The early days of Graywolf Press


Two months ago, the poet and essayist Kim Stafford emailed us a photo he had found while sorting through his archives. It was from the 1980s, during Graywolf’s time as a letterpress publisher in Washington State. 

From Kim Stafford: 

I worked several seasons as a printer in this shack behind [Graywolf Press founder] Scott Walker’s house in the tiny village of Irondale, south from Port Townsend, Washington. 

We did editorial work in the house, and printed on a 10’ x 15’ Chandler & Price platen press, and a Vandercook proof press, in the shed. The shed interior was bare foil-backed insulation that made the whole place glitter and glow, as we needed ideal light to monitor the minute details of ink density and the type’s impression into each page that went through the press——generally poem text in black on the Vandercook, and poem titles in a second color on the C&P. 

Coffee every morning, pasta every night.
Sepia-toned image of a cabin


Last month, the Graywolf team was having our Town Hall——an informal semi-monthly meeting in which we discusses various topics, from our work culture to new fundraising ideas to our favorite music. During the conversation, Associate Publisher Katie Dublinski put a Wayback Machine link in the chat. It showed us what the Graywolf website looked like in 2000: 
screenshot of Graywolf Press web page from 2000, including headings like "Pick of the Litter: Featured Books," "Making Tracks: Graywolf News," "The Food Chain" Resources for educators, students, and writers," "A Rare Breed: About Graywolf Press," and "Join the Pack: Sign our Guest Book."
Two snapshots of Graywolf's history (one ”real,” one virtual) as we look ahead to our fiftieth anniversary in 2024.