Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dakota Country by Dakota Dan Holsworth

Dakota Country : The Pioneer Years
Dakota Dan Holsworth
Pine Hill Press
Freeman, South Dakota

This 20-page chapbook appears to be representative of the work published by Pine Hill Press. The Press was founded in 1952 and is currently housed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Press specializes in Short Run books (some may see the word Vanity Press flashing before their eyes), but it’s been successful enough in what they do to be around for 58 years which is quite an accomplishment by any standard.

There is a Dan Holsworth in Madison, South Dakota who might be the same person. The chapbook itself sports two photos of the author on front and back. I found the poetry itself to be, I have to say, unremarkable. As an object, it is worth acknowledging but as literature – well, it ain’t all that.

I will say this : If I were a collector of regional material, I would want this in my collection.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Teeny Tiny & other microscopic booklets

A poet I know recently sent me a packet of chapbooks and ephemeral material and among the items was

I Wasn't There When it Happened
Christopher Wells
Teeny Tiny
Edmonds, WA

I looked at it for a few seconds and remembered that I had previously become acquainted with Teeny Tiny publications and its founder, Amanda Laughtland. Back in 2007 I happened across her somewhere, perhaps on the net, and contacted her. She responded by sending me

Amanda Laughtland
Teeny Tiny
March 2007
second edition

Teeny Tiny
March 2007

These are indeed "teeny tiny" booklets, 4 1/4" X 3". We are talking small. We are also talking interestingly created and very under the radar. Using clip-art and stampers to adorn the booklets, the folks behind Teeny Tiny have made an array of interesting "one-of-a-kind" booklets. The Wells booklet is a little better assembled - it has cover stock - while the others were made entirely out of copy paper. All of them fit comfortably into an envelope.

While we are on the subject, there are two other "microscopic" booklets I have and would like to discuss:

M. Yankelevich
Ugly Duckling Presse
Brooklyn, NY
(c) 2001

12 short ones
Barbara Torode
enoch flower publishing
Philadelphia, PA

These are tinier still: A POEM measures 2" X 2" and contains a very short little poem, two words per page. This is very early in the development of Ugly Duckling and in the publishing career of M. Yankelevich. It's nearly too small to keep and completely worth while. "12 short ones" by Philadelphia based designer/poet is slightly larger, 2 3/8" X 2 3/8". The Torode cover is color and complex. It uses accordion style printing and uses both sides for her poems. Handsome LITTLE book. #26 of 100 hand-made booklets.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Flowers of Foam by Carol Wight

Flowers of Foam
Carol Wight
F. B. & F. P. Goss
Hyannis, MA

5” X 4” staple-bound chapbook, likely letterpressed. 16 pages. 11 poems. Every other page is blank. This is a called a “Cape Cod Idyl”. It appears to have been originally published in 1892. If so, then this small chapbook, which was signed by Ms. Wight, came out 44 years after it originally was published. She would have been a significantly older woman. It was signed to “Ted and Pan”. There is an owner’s plate inside front for Theodore Johnson.

The printers/publishers, F. B. & F. P. Goss, seem to have been most active during the early decades of the 20th century and well known by Historical societies in the state of Massachusetts. This book was printed on Cape Cod. It’s an early chapbook, I was not aware of staple-bound chapbooks being made as early as 1936, but here is one. It’s in surprisingly good condition. The cover illustration is by someone with the initials of ASW. No information is available about whom that was; nor did I glean anything from a Google search for “Carol Wight”.

The poetry is certainly not of a form that I favor, but if it was first published in 1892 then it clearly is from a different time. As a collectible, it’s quite rare and handsome. Well worth the search.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Theatre by David Curry

David Curry
The Best Cellar Press
Crete, Nebraska
(c) 1973

Unpaginated. Handsome little chapbook. This press seems to have most active in the 1970s. Published something by Ted Kooser and Wendell Berry. The editor was Greg Kuzma who teaches at the University of Nebraska. A very good writer himself and a darn good publisher by the looks of this chapbook. The Poet, David Curry, has published short stories and poems in The American Review, Black Warrior Review, Crab Orchard Review, North American Review, Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah and elsewhere. His second book of poetry, Contending to be the Dream (New Rivers Press, 1979) received Special Distinction in the 1979 Elliston Book Awards for books of poetry from small, independent presses.

He received a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979. For 10 years he edited and published the little magazine Apple from Springfield, Illinois.

Theatre seems to have been among his earliest chapbooks, can't determine where it falls in his bibliography at this time. Will post any updates I received. This is a decent find! (this entry was ably assisted by Caleb Puckett, thanks Caleb!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In Fee Simple by Gene Kimmet

In Fee Simple
Gene Kimmet
Stormline Press
Urbana, IL

Representative of the work published by Stormline Press, this 39 page collection by first time author Gene Kimmet shows the strong regionalism that this Press featured. While the poems are a mixed blessing, the sense of place all the same permeates through the work.

Stormline seems to have been most active in the 1980s and published a number of Midwestern poets, writers, and photographers. This is the first book by this Press that I have happened across. It’s a very decent find. The regional voice is strong and sure. You feel the land right there in front of you. Illinois. Heartland. America.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Healing Green by David Newall

The Healing Green
David Newall
Armaus Publishers
Luton, Bedfordshire, England
P. R. MacMillan
Cambridge, England
(no year stated)

This 34 page chapbook is quite the enigma. The author is unknown. The publisher is unknown. The printer might be P. R MacMillan, Cambridge (England). I do know that this collection does have 34 stated pages and that the poems were written in English and printed in English. Sorry if I seem a bit flippant but it feels like a ball of flummox holding this virtual unknown commodity.

These poems are largely about nature. Upon clearer inspection, these poems also have some typos that someone corrected in pencil. There is no owner name, The Press had an address of Luton, Bedfordshire, England which is the home of a college and it also states on the printer info page that the book was printed in England. SO - there is that.

But little else. The cover is green. The book is staple-bound. It's a legitimate chapbook. I am guessing that it was a student's early publishing effort as it has a dreadful rhyme scheme that bores me to tears. I am leaning toward SAVE A TREE for this one. I might have to pulp this copy myself - but I am almost intrigued to find out more about this book before being "rash". Anyone out there know anything about it?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Commenting on two Plan B Press chapbooks

Richard Erdmann
Plan B Press
Stay-at-Home Press

The Mutual Life
Relationships, Colonization and Other Accidents
A Manual of Reference
James Thomas Stevens
Plan B Press

I haven’t written before in this blog about any chapbooks published by Plan B Press since I am the co-founder and head of Plan B Press. Felt like a conflict of interest. However the thrust of my comments here have to do with the books published by one of our divisions : Stay At Home Press. Not that that matters terribly much except that I have a bit less to do with this division than our “running man” division of the Press.

