Sixteen Rivers Press

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Sixteen Rivers Press
Founded 1999
Founder Valerie Berry, Terry Ehret, Margaret Kaufman, Jacqueline Kudler, Diane Sher Lutovich, Carolyn Miller, and Susan Sibbet
Focus Poetry, Publishing
  • San Francisco, California
Area served
San Francisco Bay Area
Owner Collective

Sixteen Rivers Press is a shared-work, nonprofit poetry collective that provides an alternative publishing avenue for San Francisco Bay Area poets.


Founded in 1999 by poets Valerie Berry, Terry Ehret, Margaret Kaufman, Jacqueline Kudler, Diane Lutovich, Carolyn Miller, and Susan Sibbet as a shared-work, nonprofit poetry collective dedicated to providing an alternative publishing avenue for San Francisco Bay Area poets.[1][2] Sixteen Rivers Press was modeled after the Alice James Books collective, a Boston-area regional press created in the 1970s.[3] Named for the sixteen rivers that flow into San Francisco Bay, the press publishes books by poets residing in the Greater Bay Area region.

Sixteen Rivers Press continues as one of the longest-running and most successful collective presses in the United States, having published thirty collections of poetry. Its authors have won prizes in poetry and translation, National Endowment for the Arts and other grants, honors in various genres, and have published books with other presses—in poetry, fiction, architecture, education, psychology, and other nonfiction.[4][5]

Press operations[edit]

Editorial structure[edit]

Sixteen Rivers Press chooses manuscripts via an annual “blind” selection competition, the collective's membership participating in that selection. Poets whose manuscripts are chosen for book publication commit to working with the press for a term of three years, their book appearing during the second year of that term. Many writers have chosen to stay active in the press past the requisite three-year term.

Although the press operates with a nonprofit board, it uses a consensus model of decision-making.


Sixteen Rivers Press is a US 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. The press employs no paid staff. Money to publish new books comes primarily from sales of the previous year’s books, augmented by donations, grants, and fundraisers.

Since 2005,through the generosity of particular supporters and featured poets, Sixteen Rivers has held annual fundraiser evenings. Featured poets at those fundraisers have been Philip Levine, Eavan Boland, Al Young, Ilya Kaminsky, Brenda Hillman, Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Mark Doty, Kay Ryan, and Camille Dungy.

In 2009 and 2012, Sixteen Rivers Press was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts with Access to Artistic Excellence grants. Grants have also come from The Koret Foundation, The Whitney Foundation, Yellow House Foundation, and others.[6]

Special projects[edit]

In 2007, Sixteen Rivers Press released a CD, Naming the Rivers, featuring poetry read by poets published by the press prior to that year.

In 2009, Sixteen Rivers Press released The Place That Inhabits Us, a wide-ranging anthology of poems by non-members that explores different aspects of life within the San Francisco Bay Area and that area’s effect on poets’ lives and consciousness. Former United States Poet Laureate Robert Hass wrote the foreword to the volume. The anthology is currently in its third printing.

In 2011, Sixteen Rivers Press initiated its Under Forty chapbook series, a publication competition for writers under the age of forty. The first chapbook selected was Judy Halebsky’s Space/Gap/Interval/Distance. The second was Miriam Bird Greenberg’s All night in the new country.

In 2013, Sixteen Rivers Press published its first book of translations, I Know/Je Sais'' by French writer Ito Naga, translated by the author and press member Lynne Knight.


Nonprofit Board Members[edit]

Current Sixteen Rivers Press Nonprofit Board Members include Margaret Kaufman, Lynne Knight, Jacqueline Kudler, and Carolyn Miller.

Advisory Board Members[edit]

Current Sixteen Rivers Press Advisory Board members include Marjorie Agosin, Francisco X. Alarcón, Gillian Conoley, Ellen Dudley, Kathleen Fraser, Ruth Gundle, Brenda Hillman, Jane Hirshfield, Marie Howe, Joyce Jenkins, Diana O'Hehir, Kay Ryan, David St. John, Eleanor Wilner, and Al Young.

Collective Members[edit]

Current active Sixteen Rivers Press collective members include Valerie Berry, Stella Beratlis, Barbara Swift Brauer, Beverly Burch, Terry Ehret, Gerald Fleming, Margaret Kaufman, Lynne Knight, Jacqueline Kudler, Rosa Lane, Nina Lindsay, Carolyn Miller, Lisa Robertson, Erin Rodoni, Murray Silverstein, Jeanne Wagner, Gillian Wegener, and Helen Wickes.

Book sales[edit]

Sixteen Rivers Press titles are available from the press itself, Small Press Distribution, online outlets in the United States and internationally, and traditional bookstores. Ebooks are produced and distributed by Stillpoint Digital Press.



  1. ^ Rona Marech, "At Sixteen Rivers Press, the poetry flows freely," San Francisco Chronicle, August 2, 2002
  2. ^ "Do-It-Yourself Poetics,"
  3. ^ The Sixteen Rivers Press website "About Us" page, accessed July 2, 2010.
  4. ^ Poets & Writers
  5. ^ American Booksellers Association (2013). "The American Book Awards / Before Columbus Foundation [1980–2012]". BookWeb. Archived from the original on March 13, 2013. Retrieved September 25, 2013. 2004 [...] What I Stole, Diane Sher Lutovich 
  6. ^ NEA website Archived 2010-05-29 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]