Tuesday, September 16, 2008

chapbooks 26

Chapbooks are now coming from all directions, sometimes on purpose and sometimes quite accidental. For example, I found Young Poet's Primer by Gwendolyn Brooks in a box at the local library where the friends of the library give away books, free. Perfect condition too.

Young Poet's Primer
Gwendolyn Brooks
Brooks Press
Chicago, IL
© 1980

This copy was the third printing, 1986. A slender 15 pages. The most traditional looking chapbook in the ones I am writing about today. Great book for beginning poets.

dying trees
Nathaniel Tarn
Rain Taxi
Minneapolis, MN
© 2003

This green cover, hand-stitched with green thread chapbook (6 1/4” X 8 1/2”) has 31 pages. It’s #135 of 200. There’s an image of a bug on the front cover which, I presume, kills certain types of trees. The work is solid. If one is familiar with Nathaniel Tarn, this is a great chap to complete a collection of his work.

2 chapbooks from Winterling Press
Emma Phillipps
Winterling Press
Auckland, New Zealand
© 2007

Stunning, marvelous, creative packaging; ie, WOW. Winterling Press is the brainchild of New Zealand poet (and publisher) Emma Phillipps and man does she hit her stride with these two small chapbooks. ‘there is always the impossibility of being able to move sideways’ and ‘for we who love, at the instant aw being entirely different from it’ are among the most interesting and well made items I have ever seen or held, period.

Each is a single poem with what appears to be handmade paper covers. The text is witty and quite startling to the eye (as she sprinkles letters on the page like pixie dust) to wondrous effect. The cover to the first of these chapbooks seems intentionally semi-erased as though the author had second thoughts about her own work, yet it resonates with the final verse quite nicely :

“Your thoughts are casting shadows, unlike memory/
(the store) casting shadows in the shape of Letters.”

The half-hearted erasure reminds me of a palimpsest. It’s incompletion leading to strands of thought about the creative process and revisions of work as one goes through it. The text is incredibly smart as well. Kudos to you, Emma Phillipps!

Alex Gildzen
a submarine enterprise production
Cleveland, OH
© 1976

I got this chapbook from a poet/friend of mine from Philadelphia. I had not heard of this poet before nor the publishing company, if indeed it was a company or a solo effort – I don’t know. There is a color painting on the front cover by Mary Ann Begland. I love original artwork on covers, don’t you?

This is an interestingly dimensioned chapbook (8 1/2” X 7 1/4”) chapbook. I googled and found the poet still very much alive and working, He informed me that the work here is from a notebook/journal he had been keeping at the time and it contains a good deal of swimming pool imagery thus the title.

The text appears to be typewriting on blue paper. A limited edition of roughly 235 copies were produced. Great find. Thanks for sending it, ryan. I owe ya another interesting one now!

Navigate, Amelia Earhart’s Letters Home
Rebecca Loudon
No Tell Books
Reston, VA
© 2006

This handsome well made chapbook with cover design by Stacy Elaine Dacheux has a lot going for it. It’s unique dimensions (7 1/2” X 7 1/2”) and creative cover (there’s a mirror effect one has to see to get) doesn’t, however, mask the somewhat chaotic nature of the work itself. I found this a beautiful shell for a somewhat empty interior. That said, I highly recommend you search for all No Tell books on their website, and at bookstores everywhere.