Many in Oregon’s literary community are dismayed that poet Carl Adamshick has just been awarded a $10,000 fellowship from Literary Arts. According to this thoroughly reported article at The Oregonian, Adamshick left his position as director of Tavern Books—which he co-founded—after multiple financial improprieties were discovered:
Tavern Books’ former managing editor, Natalie Garyet, and two former members of Tavern Books’ board of directors, Wendy Willis and Jay Ponteri, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that they believe Adamshick used the nonprofit’s money improperly. Bank statements showed withdrawals for cash as well as for utility bills, groceries, and restaurant and bar tabs, they said.
This isn’t the first time a formerly beloved small press has shuttered because of shady financial dealings by one of its founders, but normally those people aren’t subsequently rewarded by the broader literary community. Tavern Books, which publishes poetry, has since stopped putting out new books (or reprinting any of their existing titles) and is essentially shut down; board members are continuing to pay out of pocket for the debts and financial obligations left in the wake of Adamshick’s approximately $40,000 worth of “questionable expenditures.”
Adamshick, apparently, has never offered any explanation for the expenditures, saying only:
I’m very proud of the accomplishments of Tavern Books. For a decade a group of individuals worked together to publish beautiful books. It saddens me it ended so ungraciously.
Passive voice! This mainly sucks for all the poets with titles currently under contract with Tavern Books, who all now need a new home for the collections. If you’re a publisher of poetry, please take a look here!