Monday, May 22, 2017

New River by Gail Peck (1993)

New River
Gail Peck
North Carolina Writers' Network
Carrboro, NC

Local flavor. Winner of the 1993 Harperprints Poetry Chapbook Competition. Presentation-wise the book is average. Poetry-wise the work is good in a narrative way that appeals to many people.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Juggler of Our Lady (1977)

The Juggler of Our Lady
an old and of't told tale
The Rose Valley Press
Moylan, PA

One of my greatest pleasures of this entire pursuit is going to bookstores in places I have never been to before and taking some of their regional "wares" with me, like this tiny gem. I found it in a bookstore in Ardmore, PA close to the Rose Valley named in the Press. The Illustrator, Gus Uhlmann, seems to have been well known in the region. This tiny tiny was letter pressed with colored illustrations by Mr. Uhlmann. It's a most handsome book indeed. Glad to have it.

Monday, May 01, 2017

two tiny chaps by Shawn Broden

I am not sure who sent two thin xeroxed chapbooks from shawn broden but I feel for the trees that were cut down to make them.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hands-On Saints by Holly Iglesias (2000)

Hands-On Saints
Holly Iglesias
Quale Press
Florence, MA

A very good collection of prose poetry.

Yes, that was about all I was going to say about this chapbook. Generic grey cover. Edition key Satch(el) with an ISBN number on the back cover. Quale published prose poetry and this was one of their chapbooks that produced quarterly. There was an electronic version of this book available as well. Forward thinking for 2000? Indeed.

Prose poetry is a fickle fish. To the ear of someone raised on nursery rhyme poetics, it sounds strange. It doesn't sound like poetry at all. That's one of the many fault with our modern education system: the notion that seems to be reenforced is that the old ways are the best ways (of learning). I do not believe that to be the case but I am not an educator employed by the system I would be upholding. As there no single poetic form, there can be no single way to learn how to read or appreciate poetry. This is a fine example of this form.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Pieces by Bonni McKeown (1978)

Bonni McKeown
self published
West Virginia

I was out in Front Royal, VA over the weekend and went into the most famous bookstore in the town, and found this "chapbook" and I say it like that because it's 82 pages which is well over what a staple-bound chapbook ought to be. But this the author of this book did, twice. 1978 was an important year for Ms. McKeown. She published two versions of this chapbook in two different towns in West Virginia. I am sure that the backstory would be fascinating but I don't know it. What I see is a book that tries very hard, and doesn't really make the statement I imagine the author intended to.

Monday, March 20, 2017

3 views of Aaron Simon

Wrote this about Aaron Simon on this blog in #11:

Aaron Simon
Insurance Editions
Jackson Heights, NY

Insurance Editions makes quality chapbooks, period. Carrier by Aaron Simon is no exception. It’s a small book, 6 3/4 X 5 1/4. The paper stock and quality of printing are to be commended. I will note that the book was printed at Oscar Printing Company of San Francisco, CA and it is a superb job. The 34 prose poems are equal to the production of the book. I would say that this is a fine book and if you not yet familiar with Mr. Simon’s work, as I was not, it behooves you to find and read whatever Aaron was brought out. You are in for a treat.

Nobody writes about chapbooks for God's sake, and our first child, Julia, was born and I was the "stay-at-home" and I was there with our daughter and I started to write about chapbooks because I publish chapbooks (via Plan B Press) and because of a single chapbook I found somewhere -

- and I started to gather them, and once I started blogging about chapbooks some small presses in Brooklyn started sending copies to me for review which (remember the whole "having a newborn baby at home thing? that was real") and newborn babies need a LOT of attention. Anyway, Carrier was one of those that arrived from Insurance Editions, thank you Insurance Editions!"

then, I got :

Periodic Days
Green Zone
Brooklyn, NY

: this from Green Zone, another of those small Brooklyn presses. This is a departure from the first book. These are not prose pieces. These are more structural. Very good poems. Thank you, Green Zone.

These two chapbooks have been in one of my growing number of plastic bins filled with chapbooks since 2006, and recently I decided to see if Aaron was "fineable" on the net - yes, he's in San Francisco and he would love to sign my copies of his books! I send them to him, very happily. I love having authors sign their books! And to my surprise, he adds :

Senses Himself
Brooklyn, NY

: which he also quite graciously signed. This collection mirrors the second. Great poetry!
All three are very good collections. Thanks, Aaaron, for the work!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spotted Doe by Rina Drescher (2016)

Spotted Doe
Rina Drescher
Blah Blah Blah press
Rochester, NY

I applaud the effort here. It's an artist book. It's a second printing of it. I want to like it more than I can though. It's xerox page printing, cheap cheap cheap. The cover material is interesting but the contents are not. Blah Blah Blah is right.