poetry collections...

January 1, 2013

Results of Our September/October Open Reading Period


Happy New Year! We hope your celebrations have been safe and your football teams have been victorious. Steel Toe Books is having a great start to 2013, our tenth year in business, which we expect to be our lucky year. Not only is Gabriel Welsch’s book, The Four Horsepersons of a Disappointing Apocalypse, at the printer and nearly ready for you to buy (with Romeo Bones by Ron Salutsky soon to follow), but we have just made a verbal agreement with Charles Rafferty to publish The Unleashable Dog, our selection from 156 manuscripts submitted during our September/October 2012 open reading period. Mr. Rafferty will be receiving a standard royalties contract including a $500 advance for this marvelous book, due to be published in early 2014. Rafferty reminds us of Billy Collins in his ability to imagine and develop quirky tropes; he reminds us of Andre Breton in the way he manages to make us believe in the impossible. The Unleashable Dog is a carefully, cohesively arranged manuscript. The poems are philosophical, intimate, artful, and at once clear and mysterious. Some of them have previously been published in fine journals such as The New Yorker, The Southern Review, Connecticut Review, and Poems & Plays.


We wish to make honorable mention of the following manuscripts that made it to the final round of readings:

Water Turning Red by Elizabeth Murawski

The Appropriation of Jane by Rita Martinez

Just Drive by Robert Cooperman

Stay by Kathleen McGookey

Dog Under Yucca by Cody Lumpkin

Sorry Motel by Amy Miller

This Hospitable Midst by Mark Simpson

This Sounds Like My Head Feels by Curtis Crisler

Broom by Joelle Biele


We could not have successfully waded through all of the submissions without the help of this year’s editorial board: Andrew Marlowe Bergman, Elizabeth Burke, Brittany Lee Cheak, Haley Edwards, Amy Lindsey, Joshua Johnston, Kristin Ryan, and Seanna Wilhelm. Thanks to them for performing a task that often feels thankless.


October 30, 2017

We are pleased to announce Steel Toe Books' most recent release, Street Calligraphy by Jim Daniels. Steel Toe Books acquired this title for publication in 2016.

Jim Daniels is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English at Caregie Mellon University, where he has been teaching creative writing since 1981. He is the author of seventeen books of poetry as well as numerous short stories and screenplays and the editor of multiple anthologies of poetry. His work has been featured in The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor, Poetry 180 with Billy Collins, and the American Life in Poetry series.

Street Calligraphy is, as poet Afaa M. Weaver says, "an honest and well-honed collection that will bring light to the lives it celebrates, our own." Aimee Nezhukumatathil calls these poems "moving and unflinching poems--brutal and brave." Daniels, a Detroit native, explores the city of the American Midwest, its concrete, factories, and graffiti: nostalgic, but not sentimental. "We never saw stars/above Detroit," he writes, "so why even look up?"

Street Calligraphy, will be available for purchase November 1, 2017, through Steel Toe Books (place an order here) and Amazon. For more information about Street Calligraphy or other Steel Toe releases, please view our titles here.

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