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A Plea for Kevin Opstedal and Blue Press Books

The following news comes courtesy of Noel Black and Patrick James Dunagan.

Noel Black:

Dear Friends, the great West Coast poet and publisher Kevin Opstedal (Gas Magazine, Surf Zombie, Blue Press, etc.) is in a pretty major financial pickle right now and needs our help. Please go to www.bluepressbooks.com, buy as many of the amazing chapbooks (everyone from Jim Carroll to Joanne Kyger, Bill Berkson, et al.) that you can, and consider making an additional donation by clicking the DONATE link at the top of the page. You can also mail any unwanted books to him that he can sell online to 126 Washburn Avenue, Santa Cruz CA, 95060. We’d like to help him raise $4,000 to keep himself and the press afloat after a really grueling stint of unemployment during which he burned through his entire savings, retirement and many emergency grants. Kevin has published many of the greats, but he also gave many young poets, myself included, their starts. PLEASE SHARE THIS EVENT WIDELY.

Patrick James Dunagan:

Opstedal pretty much jump started things and showed much support for a number of younger poets and artists round San Francisco such as Noel, but also the likes of: Cedar Sigo, Will Yackulic, Eddie Berrigan, Micah Ballard, along with myself, and his avid support of the work of poet Lewis MacAdams is ongoing (he recently edited MacAdams’s Selected Poems Dear Oxygen now out from UNO press). Kevin also wrote a terrific historical record of BOLINAS and the poets who have lived and worked there that is up on a recent issue of Big Bridge. And although unemployed for the last several years Kevin has continued to publish the work of other poets. Any interest/assistance would be awesome.

I don’t know Opstedal personally, though as an editor, I feel the need to acknowledge my debt to him, as he was an early champion of both Cedar Sigo and Micah Ballard, whose work I subsequently published as the editor of City Lights Spotlight, thus reaping the benefit of his literary acumen. These are tough times all around, of course, and the list of poets in need is endless (if I told you what Sotère Torregian lived on every month, it’d break your heart). But rather than risk donation fatigue in the poetry audience out there, I’d simply ask everyone to check out bluepressbooks.com and, if you see something that interests you, buy a copy. $4,000 is a pretty finite sum in the grand scheme of things and if that’s what it’ll take to save a press and a person who’s already had an impact on American poetry and has been a generous advocate for both his elders and his juniors, maybe the community at large can cobble it together. Spare a little green for the Blue!

Originally Published: April 25th, 2012

Garrett Caples is the author of The Garrett Caples Reader (1999), Complications (2007), Quintessence of the Minor: Symbolist Poetry in English (2010), Retrievals (2014), and Power Ballads (2016). He is an editor at City Lights Books, where he curates the Spotlight poetry series. Caples was also a contributing writer to theSan Francisco Bay Guardian and has coedited the Collected Poems of Philip...