“Denting the world with words,
one incendiary book at a time.”
University of Hell Press promotes artists who are creating irreverent and thought-provoking works in quiet corners of their worlds. Specializing in intimate literary arts that communicate the human experience with raw views into the everyday condition, University of Hell Press aligns with like-minded individuals who are making their mark through unique vision and simple, yet heightened, language.
We are a deliberately genre-less press because we like to be surprised by what crosses our desks, we have published books that might not have otherwise seen the light of day if we had been a genre-specific press. We have published a number of poetry and prose collections, memoirs, fiction, and creative nonfiction.
Launched by Greg Gerding, the press had its beginnings, quite literally, in Hell. In 1994, a weekly series – Poetry in Hell – began in a Washington, D.C. bar called Hell. For several years, the series showcased writing, music, and performance art. The spirit of Hell then moved to San Diego, California in 1996 and quickly became a major fixture in the poetry scene. A weekly prose column written by Gerding called University of Hell was published by The Weekly San Diego from 1999 to 2000.
In 2005, Gerding conceived University of Hell Press as a self-publishing brand and launched his first title The Burning Album of Lame. Four more self-published titles followed: Venue Voyeurisms (2007), Loser Makes Good (2008), Piss Artist (2010), and The Idiot Parade (2011).
University of Hell Press moved operations from San Diego to Portland, Oregon in 2008, and continues to have a strong presence in both cities, while ferreting out unique artists everywhere.
In 2012, University of Hell Press was officially born when it published Eirean Bradley’s the I in team and quickly followed with books by Lindsey Kugler and Stephen M. Park, while also releasing a remastered edition of Gerding’s Loser Makes Good.
In 2013, we published poetry collections by Calvero, Brian S. Ellis, Leah Noble Davidson, and Bradley’s second book.
In 2014, we published more poetry collections by John W. Barrios, Tyler Atwood, and Michael N. Thompson.
In 2015, we published second books by Calvero and Ellis, and debut poetry books by Sarah Xerta and Lauren Gilmore, plus Rory Douglas’s memoir about amateur cage fighting, and Joseph Edwin Haeger (creative nonfiction).
In 2016, we published a second book by Davidson, and debut books by Michael McLaughlin, A.M. O’Malley, and our first novel by Christine Rice.
In 2017, we published our first anthology (edited by Cam Awkward-Rich and Sam Sax) and a flipbook twofer by Rob Gray, followed by Wryly T. McCutchen’s first book and a second title from Stephen M. Park.
In 2018, we published poetry books by Suzanne Burns, Nikia Chaney, and an explosive collection of erasures by Isobel O’Hare (our first hardcover book). We also published a war memoir by Jason Arment released on 9/11.
In 2019, we published Liz Scott’s memoir, a paperback edition of Isobel O’Hare’s collection of erasures, and two poetry collections, one by Ellyn Touchette and the other by Ran Walker consisting entirely of poems in the Kwansaba form.
In 2020, we published our second anthology (edited by Isobel O’Hare) and a debut collection by Thomas Lucky Richards.
In 2021, we published a debut poetry collection from prolific and award-winning nonfiction writer Shawn Levy, and Greg Gerding returned with an anthology of 52 American essays about the year 2020.