself), I feel I’m presiding over an impressive revival of a vital progressive cultural voice.

In 2019, I was the subject of a monograph published by Voyager Books Japan.

Over the years, I’ve occasionally found time to write articles here and there, primarily about independent publishing in places such as Publishers Weekly and the Journal of Electronic Publishing. In 2019, I wrote a 7,000-word essay entitled “Publishing and Culture: The Alchemy of Ideas” for The Oxford Handbook of Publishing (Michael Bhaskar and Angus Phillips, eds.). I am stepping down from OR Books in the spring of 2020 to devote myself full-time to writing, teaching, and Evergreen—but primarily to writing.

I have negotiated hundreds of contracts with agents, authors, and translators. I am familiar with all aspects of book publishing, including subsidiary rights, distribution, royalties, design and typesetting, printing, marketing and of course editing and acquisition.

After a brief stint as a reporter for the Associated Press in New Orleans, I got my start in publishing at Barney Rosset’s upstart independent outfit Grove Press. That came about because of an abiding interest in Samuel Beckett: in 1983, I wrote my Princeton undergraduate thesis on Beckett (“Flight from Chaos”). Not knowing better at the time, I had sent Beckett a series of questions via his American publisher. Beckett graciously responded (to some, not all, of the questions). I received the English Department’s thesis prize, graduated cum laude—and stayed in touch with Rosset. Later, Rosset invited me to join Grove, which was then teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. I had a great time, and although I had planned to be a journalist, shifted my sights.




In 1987, I started the publishing company Four Walls Eight Windows with a partner. In 1991, I edited the book In the Realms of the Unreal: “Insane” Writings, with an original introduction by Kurt Vonnegut. In 1999, I was named a “chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres” by the French government (at the same ceremony at which Barney Rosset was named a “commandeur”).




In 2009, Colin Robinson and I founded OR Books, hailed as “a radical, exciting response to Amazonian hegemony” by the magazine Dazed; the company thrives to this day, publishing 20-30 books/year with a focus on selling direct to consumers over the web. It is committed to a progressive outlook, broadly defined, and has published authors such as Eileen Myles, Patrick Cockburn, Yoko Ono, and Douglas Rushkoff, among many others.

In 2010, while working at OR, I started the Publishing Institute at The New School, which I conceived of as a compact, less expensive alternative to the publishing courses offered by NYU and Columbia. I continue to teach and run the annual program there.




In 2017, the board of The Evergreen Review asked me if I’d take over as publisher. Evergreen is a legendary cultural and political magazine that Barney had started in 1957, primarily as a vehicle for Grove Press authors. In 1998, it went online, and with Barney’s death in 2014 it largely disappeared from view. Working together with the writer and critic Dale Peck as editor-in-chief (and occasionally acquiring and editing pieces myself), I feel I’m presiding over an impressive revival of a vital progressive cultural voice.




In 2019, I was the subject of a monograph published by Voyager Books Japan.

Over the years, I’ve occasionally found time to write articles here and there, primarily about independent publishing in places such as Publishers Weekly and the Journal of Electronic Publishing. In 2019, I wrote a 7,000-word essay entitled “Publishing and Culture: The Alchemy of Ideas” for The Oxford Handbook of Publishing (Michael Bhaskar and Angus Phillips, eds.). I am stepping down from OR Books in the spring of 2020 to devote myself full-time to writing, teaching, and Evergreen—but primarily to writing.

I have negotiated hundreds of contracts with agents, authors, and translators. I am familiar with all aspects of book publishing, including subsidiary rights, distribution, royalties, design and typesetting, printing, marketing and of course editing and acquisition.

Some of the books I’ve most enjoyed having edited
or otherwise having a hand in publishing include:

Some of the books I’ve most enjoyed having edited
or otherwise having a hand in publishing include:

Chance: A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market and Just About Everything Else
by Amir D. Aczel

Fermat’s Last Theorem
by Amir D. Aczel

Cypherpunks
by Julian Assange et al.


