Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Chapbooks 19

Kostas Anagnopoulos
Ugly Duckling Presse
Brooklyn, NY
© 2007

This is a great little book. Ugly Duckling Presse continues to impress. Anagnopoulos comes at us with 38 bits of poetic observations, short blasts of reality/absurdity. So this is where the New York school is now. Packaged beautifully in this compact punch. Kudos to Ugly Duckling.

Emma Rossi
Green Zone Editions
Brooklyn, NY
© 2007

This odd sized book is a wonderful thing. Ms. Rossi writes prose poetry, and writes it well. With an interesting cover by Kate Parnell, hey cover design is hard work!, this book is a great addition to any collection. AND Green Zone actually has its address in the book so one can contact them and thank them for all their wonderful books.

a familiar album
erica kaufman
The New School Chapbook Series
New York, New York
© 2006

It’s great to see a chapbook coming out of the New School Chapbook series. Ms. Kaufman has written a moving, personal tribute to her family is an interesting treatment on the whole notion of ‘the family album’. For me, however, there needed to be more images or none at all. The black & white photos were a tease. As this was one long prose poem, perhaps that determined the number of photos in the book. Yet, the format could have been ‘toyed’ with a bit more.

I also want to note that Ms. Kaufman is involved with running the Belladonna series in New York which has produced many fine chapbooks over the past few year. Bless you, Erica for all your hard work; your rewards await you in heaven.

a gravure and five drawings with text
Elaine Galen & Edward Colker
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
New York, New York
© 1963

This is less a ‘chapbook’ as a loose collection of drawings with text. As the title suggests. The text was provided by Elaine Galen with the etchings by Edward Colker. It’s a beautiful experiment. One that works. One of only 100 made.

Bird in the Overhang
Jennifer Gittings-Dalton
Springfed Chapbook Series
Foothills Publishing
Kanona, NY
© 2007

I must defer to El Lissitzky who wrote in 1931 "The book must be the unified work of the author and the designer. As long as this is not the case, splendid exteriors will constantly be produced for unimportant contents, and visa-versa." Unfortunately, that’s what has happened here. The wonderful poems by Jennifer Gittings-Dalton are wrapped in a frankly boring cover which does no justice to the work. I understand that this is the publisher’s decision, and as this particular volume is number 65 in this series but - he has been milking the cover design for all it is worth. Seriously, invest in hiring someone who can do something ELSE with the covers. PLEASE!!!!!

Hot Water Review 1981
# 4
Peter Bushyeager, editor
Philadelphia, PA

Bright pink cover with red lettering, Hot Water Review 1981. This is a great collection of text with images, well ahead of its time, featuring Philadelphia legend Joel Colton, who died at Mount St. Helens eruption, along with the editor, Peter Bushyeager, Andrei Codrescu, Richard Kostelanetz, Ron Padgett, and others. It’s a shame that sometimes the most interesting work has the shortest lifespan. This is a great volume. I would imagine rare as hell to find, but – FIND A COPY! (no, you can not have my copy)