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For 20 years, Washington Writers’ Publishing House (WWPH) has welcomed local poets, and its new volume, Hungry as We Are: An Anthology of Washington Area Poets, celebrates its longevity. Work by 122 poets was selected for this book, which contributor and WWPH spokesperson Kim Roberts calls “a thank you to writers and readers.”
“Washington Writers’ Publishing House is one of the few presses that will publish first books,” says Roberts. “It’s a jumping-off place, a starting point for authors.” She explains that the cooperative press publishes two books a year. Its authors, whether experienced publishers or neophytes, commit a minimum of two years each to operating the business; profits are applied to publishing future works. Dedicated to the genre as well as to the D.C. area, WWPH only publishes poetry—and only by wordsmiths living within a 60-mile radius of the District.
The anthology’s title, a line suggested by WWPH co-president Patricia Garfinkel, refers to the “hunger” that propels artists. According to Roberts, the contributors took this theme “and defined it as broadly as can be defined,” from the tangible (food, sex, art, travel) to the abstract (love, nostalgia, spirituality). The range of writers allows for varied styles and moods: E. Ethelbert Miller’s “Candy” is a sensual and playful ode to a lover; Paul Estaver’s “Muldoon, Widower” gives a touching account of grief; Reuben Jackson’s “anger” conveys bitterness; and Judith Harris’ “Maria” is a somber reflection on Nicaragua. Hungry As We Are is available at area bookstores or by sending $17.95 plus $2 postage to WWPH, P.O. Box 15271, Washington, DC 20003.—Maria Ware