The concept behind Stay–at-Home Press is the attempt to wed image with text in a more realizable way. And to do this in the “book” format, not relying on or hiding behind the non-conventions of the e-book. To produce something a person can hold : a book. This, of course, was only the most basic reason for developing this new division of the Press. One of the statements that our Press tries to adhere to came from El Lissitzky who in 1931 wrote: “The book must be the unified work of author and the designer. As long as this is not the case, splendid exteriors will constantly be produced for unimportant contents, and visa-versa.

Our first attempt was Richard Erdmann’s chapbook Without. This chapbook melded text with image and image with text on. It was more of an experiment than a finished project, in hindsight I say, and as often happens – the poet disappeared into this “day clothes”. It happens. What remains is the chapbook - what has been lost is the meaning or the attempted meaning of the work.

The project that SHOULD have been the first Stay-at-Home Press book was James Thomas Stevens’ 2006 chapbook The Mutual Life . Stevens took much of the language as well as the illustrations that exist in the chapbook and the recreated cover from the original 1901 Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York: Accidents, Emergencies, and Illnesses published BY The Mutual Life of New York. The chapbook itself was the second phase of the work; it was created in 2004 for a writers convention and then published by Plan B Press as the fullest expression of its potentiality (complete with use of same font headings, etc.) before landing in a more neutered state with his 2007 Salt Publishing full book entitled A Bridge Dead in the Water. (the version that exists in that book is devoid of illustrations and the font matches the rest of the book) Besides being the most true expression of the merging of image with text, it presented the most compelling argument for the creation of the Stay-at-Home Division to date. However, Without was not successful as the first effort.

There will surely be more to come from this division as manuscripts continue to come our way with stronger visual elements. At the same time, there are entire publishing firms that dwell only in the e-book universe which challenges the dimension and understanding of what “text” and “book” will mean in the 21st century.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Oranges From Palestine by Mike Maggio

Oranges From Palestine (and other poems)
Mike Maggio
Mardi Gras Press
Harvey, LA
(c) 1996 2nd printing

This 31 page chapbook is a beautiful love bouquet from a poet to a great love, as well as the Middle East that she came from. It's an wonderful gift.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In The War by Jennifer Jean

In The War
Jennifer Jean
Big Table Publishing Co.
(c) 2010

Big Table Publishing Co. seems to be located somewhere in Massachusetts, although they are reluctant to state exactly where. I find that curious for a publishing company. Really? You don't want people to know where you are located? How does that work for you? I mean, you have to send an email to them in order to submit poems for consideration through the mail. What? They email you back their mailing address? Weird, weird, and more weird.

It may well be that this book is about the Vietnam War through the eyes and memory of a little girl whose lost her father (twice?) to that horror. But it's as much about something else. Different/other things. It's an Odyssey across America. One girl's maturity coming with haunting shadows of sorrow. Perhaps; yet it can only give what a girl much too young to understand the HELL of what that jungle war did to her father, and every father/son/husband/spouse went through simply to survive it; little more than glimpses through a prism.

I am a veteran of the era although I served my four years (1975-79) state-side. Unless one lived through it, one has no real point of reference to it. The "it" lingers just off the page throughout this book. It's a valid effort to be sure, and as an effort it has, I do hope, helped the author to come to terms with things beyond her comprehension as a child.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Asa Benveniste

As recently as a few days ago I had no idea who Asa Benveniste was, nor Ray DiPalma, nor had I ever heard of Doones Press. Then I saw a listing on ebay for a chapbook entitled "Listen" and there was a photo and I looked at the photo of this chapbook and decided to investigate a little.

Asa Benveniste was born 1925 in New York, which he left in 1948 'after being pursued by a doppelganger in the same furnished coven in Irving Place which Madame Blavatsky inhabited several decades earlier.' Between 1948 and 1950 he lived in France and Tangier co-editing the literary magazine ZERO. From 1950 he has lived in England 'learning English, straightening ice cream bricks on a conveyor belt, character acting in the provinces, market gardening, rearing chickens and pedigree dogs, editing books and publishing poetry.'

The following list was lifted from Cuneiform Press Blog (list was assembled by Kyle Schlesinger)

Arranged by year, this checklist includes books and a few ephemeral items by poet and publisher of Trigram Press, Asa Benveniste. It includes collaborations and co-publications with other authors, but does not include appearances in periodicals. Corrections and additions welcome at any time. Items followed by ‘ns’ are those that I have ‘not seen’ in person. – K.S. (12.20.09)

Poems of the Mouth (London: Trigram Press) 1966. [book]

A Word in Your Season: a Portfolio of Six Serigraphs w/Jack Hirschman (London: Trigram Press) 1967. [book]

Count Three (San Francisco: Cranium Press) 1969. [book]

The Atoz Formula (London: Trigram Press) 1969. [book]

Umbrella (London: Larry and Ruby Wallrich) 1972. [ephemera]

Time Being w/ Tom Raworth, Ray DiPalma; printed and illustrated by Elisabeth Brandfast (London: Trigram Press) 1972. [book]

Blockmaker’s Black illustrated by Ralph Steadman (London: Steam Press) 1974. [ephemera] ns

Certainly Metaphysics (Bowling Green, OH: Blue Chair Press) 1974. [broadside]

Edge (London: Joe Dimaggio) 1975. [book]

Dense Lens w/ Brian Marley (London: Trigram Press) 1975. [book]

Listen (Bowling Green, OH: Doones Press) 1975. [book] ns

A Part Apart (Osterley, UK: The White Dog Press) 1976. [book] ns

Loose Use (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Pig Press) 1977. [book] ns

Colour Theory image by Marc Vaux (London: Trigram Press) 1977. [ephemera]

Language: Enemy, Pursuit w/ note by David Meltzer (Berkeley: Poltroon Press) 1980. [book]

Throw Out the Life Line Lay Out the Corse: Poems 1965-1985 (London: Anvil Press Poetry Ltd) 1983. [book]

Pommes Poems cover by Agneta Falk (Lancashire: Arc Publications) 1988. [book]

Textural (London: Turret Books) 1989. [ephemera] ns

Invisible Ink (Philadelphia: Singing Horse Press/Branch Redd Books) 1989. [book]

Hadrian's Dream images by Ken Campbell (London: Circle Press) 1990. [book] ns

Besides being a poet, Asa also worked as a printer, a typographer, and as a book designer. In London during 1965, he co-founded and managed the Trigram Press, which published work by Tom Raworth, Jack Hirschman, J. H. Prynne, David Meltzer, B S Johnson, Gavin Ewart and Lee Harwood amongst others.

