Sage Hill Press was launched in 2004 by Thom Caraway, then a graduating MFA candidate at Eastern Washington University. Through the tutelage of Lynx House publisher and EWU faculty Christopher Howell, Sage Hill soon became the distributor of L’Epervier Press and acquired it’s first title, James Grabill’s October Wind. Subsequent collections have come out from Mike Dockins, Alan Botsford, Marci Rae Johnson, Jeffrey Tucker, and Ben Cartwright. Sage Hill has also published Railtown Almanac, a Spokane poetry anthology, a follow-up prose anthology, and All We Can Hold, an anthology of poems on motherhood.
Sage Hill continues to publish collections and anthologies, and is still run by Thom Caraway. Other editors have included or will include Jeffrey G. Dodd (Railtown), Kate J. Reed (Railtown prose), and Emily Gwinn (All We Can Hold). Sage Hill also awards the Powder Horn Prize for outstanding first-book manuscripts.
Editorial statement from the publisher:
I find it annoying when editors say, “We publish the best work we can find.” Of course. It’s true, but also entirely unhelpful to aspiring poets. Still, I’m not willing to commit Sage Hill to a particular vision of what a good book will sound like. Early in the history of Sage Hill, I was largely interested in narrative poems that demonstrated various kinds of lyric intensity, as is evident in the Grabill and Dockins collections. But the meditative also has appeal, which is one of the reasons I loved the Botsford book so much, the way it interacted with, dwelt upon, and engaged the legacy of Walt Whitman. I’ve tried to select judges for the Powder Horn Prize whose tastes range sometimes drastically from my own, and have loved all the books that have been selected, though none are alike.
If a poem or collection experiments, the experiment should have discernible purpose. If the poem or collection is formal, the form should have a function. I often prefer poems that attempt or do transcend the limited context of the lyric speaker. I like poems that leap, in the tradition of the deep image, the Projective, and the surreal. I like poems that sing, that don’t forget to be poems, but also that don’t try so hard to be poems that the singing feels forced or inorganic to what the poem needs. I like collections that invite me in, give me work to do, reward that work, and toss me around the universe.
I often do not like poems that wink at me, hold me at arms length for no good reason, or try to be smarter than everyone else. I don’t like poems that think they are clever. I strongly dislike anything to which I might attach the prefix ‘bro.’
I doubt any of that is particularly helpful or concrete. Here’s a list of magazines and poets I like, who do really interesting things. If you like what happens in these magazines or in the work of these poets, then maybe Sage Hill will be a good fit for you.
Rock & Sling (I edit this magazine, so it will give you a very clear picture of the kinds of poems I prefer)
Contemporary poets: Susanna Childress, B.H. Fairchild, Katie Ford, Kevin Goodan, Tom Holmes, Christopher Howell, Dorianne Laux, Tod Marshall, Claudia Rankine, Danez Smith, Nance Van Winckel, Natalie Young.
20th century poets: H.D., Four Quartets T.S. Eliot, Paul Eluard, Jack Gilbert, Richard Hugo, Robinson Jeffers, Denise Levertov, Mina Loy, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, James Wright.