Monday, January 31, 2011

Only as a Body by Jennifer Young

Only as a Body
Jennifer Young
Bateau Press
Northampton, MA

I love Bateau Press. I love that they are ecologically friendly, that their books are made with soy ink and that their offices are powered by renewable energy. I love the look and feel of their books. What's not to like?

Well, content; there's that. The whole El Lissitzky thing, his quote about how a book has to have good content as well as good visual presence. Yeah, well..... Jennifer Young won the Bateau Press 2009-2010 BOOM chapbook contest for this collection. However, to me it's a glorified batch of journal entries. I am not impressed. I tried reading the pieces aloud: no, still journal entries!

I am certain that my view is a minority one, but it's mine and I will stick to it - this is a wasted opportunity from a otherwise outstanding small press. SAVE A TREE!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Later by Robert Creeley (1978)

Robert Creeley
The Toothpaste Press
West Branch, Iowa

Unpaginated. Beautifully made chapbook. Cover and title page drawings by Louis Picek. Hand-made paper. Hand-bound with string. This is clearly The Toothpaste Press at full stride as a maker of unique chapbooks. Later in this form was the first printing of the single poem by this title. It was published as a full book by W.W. Norton in 1979 and by Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (UK) in 1980. It was the first of two collaborations between Creeley and The Toothpaste Press; the second being Echoes in 1982.

rare - worthwhile - collectible.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

a god-awful waste of paper

St. Elmo's Coffee Pub Anthology 2000
Jeanne Butler & Jean Leyman, editors
self published
Alexandria, VA
(c) 1999

This is a chapbook anthology of persons who had read at the St. Elmo's Coffee Pub from 1997-1999. The work is not in any way exceptional. Live trees were felled to make this self-indulgent bit of crap. It would be of interest to cultural archivists in the Alexandria, VA community but I doubt anyone else, other than friends and family, would be the least bit interested in this rubbish. SAVE A TREE!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Heartbreak Hotel by Tom Clark

Heartbreak Hotel
Tom Clark
Toothpaste Press
West Branch, Iowa

Unpaginated. 5” X 5” , handmade paper. Hand sown binding. #294 of 500 signed copies. Very handsomely made chapbook, which was the trademark of Toothpaste Press. 5 very short stories with illustrations. Wonderful little book. By collection Toothpaste Press books, one can observe the variation of styles and appearance as publisher Allan Kornblum tinkers with the form of the books he is producing. It is no wonder that he reached a decision within 5 years of this chapbook to recreate his press as Coffeehouse Press and to produce full collections. There are physical restrictions to the chapbook form, not to mention financial considerations, that lead a publisher to change course. STILL, this is a beautiful chapbook. A real find.