In the 1980s Benveniste and his partner Agnetha Falk moved to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire where they operated a secondhand bookshop. When he died in 1990, Benveniste was buried in the graveyard of Heptonstall church.

Doones Press began as a small literary magazine, Doones, published by Raymond DiPalma, at Bowling Green State University in 1969. DiPalma began editing and publishing works of poetry as Doones Press in 1970. Doones seemed to run from 1969-1976. DiPalma's wikipedia page deals with his accomplishments as a published poet and his several books; No mention currently is there of his work as a publisher. Interestingly enough.

DiPalma is associated with the LANGUAGE poets. He now lives in NYC.

In the process, I discovered this wonderful recording by Roy Fisher of his poem, At the Grave of Asa Benveniste

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PA local anthology

Winning Voices
The Summit Arts Fellowship
Poetry Awards Anthology
Fall 1995
Summit Station, PA

This oversized anthology, edited by Kate Potter, is a great representation of the poetic voices to be found in the coal region during the mid-1990s. Among the nearly 30 poets represented here is Deborah Filanowski, whom was published by Plan B Press in 2005. 32 pages. Nice central PA collector's item.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spring Wanderings by "J. H. Martin"

Spring Wanderings
J. H. Martin
Rivers & Lakes Press
People's Republic of China
(c) 2009

I found this book in an antique shop in rural PA about a month ago. It's a beautifully made book that by my calculations ought to be a "chapbook" but isn't. The publisher, Rivers & Lakes Press, is located in China. The book was printed there in 2009. There seems to be a website for the press but it's as vague as the material about the press and the author IN the book.

The poetry itself is beautiful and mysterious. It reflects the country that the work is about (China). The "biographic notes" about the author lend much to vague generalities and vapor trails. The "bio" ends :

"Wherever he is, whatever he is doing I wish him good luck and hope that, somehow, he may
see this slim volume one day."

Indeed so.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Visitor by Steve Lewandowski

Steve Lewandowski
White Pine Press
Buffalo, NY
(c) 1976

This is a thin chapbook; all of 18 pages. The cover image is echoed inside without credit. There is an image of a tree, possibly a white pine, on the back cover along with the words "white pine 8". There is little else in the collection to go on - I was able to locate White Pine Press online. The press began in 1973 and is well respected for having published poets and fiction writers of note. (Robert Bly, Neruda, James Wright)

This particular collection is an earlier chapbook of theirs. Staple-bound. Mint green cover. No info about the poet. Street address in Buffalo that likely hasn't been the Press's for over 25 years. The poetry has an air of the Asian, of mystery and sustained breathing to it. It's a pleasant change.

I contacted and heard back from Dennis Maloney, who is the publisher/editor of White Pine Press. He said that this book was published in a quantity of 150-200 copies as was the range that they published back then.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Josephine Miles

Fields of Learning
Josephine Miles
Berkeley, CA
(c) 1968

Not enough can be said of Josephine Miles as a catalyst for the development of the "Beat Generation" as well as the San Francisco Renaissance. Her importance lay both in her own work and in her position at U Cal - Berkeley, but additionally as a mentor and sponsor for a number of younger poets who were gathering in the Bay area during the late 1950s and into the 1960s.

This small collection, 25 pages, focused on some of her experiences in academia. While not written in a "Beat style", her questioning mind and rich use of metaphor does provide linkage to the Beats. Josephine was written about in acclaimed 1996 Women of the Beat Generation by Brenda Knight.

The following is a history of Oyez Press which I took from the Thomas Dodd Research Library archives page concerning their holdings of Oyez Press books; "Robert Hawley was born in 1929 in Stockbridge, Wisconsin. He was a student at Black Mountain College in 1956, shortly before that institution closed its doors. Although he already had an M.A. in English and was an aspiring poet, Charles Olson discouraged him in this regard, but suggested to Hawley that he give publishing a try. By 1957, Hawley was in Berkeley, California, working as a bookseller specializing in Western Americana at the Holmes Book Company.

In 1964, Robert Hawley and Stevens van Strum started the Oyez Press by soliciting poems from noteworthy American poets to be published in a series of broadsides, effectively pioneering this publishing medium for poetry. This initial series consisted of ten broadsides, by such poets as William Everson (Brother Antoninus), Gary Snyder, Charles Olson, Michael McClure, and others. The first Oyez book was a collection of poetry by David Meltzer. It was during this period that Hawley began his business relationship with printer Graham Mackintosh. The Oyez poetry editions were well regarded for the simplicity and elegance of their designs. Although not all Oyez books were designed by Mackintosh, several of his designs did receive awards, including an edition of William Everson's Single Source that was selected as one of the 50 books of the year by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

By the late 1960s, Oyez was publishing about ten books a year, even after Stevens van Strum departed the concern (around 1968), and even though Hawley continued with his day job at the Holmes Book Company. Although the print runs of Oyez books were limited at the cost of the books was kept low, the press did well so long as it had standing orders from universities and book stores with an interest in poetry and rare books. However, inventories began to mount and the cash reserves of the press began to dwindle in time. Hawley eventually turned over the distribution of the Oyez titles to Serendipity Books.

In 1978, Hawley opened his own book shop, the Ross Valley Book Company, in Albany, California (near Oakland). Even though the Oyez press continued to publish sporadically during the next few years, money troubles seriously limited the pace of Hawley's publishing projects. While a collection of poems by Samuel Charters was published in 1992, it is the only book-length project put out by Oyez since 1987. However, friends of the press have also received periodic keepsakes and pamphlets with the Oyez imprint over the years."

My own copy came from a collection that was purchased by a comics and used books dealer in San Francisco. It's a very simple chapbook, staple-bound, type-written pages as was the style of the times, and devoid of any info about the Press or the author.
Nonetheless, it's a valuable slice of late 1960s poetics.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dorrance Publishing = vanity press

a collection of thoughts and feelings after nineteen years
john michael hohl
Dorrance & Company
Philadelphia, PA
(c) 1971

I found another "chapbook" (hardbound book of 50 pages with a dust jacket) in a second-hand shop and decided to look it over. The poetry is journal entry level. The production is unremarkable. I have seen the name Dorrance around but never had a legitimate poetry book title nor a respected poet's name associated with or printed by this press.

Avoid books published by Dorrance (now located in Pittsburgh, PA) and this book should not have ever been published, blah! SAVE A TREE!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the shadowy little "Vigilance Society"

Several months ago, I found a small chapbook online called "Priest" by Andrew Rippeon. The booklet/chapbook had no other identifying features other than the image of an eye on the inside back cover with the words Viligance Society 1917-2009 beneath the image. That was it.

