For around 35 years, Tia Chucha Press (TCP) has been one of the country’s leading small cross-cultural presses, focused on socially engaged literature that matters.
By 2005, TCP was transferred to Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, becoming its publishing wing. TCP developed a growing list of new poetry books, including writers such as Patricia Spears Jones, Richard Vargas, Luivette Resto, Linda Susan Jackson, Susan D. Anderson, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Melinda Palacio, Peter Harris, and Mayda Del Valle. An anthology of the best of Tia Chucha Press appeared in 2005: “Dream of a Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology” edited by Quraysh Ali and Toni Assante Lightfoot.
In 2012, TCP published its first non-poetry book, “Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams: How the Arts are Transforming a Community,” edited by Denise Sandoval and Luis J. Rodriguez, winner of the Independent Publishers Award. This book has a companion documentary of the same name, written and directed by John F. Cantu. Click here to watch the documentary: https://vimeo.com/72559853
Most recently TCP has published the works of Washington state’s Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, the posthumous poetry of K’iche Mayan Humberto Ak’abal of Guatemala, and a collection of poems by Ed Tick honoring the Vietnamese who recently welcomed U.S. Vietnam War veterans. The first anthology of Central American writers in the U.S. was also published, called “The Wandering Song,” edited by Leticia Hernandez Linares, Ruben Martinez, and Hector Tobar. In 2023, TCP published its first novel, “The Place of the White Heron” by Alejandro Morales.
Besides Luis, many other TCP poets have gone on to greater achievement: Patricia Smith was national and international poetry slam champion, a Kingsley Tufts Book Award winner, and was later nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; Terrance Hayes won the National Book Award for a later collection of poetry; and Elizabeth Alexander became President Barack Obama’s inaugural poet in 2009. Other TCP poets have won recognition such as a PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers Award, a Carl Sandburg Book Award, a Paterson Poetry Prize, a Lannan Fellowship in Poetry, Jackson Memorial Prize, and as a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.
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Tia Chucha Press began in 1989 with the publication of Luis J. Rodriguez’s first book, the 19-poem collection “Poems Across the Pavement,” designed by Jane Brunette of Menominee/German/French descent, who has remained as TCP designer ever since. With Jane’s artistic skills for covers and inside pages, and Luis as founding editor, the press began publishing the best collections of the thriving Chicago poetry scene—home of the Poetry Slams—featuring such poets as Patricia Smith, David Hernandez, Michael Warr, Lisa Buscani, Tony Fitzpatrick, Cin Salach, Carlos Cumpian, Elizabeth Alexander, and more.
In 1991, TCP became the publishing wing of the nonprofit Guild Complex Literary Arts Center in Chicago, run by Michael Warr and co-founded in 1989 by a collective of artists, writers and activists, including Luis J. Rodriguez. Northwestern University Press of Evanston IL also became TCP’s distributor to the book trade.
Luis remained as editor and began to publish nationally renowned writers such as Kyoki Mori, Diane Glancy, Linda Rodriguez, Melvin Dixon, Ricardo Sanchez, Virgil Suarez, Terrance Hayes, A. Van Jordan, and Alfred Arteaga, among others. Luis worked with an editorial committee that included Reginald Gibbons, Mary Hawley, Michael Warr, Quraysh Ali, and others. A chapbook series of Chicago poets and anthologies were also developed in the 1990s and early 2000s as well as a CD of Chicago performance poets called “Snake in the Heart.”
about Tia Chuchas Press
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Tia Chucha Press is the publishing wing of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore. We only publish poetry at this time. We do full poetry manuscripts of more than 60 pages. We publish all types of poetic expression and are not bound by poetic style, form, school, or era. We only publish books that “knock us off our feet.” Please submit your best work — no fillers please: all poems must work. We are cross cultural — our poets have been Chicano, African American, Jamaican American, Native American, Irish American, Italian American, Korean American, Japanese American, Puerto Rican, Cuban American, and more. All ages, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, and spiritual persuasions are welcome. 1.) Send a full manuscript – hard copy and email are accepted. Please make sure manuscript is in Roman type (no design elements please), flush left, one poem per page (although poems can go on for more than one page), 12 point font, more or less between 60 and 120 pages. 2.) Mail manuscript submissions to: Luis J. Rodriguez Editor, Tia Chucha Press PO Box 328 San Fernando, CA 91341 Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you’d like the manuscript returned. If not, your manuscript will be destroyed. OR You can e-mail us your complete manuscript, in .PDF format only to: firstname.lastname@example.org 3.) We accept manuscripts year-round — there are no deadlines. 4.) No agents are necessary. We pull our books from manuscripts submitted, regardless of how they get to us. 5.) Please give the editors up to six months to respond. 6.) We only publish two books a year, and have had up to 200 manuscripts a year sent to us. It’s competitive, but worth it. 7.) Please inform us if your manuscript is being submitted to other publishers at the same time. 8.) Our only criteria is literary merit. It also helps if you’ve had a strong list of previous publications in magazines, newspapers, books, and the Internet.