The mission of Conundrum Press is to give the Western Slope of Colorado a new voice. We are committed to publishing high quality books which bring our authors the larger attention they deserve.
|I founded Conundrum Press in the late 1990s after a poetry reading in Crested Butte, Colorado. The purpose of the reading was to bring together local politicians and poetssome of whom were one and the samefor an evening of thoughtful entertainment and discussion.
One of the participants read a selection from an essay called "The Sense of Place," which can be found in Wallace Stegner’s final volume of essays, Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs.
|The selection contained a passage that read:
Hearing that passage and looking around the room, I realized there was no regional publishing house to provide my friends with a collective voice. Conundrum Press was born.
The first volume was a volume of my own poetry titled The Elephant's Chiropractor, which was a finalist for the 1999 Colorado Book Award. The Geography of Hope: Poets of Colorado’s Western Slope quickly followed. It featured twelve regional poets and has now sold several thousand copies and is into a second edition. The success of that volume led to the publication of full-length manuscripts by some of the contributors, notably James Tipton's Letters from a Stranger, winner of the 1999 Colorado Book Award, and Mark Todd’s Wire Song. As the press gained more attention it also published Burton Raffel’s Beethoven in Denver and Other Poems. Eventually, Zsolt’s Living, Loving, and Other Heresies found its way to Conundrum. Although that book is a mix of poetry and prose, and is by a writer from New Mexico, the quality was so high that I felt it had to see print. So the platform of Conundrum Press has slowly begun to expand.
While its audience is small, the press aspires to create books that will stand the test of time. Our goal is to bring writers together with a public which seeks a voice in a rapidly changing and growing region of the country. If the books reach a larger audience, so much the better, as our poets and writers not only speak from this region but engage the larger world, in the tradition of other rooted but capacious writers like Frost, Robinson Jeffers, Wendell Berry, and Stegner.
One way to gauge the power of this vision is to take note of some of those who have chosen to introduce and support Conundrum's authors, a list already including Isabel Allende, Dana Gioia, David Mason, and Bill Moyers, among others. Through this web site and its books Conundrum Press seeks to identify and bring forward some of the best new writing in the American West.