It's a beautifully made mystery indeed. An intentional question mark.

I was, of course, intrigued. I wrote the author, Andrew Rippeon, and he responded;

"Thanks for the contact, and I'm glad PRIEST made it into your hands.

Sad to say, I can't offer much more than you've already got on the Vigilance Society. I've been receiving their (its?) items for about two years now--little chaplets and broadsides with work by Rob Halpern, CJ Martin, Craig Dworkin, Eli
Drabman. The most recent to arrive was by David Brazil.

I get one about every 4 or 5 months, and I've noticed that the postmark always shifts (I've been interested in them for a while, too!). Some are marked on the west coast, some on the east coast, and some have been posted (or post-marked) in
places like Colorado and Nevada.

After receiving their booklets for about 18 months, I got an email--it was something like "vigilance@- or vigilance-ed@..."--asking for short work and giving me a hard deadline (10 days!), after which my response would then be ignored. I sent off the PRIEST poems, and the books I got in response are simply exquisite! (my copies posted from Seattle, by the way).

I wish I could say more, but that's about as much as I know--I'm fascinated by the press, and I've gotten used to looking for the card-sized envelopes in the mail at this point. PRIEST is 2009, to answer the only other question I can."

he also directed me elsewhere, "you might also check this post from Ron Silliman some years back:Rob Halpern, Vigilance

I'd just started reading Rob's work (Rumored Place) when I came across this post and, shortly after, received one of my very first Vigilance chaps in my mail here at Buffalo. (The poems there have since been published in Rob's excellent book,
Disaster Suites)".

I found and contacted Mr. Halpern via Facebook without much success. The mystery remains, albeit a beautiful one

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Hour by Javier Sologuren

The Hour
Javier Sologuren
(translated by Elizabeth Dooman Kauffman)
Lagniappe Series
La Yapa Editores
© 1990

Peruvian poet and editor Javier Sologuren is widely known and published. This 33 page chapbook contains the poem “The Hour” in English and in Spanish. The cover image was created by Luis Rebaza-Soraluz. This copy is #54 of a limited publication quantity of 70. It is also signed by the author.

The only critique or observation I have is that the English translation could have benefited from spell-check. There’s a glaring “de” instead of “the” on page 8 of the English text of the poem. Minor point, but there it is.

Rare chapbook by an underappreciated poet.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Remains by Bernadette Geyer

What Remains
Bernadette Geyer
The Argonne House Press
Washington, DC 20009

To his credit, R.D. Baker, the force behind Argonne House Press, has published a number of Washington DC based poets in this chapbook series. Along with several collections of his own work, it should be noted. The chapbooks are stylistically formatted and unoriginal. The concept of having photos of the poet on the cover doesn’t necessarily speak to the work within but does say something of the intent of the publisher.

This 34-page collection is visually undermined; the work is much better than the presentation. Bernadette Geyer can flat out WRITE!

And in all honesty, who hosts a poetry press on www.angelfire.com? That’s so late 1990s.

Monday, August 02, 2010

the non-chapbook chapbook

Barbara Crooker
Linwood Publishers
Stone Mountain, GA
(c) 1991

A bit of a disclaimer: I know Barbara Crooker. When I was booking poetry readings at Robin's in Philadelphia, I brought in Barbara to read back in 2002. She also served as the judge for the 2010 Plan B Press chapbook contest. We seen each other at events, I have gone to see her at readings.

This "chapbook", Obbligato, was her 6th collection. I have written in the past how fictitious it is to call a chapbook with a spine a book and yet some publishers determine that for whatever reason, that's exactly what they decide to do. Since I knew Barbara, I wrote her to get her take on this book.

When I asked what her intention as the author was for the book, she replied, "Oh, yes, it's definitely a chapbook, and was always intended to be a chapbook. It's possible the publisher wasn't aware of the difference, and/or he liked the elegance of the spine. I have quite a few chapbooks in my own collection that do have spines, for what it's worth. . . .". Indeed, the dilemma is here stated, authors are very aware of books that are outside of the form but also are very particular about what they envisioned with their work. Elsewhere Crooker wrote "but I have no idea why it has a spine (wasn't my idea, that much I do know)".

I mentioned to Barbara that there seemed to have been some issues with the lay-out, some pages where missing or mis-spaced. She was very aware of that situation as well, "Also, you might notice that the title poem has a "pasted-in" page after the first page. That's because he left page two out! I got him to fix it, I thought, but when I "inherited" the remaining copies, I found that they were all still blank. So I ran off some extra pages, and rubber-cemented them all in."

When I spoke about authors have little control over what a small press publisher might decide to do to represent the work, Barbara responded in a way that all poets who have dealt with publishers know all too well, " As for why/how anything gets done in publishing, don't ask the writers! We have no power! Sometimes, you don't know there are going to be problems until the end, when it's too late to do anything. . . ." Ain't it the truth!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spaceships of the Soul

Spaceships of the Soul
Stanley D. Trefren
self published
Tigard, Oregon
(c) 1958

I found this on ebay. Unnumbered pages. Inscribed and signed by author. Not much in the way of history for this one. I contacted the seller who told me it was part of a lot of books she bought from someone in Portland, Oregon. That would make sense. It was published in 1958 : the year after Sputnik. The idea of Spaceships was fresh on people's minds. I sense that this collection was written by a preacher. It's very Christian and "sermony". Syrupy, perhaps.

If one were a collector of Christian poetry chapbooks, one ought to add this to their collection. It is well made and handsome.

a good friend updated this post by writing "He was a Methodist pastor in Richmond Beach, WA in the 30's through the 70's. He was born 1903 in Idaho and died in 1991. He was married to Hazel Bartlett. This appears to be the only thing he ever published." And in fact, the dedication to the collection is addressed "To my wife, Hazel...". So there you go!

Monday, July 19, 2010

updating chap*book blog

The following comes from an email exchange I recently had with Allan Kornblum, founder of Toothpaste Press and later Coffee House Press :

“Many thanks for your kind words. Actually our last Toothpaste book, Makeup on Empty Space, came out in January 84, and our first Coffee House season was fall 84. We opened with a book of stories by Keith Abbott, a novel by Bobbie Louise Hawkins, and a poetry/art collaboration by Ntozake Shange and her friend, Wopo Hollup.

With regard to the last chapbook printed under the Toothpaste imprint (emphasis his)—that’s an interesting question. I’ll have to do a little research on that one to check it out.

