All in The Family

There’s no disputing it: Sibling Rivalry Press’ decade-long run has been one for the books

IF YOU WENT looking for a collection of Sibling Rivalry Press’ published titles at their offices, you wouldn’t find it in the light-dappled atrium, the well-appointed lobby with its midcentury flourishes, the gardens or the smoking room—because those places don’t exist. Because even after 10 years and some 125-odd titles, chapbooks, quarterlies and so forth, the press is still run on a shoestring budget, owing to a conversation that founder Bryan Borland once had with a guy named Ian Young, who’d started Catalyst Press, a small press based in Canada back in 1970. He’d told Bryan that the small presses that make it operate from their kitchen tables. 

This explains why Sibling Rivalry’s taken pains never to overextend themselves with a space they didn’t need (the work indeed gets done at the kitchen table, on the couch, when Bryan and his husband, Seth, have wrapped their day jobs), why they turned down an opportunity several years ago to get a quarterly journal on the periodical shelves at Barnes & Noble (meeting their specs would’ve made it financially unfeasible), and why their linens have been displaced and the closet stocked with five shelves of past titles, (there aren’t as many as you’d think, however, as they print on-demand, an increasingly popular practice in the publishing world). But while the mechanics of the press are worth expounding upon, to focus on those exclusively is to miss the point: In the 10 years since Bryan started the press with $1,000 from his father, Sibling Rivalry has opened the door to authors who just a few years ago would never have had a chance to make their voices heard—and to let them do so on their terms. 

“I learned early on that it’s not about me,” Bryan says. “[Seth and I] are fortunate enough to provide a stage for voices that often get neglected. And it’s our job to put the microphone in their hands and step back.’


Subject to Change: Trans Poetry & Conversation 

Authors: Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Christopher Soto, beyza ozer, Cameron Awkward-Rich, Kay Ulanday Barrett; H. Melt, Editor 

Synopsis: A testament to the power of trans poets speaking to one another—about family, race, class, disability, religion, the body—and what it means to be both trans and a writer in the 21st century. 

Why you’re picking it up: “I always say that we publish books because someone is waiting on that particular book,” Bryan says. “Someone needs that book as a lifeline or a mirror or a bridge. Subject to Change has proven that statement to me over and over again.


This Assignment Is So Gay 

Megan Volpert, Editor 

Synopsis: An international roster of LGBTQ poets writing about and from the teacher’s perspective, an inherently valuable and, until now, relatively invisible piece of the educational puzzle. 

Why you’re picking it up: “This anthology is the top-selling title we’ve published, because quite simply, there was nothing else like it. There’s a reason LGBTQ teachers tend to be favorites of students, and that’s because they know how to create safe spaces for students to unfold into their possibilities and into their futures. This anthology captures a little bit of that magic.”


Prime: Poetry & Conversation 

Authors: Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Saeed Jones, Rickey Laurentiis, Phillip B. Williams, L. Lamar Wilson 

Introduction by Jericho Brown 

Synopsis: A first-of-itskind document of poetry and ongoing conversation in the black, queer literary community, and an early publication for some of today’s most influential black writers.

Why you’re picking it up: “This book saw the future. Every writer involved has gone on to do something absolutely spectacular.” (Editor’s note: Those writers have gone on to be awarded an NEA Fellowship (Holnes), a Whiting Award (Laurentiis), a Lambda Literary Award (Williams), a Thom Gunn Award Finalist (Wilson), and a Kirkus Prize and NYTimes Notable Book of 2019 (Jones).)


The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South 

Douglas Ray, Editor 

Synopsis: An anthology of poetry and prose that sings of and explores the queer experience of the American South. 

Why you’re picking it up: “Sometimes I publish a book because my 16-year-old self needed it. When I was growing up, all my [role] models were on the east and west coasts in big cities. Of course, I know now that LGBTQ folks are everywhere—but back then, I had no idea.”


Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality 

Kevin Simmonds, Editor 

Synopsis: Features over 100 LGBTiQ-identified established and emerging poets from around the world writing on faith, religion and spirituality. 

Why you’re picking it up: “This is the book that changed my life. It was the first anthology I published through SRP, and I didn’t know how a book on LGBTQ spirituality would be received. I was invited to promote the book at the United Methodist Church in Conway, in an adult Sunday school class. It just so happened that Seth had been invited to attend, too, by friends who knew he liked poetry. So that’s where I met Seth, who I’d marry a little over a year later. All thanks to Collective Brightness.” 

For more information, including how to order these titles, visit siblingrivalrypress.com