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!)