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Nov 13, 2019 8:25 AM ET

INDIGO: New Poetry by Ellen Bass INDIGO will break your heart wide open. Stunning new poems by bestseller Ellen Bass, and a whole season of Copper Canyon books

INDIGO: New Poetry by Ellen Bass INDIGO will break your heart wide open. Stunning new poems by bestseller Ellen Bass, and a whole season of Copper Canyon books

iCrowd Newswire - Nov 13, 2019


“You may have to break/ your heart, but it isn’t nothing/ to know even one moment alive,” writes Ellen Bass in Indigo

Bring this transformational new poetry book to life! With your help, Indigo will be published by Copper Canyon Press in spring 2020 alongside nine other extraordinary collections.

Ellen Bass is a bestselling author and lifelong activist. We’re bringing her work to Kickstarter because we want to be sure the whole world knows about this national treasure—a poet who sees deeply and writes generously.

Ellen Bass, author of Indigo, Like a Beggar, The Human Line, and Courage to Heal

In IndigoEllen explores the duality of loss and exquisite tenderness that lives at the heart of almost everything. She plumbs the miraculous from the stuff of life—the grit of oysters, scrubbing mud from the knees of jeans, taking an old dog out in the night. And in a series of aching love poems, through the difficulties of illness and aging, the mundanity of marriage gives way to vivid and joyful sensuality.

like the pages/ of a love letter written thirty years ago/ that some aging god still reads each day

“Ellen Bass’s poems are surprising, tender, hungry and wide awake, fearless in their attention to every nuance of feeling.”

—Mark Doty, author of Deep Lane: Poems 

In Indigo, Ellen Bass offers the ragged, beautiful world her steady attention, her devastating precision. These are poems to be savored, graceful in their melding of the narrative and lyric, gorgeous in their complexity.

The title, Indigo, echoes an emotionally evocative, highly personal poem by the same name, originally published in The New Yorker and republished by The Academy of American PoetsThe key image in the title poem—a vividly tattooed young man—also inspired the book’s cover design. 

The book’s cover alludes to the title poem, “Indigo”

“What I love most about this book is its subtleties, the ways it plants in any reader the need to turn the page, to know more even if it means more heartbreak. You [will] hold in your hands the work of a sorceress at the height of her powers.”

—Jericho Brown, author of The Tradition 

Around sixty pages long, this paperback edition will be printed according to the highest standards, on quality paper, with interior and cover designed by Katy Homans. The physical quality of our books is one of the hallmarks of Copper Canyon Press publications.

“Ellen Bass, co-editor of the ground-breaking anthology of women’s poetry No More Masks! and [co-author of] bestseller The Courage to Heal, reminds us of the vast universe that poets create from small, sharply-observed moments.”

Lilith Magazine 

 Ellen Bass has published several award-winning books of poetry, including Like a Beggar, The Human Line, and Mules of Love. Her poems have frequently appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and many other journals. She coedited the groundbreaking anthology of women’s poetry, No More Masks!, and her nonfiction includes the best-selling The Courage To Heal. Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, three Pushcart prizes, and the Lambda Literary Award. A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she teaches in the MFA writing program at Pacific University, and lives with her wife in Santa Cruz, California.

Ellen at work in her home office, which looks into the garden.

“[The poetry of Ellen Bass] sings with the clarity of a single voice alone in a large concert hall and with the gravitas of a full chorus in the finale of a sold out opera.”

The Rumpus 

Ellen is a lifelong advocate for those who might otherwise go without a witness, including the LGBTQ community, survivors of abuse, and incarcerated people. Her compassion shows itself in the pages of Indigo

 There is abundant inspiration on every page of Indigo. To get a glimpse at what’s in store, here are links to a few poems:

Any Common Desolation

After Long Illness



A 3-D mockup of Indigo by Ellen Bass

“It would take many/ births to be done with the thatness of that.// Oh blame life. That we just want more.”

 from “Enough” 

 Your contribution will help publish Indigo and books by nine other authors this spring: 