Slaughtermatic
by Steve Aylett

A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern Iraq
by Fernando Báez

The Calculus Wars: Newton, Leibniz, and the Greatest Mathematical Clash of All Time
by Jason S. Bardi

Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism
Danielle Barnhart, Iris Mahan, eds.

The Tremendous World I Have Inside My Head: Franz Kafka, a Biographical Essay
by Louis Begley

Drone Warfare
by Medea Benjamin


A Narco History: How the U.S. and Mexico Jointly Created the “Mexican Drug War”
by Carmen Boullosa and Mike Wallace

Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution
by Andrew Boyd with Dave Oswald Mitchell

Southernmost and Other Stories
by Michael Brodsky

Sizzling Chops and Devilish Spins: Ping-Pong and the Art of Staying Alive
by Jerome Charyn

The History of Havana
by Dick Cluster and Rafael Hernández

American Poetry Since 1970: Up Late
edited by Andrei Codrescu

Dead Meat
by Sue Coe


Cruel
by Sue Coe

The Manchurian Candidate (reissue)
by Richard Condon, introduction by Louis Menand

The Enchanted Prince
by Robert Coover

Ribofunk
by Paul Di Filippo

The Steampunk Trilogy
by Paul Di Filippo

A Place So Foreign and Eight More
by Cory Doctorow

Cautivos: A Novel
by Ariel Dorfman

Flood!
by Eric Drooker

Mercy
by Andrea Dworkin


Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production
Kareem Estefan, Carin Kuoni, and Laura Raicovich, eds.

Corner Men: The Great Boxing Trainers
by Ronald K. Fried

Illuminated Poems
by Allen Ginsberg, illustrations by Eric Drooker

I, Goldstein: My Screwed Life
by Al Goldstein and Josh Friedman

Prospero’s Books
by Peter Greenaway

Chameleo: A Strange but True Story of Invisible Spies, Heroin Addiction, and Homeland Security
by Robert Guffey

The Best of Abbie Hoffman
by Abbie Hoffman

Steal This Book (reissue)
by Abbie Hoffman

Beat Generation
by Jack Kerouac, foreword by A. M. Homes

The Black Bedroom at Longwood: Napoleon’s Exile on Saint Helena
by Jean-Paul Kauffmann

Ivyland
by Miles Klee

The Wreck of the Batavia
by Simon Leys

Collected Fictions
by Gordon Lish

Dialogues on Consciousness
by Riccardo Manzotti and Tim Parks

Pride: Photographs After Stonewall
by Fred W. McDarrah, preface by Hilton Als

The Global Warming Reader
Bill McKibben, ed.

Angry Young Spaceman
by Jim Munroe


Inferno: a poet’s novel
by Eileen Myles

Welcome to Hell World: Dispatches from the American Dystopia
by Luke O’Neil

The New American Splendor Anthology
by Harvey Pekar

Bob and Harv’s Comics
by Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb

An Educated Man: Reading Moses and Jesus
by David Rosenberg


Rosset: My Life in Publishing
by Barney Rosset

The Evergreen Review Reader
edited by Barney Rosset

The Lifebox, the Seashell and the Soul
by Rudy Rucker

John the Posthumous
by Jason Schwartz

The Cockroach Papers
by Richard Schweid

Valentine
by Lucius Shepard

The Torture Report
by Larry Siems

What’s Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy
by Tom Slee

Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing
by Andrew Smart

Istanbul Istanbul
by Burhan Sönmez

Visionary in Residence
by Bruce Sterling

Flan
by Stephen Tunney

Pink Flamingoes and Other Filth: Three Screenplays
by John Waters

Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel
by Edmund White

Assuming the Position: A Memoir of Hustling
by Rick Whitaker

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (reissue)
by Sloan Wilson, introduction by Jonathan Franzen

Blood Splatters Quickly
by Edward D. Wood, Jr.

Fetish
John Yau, ed.