About BkMk Press

The mission of BkMk Press, publisher of fine literary books, its affiliate, New Letters magazine, and the radio series New Letters on the Air, is to discover, publish and promote the best and most exciting literary writing, wherever it might be found.  We publish and serve readers and writers worldwide.  In recent years, BkMk Press has won numerous national awards, and New Letters has won a National Magazine Award, the industry's highest honor, plus multiple Pushcart Prizes.


Editor-in-Chief, Christie Hodgen: New Letters, BkMk Press, New Letters on the Air

Managing Editor, BkMk Press, Ben Furnish (816) 235-2558

Assistant Editor, BkMk Press, Cynthia Beard 

Assistant Editor, New Letters, Ashley Wann

Producer & Host, New Letters on the AirAngela Elam

Asst. Producer, New Letters on the AirJamie Walsh

New Letters & BkMk Press Editor Emeritus & Advisory Editor: Robert Stewart

Past Editors: Clarence Decker, Alexander Cappon, David Ray, James McKinley, Robert Stewart

University House

BkMk Press History

BkMk Press was founded in 1971 by Dan Jaffe, a professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Roy Fox, head librarian of the Johnson County Library system in Kansas. Initially housed at the library, BkMk Press moved to Missouri andin 1983 became part of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Today the BkMk Press offices are located in University House on the UMKC campus, together with the offices of New Letters magazine.

During its first four years, BkMk Press published only chapbooks. In 1975, BkMk Press published its first full-length poetry collection, Kansas City Outloud, an anthology of Kansas City-area writers with an introduction by John Ciardi. Since then, the press has concentrated on full-length collections of poetry, short fiction, and creative essays. Today, the press publishes four to six titles a year and has over 80 titles in print. The press has published writers from all over the United States and abroad, but it has also published many writers from Kansas City and theMidwest.

Dan Jaffe directed the press for 25 years. When he retired from UMKC and the press in 1996, James McKinley became executive editor, and the press assumed closer ties to New Letters magazine. After a long hiatus from producing chapbooks, the press launched the Roy Fox Memorial Chapbook Series in 1996. The most recent title in that series is Carolyn Kizer's well-known poem Pro Femina, which includes all five parts published together for the first time.

BkMk Press has published an international series, including Wild Bouquet (a translation of Swedish Nobel laureate Harry Martinson's nature poems), the Target Series for Midwestern writers, and a number of anthologies.

Upon James McKinley's retirement in 2002, Robert Stewart became executive editor of the press, with Ben Furnish in his ongoing position as managing editor.  In 2015, Cynthia Beard joined the team as editorial assistant.


To offer support for BkMk Press please contact us at BkMk@umkc.edu or phone us at 816-235-2558. 

BkMk Press welcomes your support.  BkMk has received support from the Missouri Arts Council for many years. In addition, support has also come from such sources as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Witter Bynner Foundation, the Kansas Arts Commission, the Swedish Institute in Stockholm, the Kansas City Institute for Trusts and Foundations, Johnson County Community College, the Adirondack Museum, the Bernardin Fund of UMKC, Iowa State University, and the Missouri Council for the Humanities. BkMk Press has also been fortunate to receive support, in cash and in kind, from many generous individuals, as well.


In 2000, the press published the first winner of its John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, The Resurrection Machine by Steve Gehrke (selected by Miller Williams). The press later added its G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Stories, which shares the same deadline as the Ciardi award. 

Since 1998, the press has sponsored a reading tour by its new authors in various locations across Missouri. Today, BkMk Press continues to publish the finest collections available from contemporary writers.
Winner of John Ciardi Prize for PoetryWinner of Sharat Chandra Prize for Fiction Winner of Sharat Chandra Prize for FictionWinner of John Ciardi Prize for Poetry

Kansas City Literary Events

Coutley, Gaskin & Molberg

Friday, August 21, 2020
Kansas City, Mo.


Our Mission

New Letters, New Letters on the Air, and our affiliate publisher, BkMk Press, stand in solidarity with our black writers, readers, listeners, friends, and community. Read our full statement here.


Individual Issues of New Letters Magazine

To order an individual issue of New Letters magazine, please call 816-235-1169 or visit our online store here.