When we began Coffee House, I was hoping to continue printing chapbooks in addition to trade books, and we published about fifteen or twenty chapbooks under the Morning Coffee imprint, before the trade book side of things became so overwhelming that I had to drop the letterpress books entirely. I was sad about it, but proud to see the attention our trade books were getting, and the difference those books made in the lives of our authors.”

I did not know that Coffee House had a chapbook imprint in the beginning and after Googling it, no one else seems to know much about it either. More research will be needed.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Anne Waldman

Recently I came upon

Anne Waldman
Z Press
Calais, VT

Anne Waldman has been much published in the small press world and this is a perfect example of it. 21 pages, staple-bound. Cover photo of Ms. Waldman holding a book. It’s a great collection of work. On the last page of the chapbook is a listing of her previously published work, and the last item on that listing is Makeup On Empty Space. This collection is credited as the last book produced by Toothpaste Press in 1984.

Earlier I posted a link to an interview with Allan Kornblum, the editor of Coffee House Press who had previously founded and was the editor of Toothpaste Press. In the interview he mentioned how Makeup on Empty Space was the last book produced by Toothpaste Press. I got a copy of that book and was a bit surprised to be holding a perfect bound book of 75 pages.

Toothpaste Press ended and Coffee House Press began and the transition had actually taken place earlier than the Waldman book, I haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact moment (yet) but at some moment along their publishing path, Kornblum and his staff ceased producing chapbooks in favor of books with spines. “Normal” books. I understand that for financial reasons it makes perfect sense to make the leap to perfect bound books. But what is lost along the way is the immediacy of a chapbook.

Coffee House Press books are slick by comparison. In this, “slick” is not a compliment. A certain degree of integrity is lost when a publisher abandons a style that has made them unique for one that makes them profitable. While I seek out and collect Toothpaste Press chapbooks, I don’t do the same for Coffee House books. Even this final book on Toothpaste, this Waldman book, has character. The cover is matte pink cover stock with a letterpress feel to it. The tell-tale Toothpaste Press logo appears for the last time on the back cover. It’s an end of an era. And in the words of Kurt Vonnegut, “so it goes”.

And so it goes, new presses spring forth with new energy. On into the future!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Bundle of Sticks by Jim Mancinelli

Prior to Plan B Press publishing Jim Mancinelli's chapbook IN DEEP in 2004, he had self-published one chapbook; Primer , and 2 broadsides. Both of his broadsides were particularly political. One was entitled "A Bundle of Sticks". It was published by Squirrel Baby Press in 2002.

A Bundle of Sticks deals with the homophobic period of time as the new Republican regime took over the nation with George Bush, the younger, established as President and Congress held by Republicans in both houses. The right wing regime was now in place and with the post 9*11 patriotic hysteria rampant across the country, those who sought equality for minorities, however that word is defined, were being marginalized and silenced. In this atmosphere leading up to the invasion of Iraq, Mancinelli fumed about the treatment of gays across America and how little attention was given to their brutalization by their "fellow citizens". (recall if you will, the name Matthew Shepard)

This led to the vomiting of that outrage on paper, to the creation of this broadside. Starting with Walt Whitman's "hearing America sing", the song that Mancinelli hears is hate-filled and venomous. It echoes another time in another country (Germany from 1933). It is not the land that Jim Mancinelli grew up in; it is not a land of love and tolerance but one that recoils from its own hideous shadow. A nation that kills what it does not understand. A nation seething in self-loathing.

In the midst of the new wave of "the culture wars" being waged in America over gay rights - still, to this day - this broadside is an important reminder that the era of turning the other cheek has not secured the rights that people who dare to love their "fellow man" (or fellow women), are deemed unnatural by those who can not maintain their own monogamous married states (consider how many of the leading Conservative blowhards in the US have been divorced - more than once!!!)

This is an important statement being made, a must read.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Judson Crew & the origins of Coffee House Press

I have wrote in the past about my admiration of Toothpaste Press which was active in the 1970's, here's an interview with it's founder, Allan Kornblum Publisher talks about Coffee House Press, who also went on to "jump trains", essentially changing Toothpaste Press into Coffee House Press.

Also, I have recently written about obtaining a copy of the first chapbook by Judson Crew. Well, someone posted on my blogger page that Crew died on May 17, 2010. Rest in Peace, Mr. Crew (and your hatful of aliases), may ALL of your personas glide off into the sunset.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

chapbooks 43

Sonnet Sequences
A monthly magazine publishing the
Modern American Sonnet
Murray and Hazel Marshall (ed.)
#350 & #355
July & Dec. 1957
Bladensburg, MD

Each “issue” of this magazine is unnumbered with a stiff paper stock cover. They retailed for a quarter. #350 is entirely made up of 12 translated sonnets by Paul Verlaine. The translations were done by Murray Marshall.

There is precise little on the Net currently about Murray L Marshall, his wife Hazel S. Marshall, or their publication, Modern American Sonnet. M.A.S. appears in special collections now online and in various libraries. A very few copies appear for sale on the standard online platforms. Not much to go on.

#355 has sonnets in it by Margaret G Hindes, Bessie Berg, Alfred Leland Mooney, Mildred W. Bradley, Bonnie May Malody, and Joseph Upper along with Murray L Marshall. Now at least I was able to find something on these people – they were more than NAMES. They had recorded lives!

Margaret G. Hindes was married to Osmond Molarsky in 1971 until her death in 2002. They lived the San Francisco area. Ms. Hindes had been a social worker and poet. Molarsky had been an author and radio personality.

Bessie Berg’s work appeared throughout the 1950s in publications like Desert Magazine. She lived in Rio Linda, California.

Alfred Leland Mooney was an educator and a poet whose work appeared in newspapers and magazines in his day. He died in 1977 at the age of 70.

Joseph Upper had a piece in the Poets Lore – that was issue #33 – in 1922.

Mildred W Bradley was the author of the collection Living and Gleaning published in 1977 by Prairie Poet Books.

Bonnie May Malody lived in California and wrote haiku as well as sonnets.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

each chapbook is a story in itself

Each chapbook is a story in itself - the publisher, the poet/author, the designer/illustrator - each has a story and a history. Along the way, I have found many tales and yarns. Some fascinating and others truly pitiful. Part of the reason I write this admittedly infrequent blog is that these authors - these publishers - these people need to be remembered in some fashion. Their chapbooks alone acknowledge their existence as people. Their names live on, however delicately, through their "thin slivers of nothing" (the weight of a chapbook when stacked on a shelf with various TOMES between)

It takes people like me to find and collect them. It takes others to create them and others to bring them to a weary public, forever put upon to be amazed at the new next wave of material splashing against the shoreline of their attention span. The shoreline is always in recession.

