ZEPHYR PRESS, founded in 1980, is an award-winning non-profit independent press whose titles and literary events foster a deeper understanding of cultures and languages from around the world. We focus on contemporary poetry and prose in translation from Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia, but also publish literature from other languages and the U.S., and reprint books of literary and historical value that have long been out of print. We organize bilingual readings, educational workshops and other cross-cultural exchanges in the U.S. and abroad.
ZEPHYR PRESS publishes outstanding literature from around the world, and seeks to foster understanding of other languages and literary traditions through the twin arts of poetry and literary translation. Our poets are among the most celebrated writers in their own countries, and have all won major literary prizes. Most of our books are bilingual on facing pages, and the majority of our translated titles are the first books to appear in English by these authors. Our books have won or been finalists for numerous awards, including the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN Poetry in Translation Award (2019, 2017, and 2014), the National Translation Award (2018, 2017), the 2017 National Jewish Book Award, the 2016 Found in Translation Award, the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize (2017, 2015), the Griffin International Prize (2015, 2014), the Best Translated Book Award (2018, 2014), and more. In 2019, Zephyr received the Small Press Award from the Association of Writing and Writing Programs.
The press was founded in 1980 by the late Ed Hogan (pictured here in 1990) and three other editors from the Boston-based magazine, Aspect. (For a brief history of Aspect magazine, by Doug Holder, click here.) We spent our first decade bringing out a small but significant line of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. In 1990, after seven years of editorial, fundraising and production work, we published our landmark collection, The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova, translated by Judith Hemschemeyer, and edited and introduced by Roberta Reeder, which went on to be reviewed in more than 75 publications and was named one of the “Best Books of 1990” by the New York Times.
This began our history of publishing translations. Since then, we have published poetry and prose in translation from Russian, Polish, Chinese, Korean, Romanian, Ukrainian, German, Slovene, Albanian, Serbian, Arabic, and Hebrew, and we continue to add new languages and new titles to our list. We have also published a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry from American authors.
Founding editor and publisher Ed Hogan (1950-1997) loved trains and train travel. He could name every significant train line and route in the United States, and had ridden many of them. When he designed our original logo, he wanted to convey the sense of adventure, new vistas and enhanced human connection that the railroads had represented, and which he hoped our books would also provide. He had traveled on Amtrak's California Zephyr (Chicago to Oakland) and liked the idea that Zephyr Press might link the literary worlds of the east and west coasts, along with everything in between. He also expressed the notion that by moving from Aspect magazine to Zephyr Press, the organization would encompass the entire English alphabet, A to Z. The logo depicts the California Zephyr, reproduced with the permission of Amtrak.
While Ed saw the train also as a symbol of power, he learned — as we began working on the seven-year-long project of bringing the Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova to print — that the word had a far different association in Russia: it was a marshmallow candy. In the 2000s, senior editor and designer Christopher Mattison streamlined the logo to our current “Z.”