Copper Canyon Press Spring 2020 Authors
  •  Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod by Traci Brimhall, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize 
  •  Obit by Victoria Chang, Winner of the PEN Center USA Award
  •  Deluge by Leila Chatti, a stunning first full-length collection
  •  The Park by John Freeman, Award-winning critic, publisher, and poet
  •  Muddy Matterhorn by Heather McHugh, MacArthur Fellow
  •  Shrapnel Maps by Philip Metres, Winner of the Arab American Book Award
  •  For Now by James Richardson, National Book Award Finalist
  •  Not Go Away Is My Name by Alberto Ríos, Inaugural Poet Laureate of Arizona
  •  Travelers Leaving for the City by Ed Skoog, Washington State Book Award Winner

When you back this campaign, you can choose from rewards including:

  •  A letterpress broadside for your wall, designed, type set, and printed at North Press in Port Townsend, WA, featuring the soaring poem Any Common Desolation. See the design below, and imagine that vivid splash of color in the title pressed into high-quality paper, filling the indented letters with fresh ink! 
  •  Your name, or the name of a loved one, printed in every first edition copy of Indigo. A wonderful way to honor your love of words, the legacy of Ellen Bass, and the transformational possibilities of poetry. 
  •  A SIGNED copy of Indigo 
  • A spot in a small—twelve participants, max—writing workshop with Ellen Bass. Ellen is a life-changing teacher. Treat yourself or a poet in your life to this experience. 
The letterpress broadside of Ellen’s poem “Any Common Desolation” has been designed and awaits production!
  •  And don’t forget—you can get Ellen’s words TATTOOED on your body, with a high-quality temporary tattoo from Tattly with Ellen’s gorgeous phrase, referring to the joy  of letting beauty in despite life’s pain: “that sudden rush of the world”. Read the whole poem featured in both broadside and tattoo: Any Common Desolation. 

We must raise $25k by December 11th in order to receive any of the funds pledged to this Kickstarter campaign. This amount will help move Indigo and our other Copper Canyon Press spring releases through the final stages of production and into distribution, but it is far from our total expenses. If (when!) we reach our goal, we will set our sights on a stretch goal—stay tuned for an exciting announcement at that time!

We are grateful to Ellen for joining us in raising awareness about the importance of supporting independent publishing and poetry. 

“If a poem has ever brought you solace, or made you feel that you’re not alone, or helped you get through the night, or made you laugh or see the world in a different way, then I hope that you will support Copper Canyon Press.” 

—Ellen Bass

As a nonprofit publisher of poetry, only half of our overall operational expenses are covered by book sales, so each pledge helps us to sustain our community-powered model of getting poetry into the hands of those who’ll benefit from it. We turn to our community (that’s you!) to help us continue to publish poetry that matters. Thank you for helping us get there!

 For more than 45 years, Copper Canyon Press has been operating as an independent publisher dedicated to poetry. Our nonprofit status enables and requires us to place art above profit, and creative freedom above the whims of the marketplace. We are able to operate in the name of aesthetic excellence and cultural relevance, specifically because you and other visionary community members share this value, which is essential to a healthy climate for the arts. Not unlike independent record companies and public radio stations, we rely on the support of donors like you, who share our belief that poetry is vital to language and living. The Kickstarter community in particular has helped us to publish major collections including Here: Poems for the Planet, Ursula K. Le Guin’s So Far So Good, Then Come Back: The Lost Poems of Pablo Neruda, The Essential W.S. Merwin, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s OceanicWe are proud to publish extraordinary poetry—in collaboration and community with you.

Poetry is vital to language and living. Thank you for believing in poetry’s power to influence culture and spark positive change.

Copper Canyon Press headquarters in Port Townsend, Washington

Risks and challenges

We are far enough along in the production process to excitedly anticipate spring 2020 released for INDIGO and each of the spring titles listed above. To get the poems to the masses will require a generous and supportive group effort from poetry readers and the Kickstarter community. Now we begin the work of reaching all the people we believe will feel inspired and empowered by the poetry of Ellen Bass and other Copper Canyon authors—we can do this together!

Contact Information:

Copper Canyon Press

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