It's not so much a matter of locating a priceless gem of a chapbook but simply to find one whose author and publisher and illustrators have disappeared from our consciousness. And to bring them back to life - just by mentioning the details .... the very EXISTENCE .... of the chapbook again.

I have up until now, presented the details as clinically as possible, when merited I have gone into a bit of detail more but not much. My purpose has to been to acknowledge the chapbooks themselves. Sometimes it was been to bemoan the making of a dreadful creation, sometimes trees should not have fallen for a book's making. But for the most part, I have been incredibly surprised by the backstory of some presses and some authors.

Even the recent finds of chapbooks by a Pegasus Buchanan proved worthwhile although I would never had purchased them for their literary merit (don't like that style of poetry, I am afraid) but for their production quality and thoughtful creation. Someone was thinking about the presentation of the work - I admire that.

Instead of writing about groups of 4 or 5 chapbooks at a time, I am going to see if I can write more about a single chapbook at a time and see how that goes. I do have a small and committed audience (thank you) and I won't try and bore anyone.

Look for something different tomorrow!

till then,


Monday, June 07, 2010

Pegasus Buchanan

I found 2 chapbooks by a Pegasus Buchanan on ebay for very little money. Never heard of her, the seller lived in California. Why not? What I got when they arrived were two rather interesting enigmas.

River Path
Pegasus Buchanan
self published
Ponoma, California
(c) 1965

Chestnut Street
Pegasus Buchanan
self published
Ponoma, California

Pegasus Buchanan is as much "from another generation" as poets in the 1850's would have been to her. She is what I would call a "watercolorist" as a poet. Her poems, not surprisingly, were often published in various US magazines in the 1950s & 1960s. Each of her chapbooks were illustrated by someone named Jane Forsyth.

Ms. Buchanan was born in 1918 and died in 2006. In her adult life she was known as a mainstay of the California Federation of Chaparral Poets. She had served as President of this organization over many years and sat on their annual poetry contest committee.

She was a third generation poet. Her mother and grandmother each were poets. (how rare is that in America? Three generations of women poets in the same family???!!)

While this is commendable, her work is trite and trivial. It's "safe". It's Saturday Evening Post - safe. The exact type of poetry that modern and post-modern and the Beat poets were revolting against. And the rhyme schemes? SO dull and predictable that I was bored early on in each book, I don't believe I actually read through either. Honest, not my cup of tea. I actually like TEA in my tea. Something to taste. Not simply "Isn't that nice" sentimentality. (because, of course, it isn't nice!!)

Think Woman's Club socials and after church gathering in the village green - that's what this is. Double ugh.

Friday, May 14, 2010

they came from Indiana

On the first Friday of April, two poets blew into town from Bloomington, Indiana. Tony Brewer and Joseph Kerschbaum. Together they comprise half a the Reservoir Dogwood poetry troupe. Individually, their output is also intense. Here is a brief sampling of some of the work I came away with that evening :

Dead Starts Have No Graves
Joseph Kerschbaum
Pathwise Press
Erie, PA

a single long poem, 36 pages. Done on extremely nice paper. Fine quality work. Silver lettering on black cover stock. Very cool chapbook.

Yet to be dismantled
new poems
Joseph Kerschbaum & Tony Brewer
Matrix Magazine
Bloomington, IN
publication date unknown

an interesting little tease booklet of some new poems and artwork.

Reservoir Dogwood
Indiana Poetry Tour booklet
Kerschbaum Brewer Jackson Ammerman

a single poem by each member of the troupe with photos and a tour schedule on the back.

Your Casual Survival
(the air and the echo)
Joseph Kerschbaum
Plan B Press
Alexandria, VA

Cover art by Amy Casey. 30 pages, various poetry styles explored in this collection. All with two titles (2titles).

Much of Kerschbaum’s work sparkles off the page. He also has two spoken word CDs and 3 previous books. It was quite an evening and quite a haul. Keep an eye on this one, he's got the stuff to make people notice and the talent to get them in the house!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Save A Tree

In this case the tree was felled in 1971 or '72. The chapbook is 8 1/2 X 5 1/2". Yellow cover with drawings by the author. The chapbook is entitled Haiku and other poems by Sam B. Field. It was self published in Marlborough, MA.

The poems are not Haiku. They are like Haiku or styled to resemble Haiku, but they are simply terrible. The drawings are better than the poems. The copy I have was signed by the author's brother...... the purpose of which is unknown to me as he was neither a co-writer nor the illustrator.

This unfortunate chapbook goes straight to the pulper. Ugh! Save a tree!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

chapbooks 42

Chapbooks 42

I have been fortunate enough to meet Tony Mancus, one of the founders of Flying Guillotine Press who has relocated to Northern VA. As a connoisseur of the chapbook form, I recognized right away the uniqueness of each of their chapbooks and the uniqueness of their concept (among other things, they only make 74 copies of any of their books) Read more about this press Here. A sampling of their work:

The Saint’s Notebook
Kate Schapira
Flying Guillotine Press
© 2009

The smallest of the 3 chapbooks, sown design on burlap material. 4 ½ x 5 ¾ “. Unnumbered pages. The poetry is good. The choice of cover material does make this item one that need to be unhandled – or one that will quickly disintegrate. Either way, it’s very cool.

Michael Robins
Flying Guillotine Press

5 ¾ x 5 ¾ “. Cover paper cover with photo of flower on front cover. Photo is held on by photo corners, very old school. Poetry is good.

All the Little Red Girls
Angela Veronica Wong
Flying Guillotine Press

Vellum covering over red cloth ribbon. Finger print in upper right corner of front cover. 8 ½ x 5 ½ “. The most standard sized chapbook of the batch.

Gathering Down Women
Michael Gushue
Pudding House Chapbook Series
Columbus, Ohio

The poetry here is fantastic. A great collection, bound by title and theme extremely well; a fine chapbook. As far as substance, yes. As far as style or originality of design; NO. This is not the doing of the author. Pudding House books look like, well, Pudding House books. Same paperstock. Same bewildering image selection. Same introductory note/disclaimer on back of title page. I have to say I am not a fan of Pudding House Press. At the same time, I am a fan of Michael Gushue’s work. Look past the appearance and feast on the words. They are wonderful words.

Book Collecting : A Primer
Thomas C. Hamm, editor
C. Dickens
Atlanta, Georgia
©1996 , 9th printing

At 75 pages, this chapbook straddles the line between forms, and formats. My own feeling is that this ought to be have been a book with a spine. While it’s beautifully made and went through several printings, its size is still more in the book world and less in the chapbook world. Great resource for those beginning book collectors.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

chapbooks 41

Sad-Faced Men
William Logan
David R. Godine
Boston, MA

Previously I have discussed briefly the seeming non-literal interpretation of the word “chapbook” to include nearly anything. Case in point is this hard-bound “chapbook” with a dust cover and a photo of Logan on the back.

