Autumn House Press was founded by the poet Michael Simms when prominent American publishers dramatically reduced their poetry lists and many influential and emerging contemporary poets were left struggling to find publishers. Reflecting on Autumn House’s history, Simms wrote:

In 1998, a time when the large commercial publishers and university presses, facing financial pressure, were getting out of the business of publishing books of poetry, and the sacred burden of keeping American poetry alive was falling on a few independent presses, my old friend, mentor, and co-author Jack Myers came to visit my wife Eva and me in Pittsburgh. Jack and I sat in our living room, Jack drinking beer and me drinking coffee, night after night talking about starting a poetry press. Out of those conversations, Autumn House began. And six months later, AHP’s first book, OneOnOne by Jack Myers, was released.

You can read Mike Simms’ full history of the press here.

Autumn House went on to publish many more collections of poetry by emerging and established poets, including Gerald Stern, Jo McDougall, Ed Ochester, Julie Suk, and Ada Limón. Seeing significant success as a poetry publisher and wanting to support a greater variety of authors, Autumn House expanded over the years to begin publishing fiction and nonfiction. In 2018, Autumn House began partnering with the University of Chicago Press’s Distribution Services, ensuring AHP books would be available nationally and internationally.

In 2016, founder and editor in chief Michael Simms retired after eighteen impressive years, and Christine Stroud took on the role of editor in chief.  Mike Good joined the press as managing editor in 2018, and together, along with a dedicated board of directors, freelance designers and copyeditors, and numerous volunteers, they’ve gone on to help the press grow and thrive. Now, with over 150 titles in print and celebrating twenty-five years, Autumn House Press has grown into one of the most important independent publishers in the United States and remains Pittsburgh’s only nonprofit, independent literary publisher.