[Note: this story is continued from June; what may be news to some is that Story Line is still in operation.]
Has Oregon’s Story Line Press, once the beacon of hope for Expansive Poets in search of a sympathetic, non-Postmodernist book publisher, breathed its last? There are so many rumors about SLP whizzing about overhead today that it's getting hard to sort them out.
An e-mail message, of which EP&M and Edge City Review have received copies, recently went out to "Storyliners," apparently sent directly by SLP Publisher Robert McDowell. This initial message stated that SLP’s board of directors had resigned over the press’s financial problems and what was described as an ideological dispute. New board members had been selected, the message said. The message's author expressed hope that SLP would continue in some form, and certainly intended to maintain distribution of its existing titles. Much of this message’s content was confirmed late this afternoon via email sent to EP&M by a staffer at the press in response to an inquiry. The email missive stated that publisher McDowell was currently in Los Angeles meeting with new board members and working on a new business plan for SLP.
Other rumors continue to fly, detailing the prospective withdrawal of manuscripts and reprint rights by several poets. But, again, there have been no reliable, independent confirmations so it would be wise to draw conclusions after something is resolved. Another rumor asserted that all of the staff but McDowell had departed. This afternoon’s email confirmation of Story Line’s problems, however, would indicate that at least one other staffer is still on board, at least for now.
We are unable to confirm assertions that new capital and a new partner had definitively been found and that negotiations were proceeding with existing creditors. It is worth noting, however, that sometimes a business will put out such signals as a means of convincing backers to send more money as well as persuading prospective customers to buy that book now instead of sitting on the fence. It is currently not possible for us to sort out the mess. But clearly, something is going on at Story Line and it doesn’t sound positive.
Our suggestion? If you’ve enjoyed reading SLP titles in the past and have been considering a title or two recently, now’s probably the time to act, but use your credit card.
Meanwhile, if anyone out there in the land of non-random electrons can help us fill in the blanks on this late-breaking story, please drop an email Edge City Review or at Expansive Poetry & Music Online.