Thursday, September 10, 2020

Letters to Lady Ruth, Queen of the S.S. System, Board 46 by James Sorcic (1969)

 Letters to Lady Ruth, Queen of the S.S. System, Board 46

James Sorcic

Gunrunner Press

Milwaukee, WI

(c) 1969

This is actually pretty important document. It's an anti-VIETNAM - war (draft) poetry blast. It harkens back to the time before the all volunteer military force. I almost said before endless war (with a nod to Daniel Collins) but the truth of the matter is that this country has been "at war" with someone or another since it's beginnings and two hundred years before that. Since the first European set foot on this continent. And prior to that, the Native peoples were at war with each other. So it goes back to the humans on this land mass, per se. 

Also, it's the same James Sorcic who I mentioned two entries ago. Part of that thread of history through chapbooks that he and his wife had. 

This is one of 300 copies printed at the time. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Entertainment for Parents by J. M. Allen (2020)


Entertainment for Parents

J. M. Allen

self published

(c) 2020

No information on the author nor the press, seems to have been a POD self published piece of work. I am not a fan of rhyming poetry. The collection is entirely composed of rhyming poetry. Next!

Friday, August 07, 2020

Fire in the Sun by James Sorcic (1968)

Fire in the Sun

          James Sorcic

          Gunrunner Press

          Milwaukee, WI


This story through many poetry books begins here, with Jim. Before Jennie. Jim, before Morgan Press. Before his draft notice, before parenthood, before before before. Before - before Jim, there was Gunrunner Press. I need to learn more about that but I can see how Gunrunner was already in place and printing before Jim. 

This 24 page staple-bound mini sized chapbook was the start of his publishing "career". And the beginning of this story as well. 


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Jennie Orvino / James Sorcic

The next handful of posts will be dealing with the collective works of these two poets who were married and had a daughter and then separated all of which played out and was chronicled in a series of poetry chapbooks published between the late 1960s into the mid 1990s.

Friday, July 10, 2020

The C.C.C Camps in West Virginia 1933-1942 by Milton Harr (1998)

The C.C.C Camps in West Virginia 1933-1942
Milton Harr
self published
West Virginia

Subtitled A Record of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Mountain State 1933-1942 this booklet is packed with useful information on the subject. 50 pages. Staple-bound.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Just Universes by Diana Smith Bolton (2016)

Just Universes
Diana Smith Bolton
L+S Press
Washington, DC

32 page chapbook. Really fine poetry. Don't know terribly much about the press but the poet has been a poetry facilitator in the DC community for a number of years now.

A Week with Beijing by Meg Eden (2015)

A Week With Beijing
Meg Eden
Neon Books

Why is it "with" and not "in"? Because, in this fine collection of poems, Beijing is a person. A woman. A woman who, at least in one of the poems, foreshadows the terrible events we are now living through by talking about not using a cough mask. The city and the woman and the country merge into one overlapping and color swirl of mess. Worth the read, worth collecting.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Telephone Company Repairman Poems by Barbara Moraff (1983)

Telephone Company Repairman Poems
Barbara Moraff
Toothpaste Press
(c) 1983

#294 of 400 printed. Signed by poet. Another incredibly handsome book by this inventive and influential press. Unpaginated. Letter pressed. Hand sewn.

One can see the effort and can imagine the frustration at the same time. Frustration in the sense that these delicate books were never going to make their way onto a bookstore shelf and be properly displayed. This book is thick enough to have a spine with text but doesn't because it was hand sewn without any spine cover at all. So beautiful, so delicate. It's not surprising that the following year, 1984, is when Toothpaste transitioned into Coffee House Press. Ironically, on the CHP website there is no mention of Toothpaste Press whatsoever. Even though they say the press started in 1972 in Iowa as a letterpress operation. Well, yes, that is true. To a point. But give credit where it was due. Coffee House began in Iowa AS Toothpaste Press. They moved to the Twin Cities and rebooted as Coffee House Press to make books with spines that could get onto book shelves across the country! At least be honest about it!!

I happen to like the efforts of Toothpaste much more than Coffee House. While I do understand who Allan Kornblum made the decision that he did, I still mourn the loss of the special quality that the chapbooks lost in the transition to perfect bound books. sigh