Yes, this is an incredibly handsome book. 40 pages of fine paper. Nice endpages. Binding tight. Part of a 4th series of “A Godine Poetry Chapbook” line of books. I would argue that this is not a chapbook. It’s the Godine version of an Easton Press book. A highly collectible book, certainly. But it’s laughable to compare this “chapbook” with something made by any number of actual fine small presses. This is not –despite its name – a chapbook.

Cattails Knee-Deep in Water
Patricia Wild
self published

This seems to have been a “beginner” book, a test run. NO publisher info, no year of publication. NO author info. NO pages count. Poems that span pages and multiple poems to other pages. It’s a mess. SAVE A TREE!!!

Party of Black
Truth Thomas
mouth mark
United Kingdom

Well-made chapbook. 41 pages. Staple-bound. Author has a connection to Washington DC, which is where I found it. Great find!

The Southern Temper
Judson Crews
Motive Book Shop
Waco, Texas

This is the first chapbook by Judson Crews. The Cover is blank, front and back. 32 pages. An illustration is on the last page. Written in August 1944. Motive Book Shop was run by Crews. After the publication of this chapbook, he moved his operations to Taos, New Mexico. This is a rare chapbook from a relatively unknown author. However, an increasing amount has been written about Judson Crews , some of which is here included:

Judson Crews, poet, editor, publisher, and book dealer, was born June 30, 1917, in Waco, Texas, to Noah George Crews and Tommie Farmer Crews. In 1947 he married Mildred Tolbert, a photographer and writer who also contributed to her husband's early publications and works. They had two children, Anna Bush and Carole Judith, before divorcing in 1980. Crews received both the B.A. (1941) and M.A. (1944) in Sociology from Baylor University, and during 1946-1947 studied fine arts at Baylor. In addition, Crews did graduate study at the University of Texas, El Paso in 1967. He has worked as an educator at Wharton County Junior College, New Mexico (1967-1970), the University of New Mexico, Gallup Branch (1971-1972), and at the University of Zambia (1974-1978). He has also been involved in social work. After two years in the U. S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, Crews moved his family and business, Motive Press, from Waco, Texas, to Taos, New Mexico, where he began his writing and publishing career in earnest.

Judson Crews was a prominent figure in the Southwest poetry scene as a poet, editor, and publisher of contemporary poetry and art magazines. Crews is known as an original and innovative poet applying the 20th-century poetic techniques of poets like Pound, Williams, and Wallace Stevens in an idiosyncratic way. Since 1935 he has contributed to a large number of little magazines, journals, and anthologies. These include Beloit Poetry Journal, Evergreen Review, Poetry Now, Wormwood Review, City Lights Anthology (1974), Poems Southwest (1968), and An Uninhibited Treasury of Erotic Poetry (1963). His published chapbooks include A Poet's Breath (1950), Come Curse the Moon (1952), The Wrath Wrenched Splendor of Love (1956), The Ogres Who Were His Henchmen (1958), and The Stones of Konarak (1966). Crews' more recent works include the chapbook, Nolo Contendere (1966), edited by Joanie Whitebird and a 1982 collection of poems, The Clock of Moss, edited by Carol Bergé.
Crews admittedly wrote under numerous pseudonyms. Of these pseudonyms, Willard Emory Betis, Trumbull Drachler, Cerise Farallon (Mrs. Trumbull Drachler, maiden name Lena Johnston), and Tobi Macadams have been clearly identified. In the instance of these, and possibly many other pseudonymous names, Crews created a fantasy world of writers to encompass, perhaps, the breadth of his literary ambitions.

Crews' fiction and non-fiction writing includes two unpublished novels and numerous essays. Crews was a crusader in various causes related to his writing and publishing activities. These causes include such topics as obscenity and censorship, freedom of sexual expression, and women's reproductive issues including abortion, contraception, and forced sterilization. Other essays include literary criticism, such as book reviews, as well as regional topics as found in The Southern Temper (1946), and Patocinio Barela: Taos Wood Carver (1955). In 1976 Crews began an extensive memoir which remains unpublished.
Crews' publishing activities began in earnest after his move from Texas to the Taos area. He started the Este Es Press in 1946, which remained in operation until 1966. The little magazines with which he was involved from 1940 to 1966 include The Deer and Dachshund, The Flying Fish, Motive, The Naked Ear, Poetry Taos, Suck-Egg Mule: A Recalcitrant Beast, Taos: A Deluxe Magazine of the Arts, and Vers Libre. Together with Scott Greer, he was co-editor of Crescendo: A Laboratory for Young America, and worked with Jay Waite on Gale. Crews published not only his own chapbooks and magazines but also those of his friends and colleagues, including the Zambian poet Mason Jordan Mason, among others. In conjunction with this printing activity, Crews operated the Motive Book Shop which became a focal point for the dissemination and advocacy of avant-garde poetry, important little magazines and literary reviews, as well as so-called pornographic materials. The material that Crews sold ranged from literary classics such as the works of D. H. Lawrence and Henry Miller, to hard-to-obtain domestic and foreign avant-garde journals, and nudist magazines. Crews was also a friend as well as an advocate of Henry Miller and continued to sell Miller's works after they were banned in the United States.

The text below is from an interview was first published in Mesechabe: The Journal of Surregionalism. In the words of Robert Cass: "Judson Crews was one of the first people to write to me. There was a black poet over there, that had a couple of poems in here, that wrote crazy, really good stuff. Mason Jordan Mason. You ever heard of him? He was living in Taos at that time, I don't know where he is now. He was black. And there was in that one yellow issue of Neurotica, they've got two little ones in there of his: Redbone Legends.I wish I'd a had some of those. I printed whatever Judson sent me. And I literally just got stuff from people I knew."

Judson Crews (born 1917) is an American poet, bookseller and small press publisher.
Crews was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where he first opened his Motive Bookshop and issued his first Motive Press publications. In 1947 he moved both concerns to Taos, New Mexico. In addition to writing poetry, Crews' activity in Taos over the next three decades included editing the poetry magazines Suck-egg Mule, The Deer and Dachshund and The Naked Ear (which published poetry by Robert Creeley, Stuart Z. Perkoff, Vincent Ferrini, Larry Eigner, LeRoi Jones, Jack Anderson and Diane Di Prima, among others); and issuing his own work and work by his friend Carol Bergé, among others, through his Motive Press and Este Es Press. He has been a frequent contributor to Poetry Magazine, and has had work published in many other literary journals. Besides operating his bookshop and press, he worked in newspaper production, as a teacher (including as a lecturer at the University of Zambia, 1974-1978), and as a social worker and counselor, until his retirement.
Crews has written and published under a number of pseudonyms, including Cerise Farallon and Charley John Greasybear. It has been speculated that work published under the name Mason Jordan Mason is also Crews's, but he has never acknowledged this.

