Thursday, February 26, 2009

More about Cold Chair Books

“About cold chair-my collaboration with Bill (Walton) lasted about two years-as far as I can remember Bill printed 5 chapbooks-I teach at the university of the Arts now-have been here since the 70's. Playing the game in 1976, Cock Dreams in 1977 (mine), and three other books that don't even mention cold chair but were part of the project…. All in 1977-Margaret Levinson, It is Agenst (sic) the Law, Jet Wimp, The Drowning Place, and Alexandra Grilikhes, City Poems.”

These comments came from Jack De Witt in response to questions I asked about Cold Chair Books. I am pleased to say that of the 5 chapbooks mentioned, I have 3 of them now. De Witt is the Head of the Division of Liberal Arts at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He and Bill Walton created 5 unique chapbooks over a two year span from 1976-1977. All wedding image with text.

I have already written about Playing the Game which was my introduction to Cold Chair books, and now I have :

City Poems
Alexandra Grilikhes
Cold Chair Books
Philadelphia, PA

This 7” X 5” tiny chap is a marvelous blend of images with poems by Grilikhes. The project was accomplished at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia in May 1977 by three artists; Leah McCloskey, Angeline McMillan, and Ann Selvig. 200 copies of this limited edition were made. Interspersed among the poems are photos and collages of a cityscape. The front and back covers are also graced with a montage of pictures of an urban environment. Fantastic little booklet, and terribly rare, which explains my guilt in considering library theft. I did NOT steal the copy which still sits in the stacks at the Free Library, I am grateful to have gotten my own copy. This is priceless.

Cock Dreams
Jack Dewitt
Cold Chair Books
Philadelphia, PA

Done at approximately the same time as the previous chapbook, this collection of poems by Dewitt again blends image with text in a way that one might expect from people who teach at an Art school. Walton and Dewitt have taken classroom theories and applied them to actual physical things, these wonderful little chapbooks. Dewitt’s book has a few more pages but throughout this book as well as images that relate to the text. Always a good thing!

One thing I did notice is that the covers appears to be of the same stock, suggesting they were made at the same time and at the same location. Probably at the Moore College campus. These are genuine treats for the senses. Anyone who appreciates “Artist Books” will also want to track these down for their collections, absolute gems!

The search continues for the remaining two. I look forward to completing the set!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chapbooks 30

Poems From Some Latins
Leonard Cirino
Poetic Page
Madison Heights, MI

Sometime in 2008 I found a lot of chapbooks by unknown (to me) poets including Leonard Cirino. It was a lot of 3 chapbooks; 2 by Cirino and another which has been used in a book decomposition arts project. One of the two by Cirino was this 1992 handsome chapbook published by Poetic Page with cover illustration by Eduardo Smisson. 20 pages. Cirino has nearly 20 books out now, this was among the earlier ones. Very good indeed.

The Truth is not Real
Leonard Cirino
Adastra Press
Easthampton, MA

This small (6 1/2” X 3 3/4”) booklet is a single poem, beautifully presented letterpress printed chapbook. Fully illustrated. Unnumbered pages. This tiny book is a serious gem – look for it. If any books by Adastra Press are as handsome as this, buy them as well! This is near perfection of the art form. Highly recommended.

Swedish Music
Bo Alander
The Swedish Institute
Stockholm, Sweden

This finely made chapbook is actually taken from a larger manuscript by Paul Britten-Austin. Complete with photos, including an image of Jenny Lind who was remarkably well known in the United States during the Nineteenth century. 48 pages. Printed in Sweden. Very informative. For those interested in Swedish music, this is a keeper.

Watching Sparrows
Ronald Baatz
Kamini Press
Stockholm, Sweden

Another compact chapbook from Kamini Press with cover image by Henry Denander and it’s just wonderful . The copy I received is a bit of a tease for a big book coming out later this year called “Bird Effort”. Look forward to that. I like what Mr. Denander is doing with his little press.

The Geology of the South Unit
Theodore Roosevelt
National Memorial Park
Wilson Laird
Theodore Roosevelt Nature and History Association
Medora, North Dakota

This short chapbook with the long title comes as a reprint to a 1950 piece published in the North Dakota History journal. 19 pages. Stuffed full of photos, maps, and charts on the Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park. Written by Wilson Laird who served as State Geologist. Interesting bit of history and geology.