Common Ground

Publishing-in-Transit: Ugly Duckling Presse

Editors and Writers in Conversation


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Writer and literary critic Cole Swensen joins Ugly Duckling Presse cofounder Matvei Yankelevich alongside authors Mónica de la Torre and Rachel Levitsky for a conversation on literary publishing. We open with readings by de la Torre and Levitsky and conclude with a poetry reading by Yankelevich.

In this talk

Publishing-in-Transit is a new monthly series celebrating contemporary literary editors, all of the often-unrecognized work that they do, and the community-based and conversational nature of contemporary innovative literary publishing.

View our first installment featuring New York Review Books →

View our second installment featuring Tender Buttons Press →

View our third installment featuring New Directions →

Cole Swensen

A black and white photo of poet Cole Swensen.
Photo by Anthony Hayward
Cole Swensen is the author of 20 volumes of poetry, most recently And And And (Shearsman Books, 2023), which was long-listed for the Griffin Poetry Prize, and a collection of critical essays, Noise That Stays Noise. A book of hybrid poem-essays, Art in Time, was published by Nightboat in 2021. A former Guggenheim Fellow, she has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the LA Times Book Award and has been awarded the Iowa Poetry Prize, the SF State Poetry Center Book Award, and the National Poetry Series. She has also translated over 20 volumes of poetry, prose, and art criticism from French and won the 2004 PEN USA Award in Literary Translation.

Matvei Yankelevich

A portrait of Matvei Yankelevich
Poet, translator, and editor, Matvei Yankelevich’s book include Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt (Black Square 2015), Alpha Donut (United Artists 2012), Boris by the Sea (Octopus 2009), Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook 2009), and, most recently, the chapbook From a Winter Notebook (Alder & Frankia 2021). In the 1990s, he co-founded Ugly Duckling Presse, where he produced a variety of books, chapbooks, periodicals, and broadsides, co-edited 6x6 magazine, and curated the Eastern European Poets Series. He teaches translation and book arts at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

Mónica de la Torre

A photo of poet and writer Mónica de la Torre in front of bookshelves.
Bruce Pearson
Author of six books of poetry of which the most recent is Repetition Nineteen, published by Nightboat Books in the spring of 2020. Others include The Happy End/All Welcome—a riff on a riff on Kafka’s Amerika— as well as Public Domain. Born and raised in Mexico City, she has lived in NYC since mid-’90s and has published several books in Spanish, including Taller de Taquimecanografía, written jointly with the eponymous women’s collective she formed with Gabriela Jauregui, Laureana Toledo, and the late Aura Estrada. She teaches poetry at Brooklyn College and in the Bard MFA program. Recent work appears in Granta 151: Membranes and The Believer. The anthology Women in Concrete Poetry 1959–1979, co-edited with Alex Balgiu, is just out from Primary Information.

Rachel Levitsky

A photograph of Rachel Levitsky
Feminist avant-garde poet, novelist, essayist, translator, editor, and educator Rachel Levitsky is a founder of Belladonna* Collaborative. She is a Professor of Writing at Pratt Institute, Naropa University, and occasionally for Poets House and The Poetry Project. She was born in New York City and earned an MFA from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.