A long-time proponent of the work of his friend Henry Miller (a reprint of Miller's Maurizius Forever was one of Motive Press's earliest publications), Crews has been a lifelong activist against censorship in publishing. Much of his own output as an independent, small press publisher has been short-run, inexpensively produced literary chapbooks and magazines, making him a notable figure in the 1960s-70s movement known as the Mimeo Revolution.Select Bibliography
The Southern Temper (Waco, TX, 1946)
No is the Night (Taos, NM, 1949)
Patrocinio Barela, Taos Wood Carver (with Wendell B. Anderson and Mildred Crews, Taos, NM, 1955)
Inwade to Briney Garth (Taos, NM, 1960)
A Unicorn When Needs Be (Taos, NM, 1963)
Selected Poems (Cleveland, OH, 1964)
Three on a Match (with Wendell B. Anderson and "Cerise Farallon," Taos, NM, 1966)
Nolo Contendere (Houston, TX, 1978)
Songs (as "Charley John Greasybear," Boise, ID, 1979)
The Clock of Moss (Boise, ID, 1983)
Against All Wounds (Parkdale, OR, 1987)
Dolores Herrera/Nations and Peoples (Las Cruces, NM, 1991)
The Brave Wild Coast: A Year with Henry Miller (Los Angeles, 1997)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

chapbooks 40

kayak 55
George Hitchcock, editor
Santa Cruz, CA

Lucky to have found and been able to (gingerly) hold this fantastic journal. I have run across the name George Hitchcock before but didn’t connect him to kayak.

[the gingerly stuff has to do with the dangerous staples jetting up from the spine, intentionally lethal? ]

kayak 55 has work by Sharon Olds, Robert Bly, Ursula Hegi, Wislawa Szemborska, and others with incidental illustrations by Thomas Wiloch. This is a great find, if one can locate any copies of kayak – do so! They are wonderful (just watch the spines for staple/spears)

Between Two Rivers:
Ten North Jersey Poets
Higginson & Harter, editors
From Here Press
Fanwood, NJ

48 page chapbook (with spine but… it’s only 48 pages). Drawing of water tower on front cover. Contains poems by ten North Jersey poets who I have never heard of. The work isn’t memorable. If one is interested in the Press itself, you might wish to venture to http://fhp.2hweb.net/contents.html

The Prose Poem: an anthology
Miner & Goossens, editors
Sacramento, CA

Interesting 40 page issue dealing with prose poetry with letters from contributing poets along with a piece of prose poetry, and illustrations throughout. Featuring the work (and letters from) Shelia Murphy, Gerald Locklin, Kirby Olson, Greg Geleta, Thomas Wiloch and others. Very cool collection!

Democracy and Other Problems
David M. Harris
SRM Publisher LTD
Unity, Maine

SRM is known for their series of fantasy/sci fi books so this chapbook is a bit of a curveball. There is no mention of this book on their website. It must have been a “one-timer”. 43 pages. Generic cream cover. SAVE A TREE!!!!!!

Expulsion of the Acadians
George Frederick Clarke
Brunswick Press
New Brunswick, Canada

A handsome, well made chapbook published to commemorate the 200th anniversary of this particularly sad piece of Canadian history : the forced removal of French-Canadian population from the Acadian village of Grand Pre in Nova Scotia.

31 pages, chapbook like new. Great find

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chapbooks 39

Love Is No Stone on the moon
Lawrence Ferhlinghetti
ARIF Press
Berkeley, CA

This tiny chapbook by Lawrence Ferlinghetti is extremely rare and incredibly interesting or a complete joke, depending on one’s take on spontaneous creation and extreme use of marginalia. Unnumbered pages. Original text from unknown source, Ferlinghetti scrawls in magic marker his “poem” across the width of the pages. As though anarchist, as though felon. As though mischievous child with a new destructive toy. The original text simply paper for his creation. As stated on the first page of chapbook, this is an automatic poem. It was written in June 1971.

I see this as a fantastic experiment, the sort of thing he might have done while at Sorbonne. It’s incredibly interesting. While it is unclear if the text was offered to him for manipulation or he arrived at this text and creation on his own is not answered by the author nor the publisher. There are a grand total of 8 pages of Ferlinghetti prose/poetry in the chapbook. The back of each page is blank.

The chapbook merely is, it exists. It is part of some of Ferlinghetti’s bibliographies and is omitted by others. The final passage, part VIII, is most telling : “Be like a white bird/in the snow”. Absolutely!

Apocalypse Rose
Charles Plymell
Dave Haselwood
San Francisco, CA

Introduction by Allen Ginsberg. Unnumbered pages. Cover design uncredited. First collection by author. Plymell came from Witchita, Kansas – part of the Witchita Vortex as Gingberg described it.
The work feels very “surface” to me and a bit dated. At the same time, it’s his first collection and that is extremely notable which is why I did it twice.

Two Torch Singers
Gerald Locklin
Kamini Press
Stockholm, Sweden

love these little books from Sweden, signed. Watercolor covers. Handsome little books. This one is a New Year’s Greeting from the press. Nice touch.

Sketch Book
Tom Kryss
Kamini Press
Stockholm, Sweden

Number 5 in the poetry series by Kamini Press. Unnumbered pages. Watercolor cover by Henry Denander. Kryss, also known as T L Kryss was a comrade of d a levy in Cleveland, Ohio. This small chapbook came with a hand tinted signed print (of a rabbit) by the author.

Poet, artist and rabbit master T.L. Kryss is the publisher of the poetry series Black Rabbit Press. He published, with rjs, the groundbreaking anthology of d.a.levy's work, ukanhavyrfuckinciti bak (1967). His poems have recently appeared in Abraxas, Death Row, Measured Steps, The Outsider, Unarmed Poetry Journal, et al. Books and broadsides include Current Outsider (Vagabond Home Page), Downwind from the Fires of Nothingness and Spring into Winter (Kirpan Press), Sunflower Wars (Bottle of Smoke Press), Just Blue Skies: Poems for & after d.a.levy (an electronic chapbook appearing on the d.a.levy homepage, Light & Dust Anthology of Poetry) and The Search for the Reason Why (Bottom Dog Press)