Foundlings Press is a literary publisher devoted to presenting, in print, the best writing. While the core of the Foundlings Press title list will always be devoted to contemporary poetry, the press also actively seeks and regularly publishes exceptional nonfiction, journalism, memoir, literary criticism, visual material, lyrics, and hybrid prose and verse works that defy categorization.
Though the press is adamantly without any tribal affiliations, its founding members took as their guiding ethic from Canon 1115 of the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church, which closes with the provoking observation that “Foundlings are to be presumed legitimate until the contrary can be proved.” Their aesthetic was best articulated by Coco Chanel, who allegedly quipped that “La mode se démode, le style jamais.”
The History of FOUNDLINGS
Foundlings began as a staple-backed poetry zine, born in the dorms of the University at Buffalo. The founding partners — Max Crinnin, Aidan Ryan, Darren Canham, and S. James Coffed — wanted only to find good poetry and to present it in a startling new context, a printed conversation of text and images that would be so appealing to hold and open that even non-readers and poetry skeptics would find some joy and good puzzlement in it. Featuring a small but eclectic group of mostly local writers, the first volume was released on the first of May in 2016 at a bar in North Buffalo, NY to a crowd that was enthusiastic, though made up to a significant degree of people who had not planned on hearing poetry that night.
In fall of 2016 Foundlings took a group of poets and other writers on a “political” tour of Western and Central New York and Southern Ontario, with stops in different cities on the dates of the televised presidential election debates. After the publication of two larger, perfect-bound, and more daring volumes, the Foundlings announced its first chapbook competition — promising a collaboration with a guest book artist a weekend artist residency at Buffalo’s Hotel Henry — and in March 2017 released the winning title, Lytton Smith’s My Radar Data Knows Its Thing. Meanwhile, S. James Coffed had moved to Los Angeles, where he opened a west coast “office” for the collective.
The zine became a magazine and the magazine became a press.
Foundlings also grew to include the imprint The Public Books, operated jointly with Western New York’s alternative weekly newspaper The Public. The newspaper launched in 2014 to present the smartest thinking on the whole spectrum of Western New York culture, from politics to film, from books to visual arts, from music to food and drink and more. The Public Books operates as the publishing arm of The Public, presenting full-length titles by frequent Public authors and associates.
We did not launch Foundlings for any single reason -- it is not a declaration, a manifesto, or a univocal protest. We pledge allegiance to no ideology or school. Like The "Irish Airman" of Yeats' poem, we followed a "lonely impulse of delight" up into the clouds. Whatever we've done since then belongs to the realm of the reader's interpretation.
We are fond of found text and images. We listen to other people's conversations, ready to catch and take in any cast off and abandoned language. We are in an open relationship with English.
While we will read any and every submission with interest and attention, there are some consistencies among the writers we end up publishing and promoting: They read; they revise; they are unhesitant; they do not posture; they do their best to tell the truth; and they have phenomenal ears.
Once a Foundling, always a Foundling. While our writers publish widely, and may give most of their pages to much bigger, better known, longer established presses and publications, we will work tirelessly to nurture their careers and to promote them for as long as we continue to read, write, publish, and talk about books.
We are devoted to the writers whose efforts throw off the heat that warms the living today, and to the writers whose accomplishments will throw off the light that guides the living tomorrow.
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Max Crinnin is starting medical school and residing in Buffalo. He is a bedroom song-and-dance man and a walker of near-Thoreauvian fervor.
A North Buffalo native and American handball novitiate, Aidan has published travel writing and arts criticism with The Buffalo News and CNN, music criticism in The Skinny, literary nonfiction in Traffic East, and feature-interviews in The White Review and Rain Taxi. He is the author of Organizing Isolation: Half-Lives of Love at Long Distance (Linoleum Press, 2017). An adjunct professor at Canisius College and a Teaching Artist at the Just Buffalo Writing Center, he is also involved with the board of Buffalo’s Irish Classical Theatre Company.
S. JAMES COFFED
EDITOR AT LARGE
MANAGER, LOS ANGELES OFFICE
S. James Coffed is an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA, and lives in Sherman Oaks. Along with writing, Steven is an amateur car restorer, musician, and racquetball enthusiast.