Thursday, May 06, 2010


Here is a letter from poet Miriam Levine about the announcement that SMU PRESS is to close June 1, 2010:

The decision to destroy SMU Press is shocking and discredits the university. Since 1936 the press has distinguished the school, publishing books of lasting value, and more recently fiction that future generations will read long after the cheering fans at football games in the twenty-first century are dead.

Few editors give manuscripts the careful, intelligent, fearless editing my manuscript received under Kathryn Lang's sensitive, scouring and polishing hands. And few publishers produce such beautiful books.

The word “culture” comes from a word meaning cultivation, tillage of the soil. In cultivation of the soil and the arts, the tools must go deep. SMU Press went deep and produced rich results.

Surely everything cannot be about money! Four hundred thousand dollars, the operating budget of the press, is an insignificant sum compared to the university’s other expenditures. Surely there are other ways to save money. Up here in the north we turn down the thermostat and put on sweaters. What would be the equivalent action in Texas? The university must do the right thing and keep the press open.

All the best from Miriam Levine

Letter from the editor of SMU PRESS:

Dear friend of SMU Press:
Last Thursday Keith Gregory, director; George Ann Ratchford, production and marketing manager; and I, acquisitions and developmental editor, were summoned to a meeting with the SMU Provost, at which we were told that the operations of the SMU Press would be closed down on June 1, 2010. We had no hint or prior warning that this was coming. We have fifteen stranded new projects under contract and 130 other titles in print, effectively unsupported if this should come to pass.
Would you please e-mail me a statement in support of the Press ASAP (today, if possible, for us to take to our editorial board meeting—and later this week, if not)??

Many thanks,
Kathryn Lang

Senior Editor

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