Illustration by Naoko Fujimoto for Backbone Press

About Us

Mission Statement

Backbone Press has been publishing diversely since 2012. We debut and support writers who are considered marginalized voices and whose work may not be published elsewhere. Our press was started as a response to the bleak state of diversity in publishing. We believe, in art, but certainly the literary arts, every voice is essential. Without the political, protest, diasporic, voices of the poor, and even prison writing we have no distinctions. Our publications are necessary bridges, particularly in terms of generational, gender, and racial lines. In addition to informing, they engage us in broader cultural conversations.

Who We Are

Our authors are emerging & established poets. Works that appear in our chapbooks have been published in Prairie Schooner, Poetry Magazine,, Tupelo Quarterly, Chicago Quarterly and elsewhere. Additionally, several of our authors have won national book awards, including: The APR Honickman Book Award and The Sexton Prize for Poetry.

Why Chapbooks?

To us, they are tiny, functional works of art carved from cultural experiences, myths, and truth seeking. A perfect fit for our publishing capacity and our readership. If you are interested in publishing with us, we strongly suggest you browse our catalog or purchase our publications prior to submitting a manuscript. Currently, we do not consider full-length book submissions or genres outside of poetry.


Founder and Managing Editor | Crystal Simone Smith

Associate Editors | Adrienne Christian, Jonathan Farmer, Daniel Romo, Shannon Ward

Press Reviews | Entropy, Best American Poetry: Meet the Press, In The Margins Podcast