poetry collections...


Founded in 2003, Steel Toe Books publishes
one to three single-author poetry collections per year.


Our authors have been featured on Garrison Keillor's radio program, "The Writer's Almanac," on Ted Kooser's newsletter, "American Life in Poetry," as well as on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily.


Our books have been reviewed in fine publications such as Harriet, The Briar Cliff Review, The Comstock Review, Cranky, Diner, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Midwest Book Review, New Orleans Review, Poet Lore, Rattle, Review Revue, Rhino, Small Press Review, and Verse.


Our books are professionally designed and printed. We read unsolicited submissions during advertised open reading periods only. Check the "Submit" page for updates.


Bookstores and educators interested in placing bulk orders at a discount should click here for more information.


We encourage our authors to give readings. Our authors may post upcoming readings on our Facebook page. Join our Facebook page by liking us.


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Results of Fall 2014 Open Reading Period

I am pleased to announce that Steel Toe Books has acquired rights to publish Marci Rae Johnson’s second full-length collection, Basic Disaster Supplies Kit. Congratulations to Marci, whose book will be published in 2016. (STB also offered a contract to Allison Campbell for her manuscript, Encyclopedie of the Common & Encompassing, but we lost a protracted bidding war with another publisher. Congratulations to Allison. I look forward to seeing her book in print.)

Steel Toe Books received 142 manuscripts during this open reading period, many of them amazing. STB would like to make honorable mention of the following manuscripts, all of which made it to the third and final round of screening:

Dark Specter by Neil Carpathios
In the Brittle Body by Susan Cohen
Sad Math by Sarah Freligh
God Appears as a Weeping Beech Tree by Frannie Lindsay
One Good Blow by Robert Lunday
Breaking News by Nicole Santalucia
Threads by Peter Serchuk
A Terrible Monster by Laura Madeline Wiseman

I would like to thank the many volunteer screeners who helped out this year. They turned what could have been a monumental task into a manageable one. This year’s first round screeners were David Carter, Mar’nitka Coleman, Noah Frederick, Kaycee Hill, Eryn Karmiller, David Langdon, Matthew Langston, Kyle Marshall, David Price, Kalyn Stewart, Anthony Thon, Marissa Tompkins, Matthew Wiley, and Katie Zdunek. Second round screeners this time were Ralaina Hunley, Dori Norman, Addison James, and Amanda Vickous.

It took a bit longer to sift through the manuscripts than normal. Sorry about that. My day job has been very hectic. Western Kentucky University is starting a new residential two calendar year MFA program in Creative Writing, with the first class entering in Fall 2015. Also, WKU is hiring two new tenure-eligible creative writing faculty members: a fiction writer and a scriptwriter. Working on the MFA proposal and chairing the two search committees has kept me pretty busy.

While you’re waiting for Basic Disaster Supplies Kit by Marci Rae Johnson, be sure to pick up a copy of The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy by Christopher Citro, due out in March 2015.

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