Blast Furnace is an independent literary publisher based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, still often referred to as the steel city.

Blast furnaces were utilized for smelting and refining industrial metals, generally iron, and were widely used in the creation of steel in the Pittsburgh/Western Pennsylvania region during the United States' 20th century industrial boom.

Mission & Values

Blast Furnace's mission is to publish refined poetry by "poets of place,” with themes deeply rooted in place.

We value poetry that is architecturally functional and distinctive on the page.

We value poetry that is stripped—burnt down—to its purest state, in both form and context.

We value brave poetry that takes risks and, therefore, resonates with a discriminating audience.

We value soulful poetry from the core—recited or read aloud—as it was originally intended.

"Eric M. R. Webb's How to Lose Faith is unafraid. Unafraid to take on the big questions and wrestle them to the floor. Unafraid to, once in a while, let the big questions overwhelm him. Webb is unafraid to be a man writing about women, about God, about the universe, about other men--soldiers, boys, heroes who become nakedly human. His poems, 'angry stars,' but tender, pop with fondness for his many subjects. These poems are admirable for their energy, honesty and range, but most of all for their trumping irony with faith, which in Webb's hands is not lost after all."
Heather McNaugher, contest judge and author of Panic & Joy and System of Hideouts

"I'm hungry for poems that move, that move me: body and soul--heart and head. I don't want to mess around when I open a book. After I read a poem, I want to feel smarter, more awake, and ready for life's loveliness and lunacy and all the mad combinations in between. Eric Webb is writing these poems. Here they are."Tim Seibles

"Despite its title, do not look for a tract on unbelief, disbelief, or numb indifference in Eric Webb's How to Lose Faith. It is true that the poems in this book bring us the all too familiar bulletins of our late 21st century times--landscapes abloom with phosphorus flare and fire, explosions, catastrophe, and the physics of bombs. It is also true that "here--in the land of the body--," as we watch on one hand the ennui of mall-goers and on the other, "boy-Marines swarming through forest scrub" to glimpse "the ghosts they will become, given time.../training for the kinds of wars we don't fight...," we find the increasing sorrow and freight of our difficult cargo. In such a world, doesn't it seem so much easier to reject anything that might resemble conviction or "idealism, love, or noise"? But Webb does the more difficult thing; and when he says "Here we share poems, all of us arrived here lovers," he reminds us again of what it is we all long for in our common humanity; and in so doing restores us to a vision of--dare I say it?--faith."Luisa A. Igloria, author of Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser

Eric MRWebb is the winner of Blast Furnace's First Annual Poetry Chapbook Prize (2014), as selected by contest judge, Heather McNaugher. In 2013, he graduated from Old Dominion University's MFA program with a focus on poetry. His poems have appeared online in numerous venues, and he edits the on-again-off-again No Bullshit Review. He lives with his wife, Alison, in Fairfax, Virginia. This is his first poetry collection.

Eric's chapbook is available NOW for purchase. Cost per chapbook is $11, including shipping. Books will be sent out AFTER May 18, 2015. Get your copy here via PayPal or Credit Card!

Many thanks for your support.


In Cuttings, Elizabeth Wurz renders nine haunting portraits of survival that will keep you turning the page and returning to these arresting narratives. “Our rituals are not private,” the daughter mourning an alcoholic, abusive father divines in the collection’s opening poem. “I could not visualize myself / in the roles of the women / I tried internalizing,” she declares in its coda as she embraces the advent of motherhood and a life devoid of the shame she has known in surreptitious coupling with women who refuse to be open about their love. Come into Wurz’s world of unaffected wit and hard-earned wisdom—particularly in the long masterwork “Where the Road Curves Away From the Pond”—and let her break you open. Let her challenge you to stare into her stark mirrors--& feel your own heart’s burden ease. – L. Lamar Wilsoncontest judge and author of Sacrilegion and Prime

"I participate in the haunting,” writes Elizabeth Wurz in her long poem, “Where the Road Curves Away From the Pond," with such grace, courage, and intelligence, that the poem becomes an alternative to Patricia White’s argument in the close: “Love between women is considered unspeakable; it doesn’t make a sound.” Wurz makes sound like nobody else. She brings the house down even as her epigraph from Gaston Bachelard attends it: “the sheltered being gives perceptible limits to his [her] shelter.” In fact, this collection is a kind of trumpeting, a conversation, an argument, voices in sweet contention, collisions in vocabulary, some notes so high and long their necessary difficulty is part of the narrative. – Ralph Burns, author of Ghost Notes

Enter “the sanctuary of my imagining” in Elizabeth Wurz’s collection, and you’ll find a narrative poetic world of lesbian consciousness and queer family. These are tales of working-class handcrafted survival, the Southern gothic, the queer economics of love and resistance. In her chapbook, we see a culture emerge: the inner death that accompanies hiding homoerotics, women lovers dancing together at the rural hoe-down, and the power of a woman inseminating herself. When near the body of her woman love,” My tongue enters my thinking,” Wurz writes, and this collection of poems brings the interdependence of bodies and ideas into the light." – Abe Louise Young, author of Heaven to Me and Ammonite

Elizabeth Wurz is an Associate Professor of English at the College of Coastal Georgia. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, The Report (o-dark-thirty), The GLR Worldwide, Crazyhorse, The Southwest Review, and the GSU Review. Elizabeth’s creative non-fiction has been published by Quarterly West and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 1998, she completed her MFA in English (Creative Writing) at New York University and in 2007, she received her PhD in English (Creative Writing) in 2007 from Georgia State University. Her manuscript, Cuttings, is the winner of Blast Furnace's Second Annual Poetry Chapbook Prize (2015).

Elizabeth's chapbook is available NOW for purchase. Cost per chapbook is $11, including shipping. Books will be sent out AFTER October 1, 2016. Get your copy here via PayPal or Credit Card!

Many thanks for your support.

Blast Furnace is pleased to present the launch of its first eChapbook, mixtape, featuring original poetry inspired by and about music, and written by Heather McNaugher, Bob Walicki, Carolyne Whelan, and Rebecca Clever.

You can purchase the eChapbook here for $8. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Braddock Carnegie Library, in Braddock, PA.

Once you purchase the eChapbook via credit card or PayPal, you will receive a confirmation email, and a subsequent email with the eChapbook file attached.

Additionally, to celebrate the launch, a FREE reading by the poets is slated for Thursday, May 14, 2015 from 7 to 9 PM at Eclipse Lounge in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. For more information, please contact

Thank you for your support of the Braddock library and Blast Furnace!