How and Why Barrelhouse Pays Poets (by Dan Brady)



When Barrelhousestarted in the back booth of a bar in Washington, DC just over ten years ago,we had a few goals regarding how we wanted to do business:

  • We wanted to publish the best writing we could find that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved.
  • We wanted to be fully independent, not subject to the whim of university funding or anyone else’s ideas of what was     appropriate or good.
  • We wanted to contribute to our community of small presses and independent literary magazines.
  • We wanted to pay our writers.

To be honest, those first three points were pretty easy to execute on chutzpah alone. As far as paying writers goes, our plan went something like 1) collect underpants, 2) ?????, 3) profit!

As writers and readers ourselves, we recognized the intrinsic value of literature. What’s more, we appreciated how much hard work goes into creating a good poem, short story, or essay and believed that the authors of those works should be compensated.

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