Thursday, June 01, 2006

2nd posting

Two years before the idea of starting a small press came to me, the
Committee of Small Magazine Editors/Publishers ( COSMEP ) folded. I hadn’t known about this organization until ten years after it’s demise. I found an article about it COSMEP which I found very intriguing, in particular the ending "The end of COSMEP marks the end of an era of small press, but also a beginning. We're on the verge of a period of tremendous opportunities. Now more than ever, we need forums, organizations, where we can work together and share our knowledge and experience."

This reminded me of a quote I came across during the researching of a book I am working on currently : Allen Barnett in 1985 observed that "chapbooks may be doomed by an economy that does not support poetry, or they may flourish as they fill the vacuum caused by major presses turning their backs on poetry altogether."

I would say that chapbooks tap the pulse of the future of literature quicker and with more impact than standard books. More experimentation can happen here, raw voices beacon here.

This time I will look at four more books:

Trade Names Charles Tillman ©2002

the incredible sleeping man rupert wondolowski ©1991

mesostis Amira Hanafi ©2005

"I Hear America Singing" published by C.C. Birchard & Co.
Boston, MA ©1919

Trade Names by Charles Tillman
6 1/2 X 5 1/2.
plain cream cover with B&W illustration on back.
red fly leaf
book was a conceptual piece created in 2001 and distributed FREE around the country. Including as part of the anti-reading performances that members of Ugly Duckling Presse/Loudmouth Collective were presenting in NYC and east coast. I was able to see them and get some of their books when they came to Philadelphia in late Fall 2002.

the artist made this non-linear, randomized text as a exploration of man and machine (which ties in to the illustration on back). The text appears as though tapped out on an old typewriter - old technology - and arranged on the page like paint on a Jackson Pollock canvas. I completely was taken by the look of it and the lack of logical "sense" that it intentionally does not make. It is to be 'read' however the reader choses, the flow of the text comes from the way the reader's eyes float across the page. It is 30 pages – [I had to count them, no page count] - which leads again to a mental leap into the abyss....there is no ORDER here, except that the language is English and that all the words are confined to the page.

100 copies of this book were made and released like dandelion seeds, floating across the country. I was lucky enough to find this one early one, I recommend you try and find a copy for your own!!!!!

the incredible sleeping man by rupert wondolowski
Shattered Wig Press, Baltimore, MD.

I was in Baltimore in May 2000 and read their City Paper to see what was happening that night, and there was a blurb about "a poetry / happening thing" at the 14 Karat Cabaret. Gas Tank Orchestra along with poets from the Shattered Wig Press. This meant rupert wondolowski and cohorts from Normals in Baltimore. The work was prose, odd stories about odd people doing odd things. The thing that most impressed me is that they have been working as a collective there for a number of years (note the publication date)

The cover is a collage is by Liquid Borgnine. There is a red fly leaf inside the cover with stamped images on it. The pieces that make up the collection appeared in different publications previously. Interesting work, and always worth seeing how others present themselves. If you are interested in finding out more about Shattered Wig, go onto Normal’s website. It will lead you in. Baltimore is more than John Waters, ya know!

mesostis Amira Hanafi ©2005

Amira Hanafi is a Philadelphia artist who works with sound and word textures as well as exploring repetition and fragmentation of words, converting them into molecules of understanding. There is something of Russian Constructivism. It’s probably not a coincidence that the work appears on grid paper for the work is plotted as much as written, the words swirl or become dissected; or both. I have seen the visual work she is producing now and it is intense. Well worth checking out.

These books are hand-made so it’s best to place an order and try to patiently wait (I am no good at waiting). I can only imagine where her art takes her from here!!!

"I Hear America Singing" published by C.C. Birchard & Co.
Boston, MA ©1919

Proving once and for all that chapbooks need not have anything to do with poetry, this gem of early 20th century Americana is a song book which appeared the year the first World War ended. It contains120 songs, mostly lyrics with a good deal of sheet music as well. It’s a classic chapbook though; 8 1/2 X 5 1/2. A pretty remarkable find, considering its age and use. There is an image of a crowd of people in front of a large wooden pavilion in a park. The men are all wearing hats. Most of the women are too, as I look at it. There is an orchestra on stage and a conductor is getting the crowd to sing while the band plays. Now those days are long gone. Among the songs within are ‘America the Beautiful’, ‘Columbia Gem of the Ocean’, ‘Dixie’, ‘In the Gloaming’, ‘Yankee Doodle-oodle’, and of course ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’. Brown cover, staples. A listing of other "Music Text Books" by publisher on back. For mixed and unchanged voices.

Till next time



loveEliz said...

My friend, Kathy Skaggs, told me about you. I am so pleased to see you here and will come regularly to see what is happening. I live on an intentional community called The Farm and we have a small publishing house, mostly cook books and alterantive informations. Very practical and I haven't approached them about chapbooks. I have a collection of very good poems from many poets from a reading we did for peace in 2003, but haven't been able to publish it, just to give everyone who read a copy, but I can't afford the printing.

I have done 2 chap books of my own poems that I have written and illustrated. The first, "Woodswoman" I had printed and bound myself that is mostly sold out. The one I am working on now is called "Earth Apples" and I had the cover printed, but almost every poem has a full color page opposite to it and I am working on including a CD amd asap a DVD. I am also working on an instruction journal of haiku called "Spare Words". love,Eliz

loveEliz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stevenallenmay said...

Eliz, how can I get a copy of your chapbook?