Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cocoon by Lindley Bhanji (1988)

Lindley Bhanji
Platonium Press
Seattle, WA
(c) 1988

Those of you who have read these many entries about chapbooks know that when I don't believe a book should have been printed, I say "SAVE A TREE". I am saying this as way of introduction to Lindley Bhanji's chapbook, COCOON. The first piece, tree's epitaph presents it all quite well:

please spend five minutes mourning
at this page, for the tree which
was killed to make the paper from
which you are reading this epitaph,
and from which you will read
the following pages.

The book contains poems and graphics by Lindley Bhanji and was designed by Chris Winkler. Unpaginated. Staple-bound. Interesting blending of image with text. I haven't found out very much about the Press or the artist. It's a well done chapbook.

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Hampshire in the American Revolution (2010)

New Hampshire in the American Revolution
An Exhibition by the Society of the Cincinnati
Anderson House
Washington, D.C.
Nov. 13, 2010-May 7, 2011

Every once in awhile I find a chapbook that begs to be taken seriously. For it's factual content. This is one of those chapbooks. It's the most recent booklet in a series pertaining to the histories of each state that formed the original colonies at the time of the Revolutionary War and how citizens of each state made a significant contribution to the War effort, where important battles might have taken place, etc.

If you are a history buff, this is the perfect find. Complete with maps and other objects from the Exhibition.

Monday, November 26, 2012

House by the Sea by Penny Bihler (1975)

House by the Sea
Penny Bihler
From Here Press
Paterson, NJ

35 pages staple-bound chapbook. Penny Bihler was the romantic interest of William J. Higginson. Together they were intimately involved with the operation of From Here Press and Old Plate Press in the Paterson, NJ area from the mid-1970s till as recently as 2007. The cover stock and font are quite recognizable. Penny Bihler also was published as Penny Harter. A unique slice of New Jersey poetics.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Open-Book: an Illustrated Essay by M. Kasper (2010)

Open-Book: an Illustrated Essay
M. Kasper
Ugly Duckling Presse
Brooklyn, NY

Straight from the website of Ugly Duckling Presse, "Open-Book, An Illustrated Essay, is an accordion-fold book of eleven five-line observations on an ancient form of interior d├ęcor, a sublime aspect of authority, known as marble revetment. The texts in Open-Book float on marble simulations made using the drawing and filtering functions of photo-manipulation software."

I would add that it has a generic cardboard cover with a special black paper wrap to hold it in place. Not everything that UDP does is a hit.

The Calvert Mansion Riverdale (1958)

The Calvert Mansion Riverdale
The Maryland National Capital
Park and Planning Commission
Prince George's County Regional Office
1958 - 3rd printing

Beautifully made historical chapbook. Images of the founding families and of the mansion of itself. 40 pages. Staple-bound. Image of mansion on front and back covers. Great supplemental resource material. Anyone with an interest in Maryland history should have this item!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

my arcane interests

Perhaps everyone has a special interest or hobby that consumes them but at the same time, they keep to themselves. I have two such interests, one I have been writing about for years now and one I had not thought about in a number of years until quite recently.

For well over a decade I have been getting and collecting chapbooks, mostly of poetry but also other oddities as they present themselves. Primarily because I am a published of chapbooks. Plan B Press primarily publishes chapbooks. We have since 1999. I have been aware that the history of chapbooks is much older than that but that's when I started.

Prior to that, from the time that cassette decks and tapes came into vogue, I was making my own mixtapes. Before High Fidelity, before Hip Hop. I haven't really thought about the "when" of it as it pertains to my involvement in the form, but it would have had to be the late 1970s (after I decided that the failed 8-track format as a dud) Because I had been a DJ on college radio and knew a bit about segues, I liked that a cassette allowed for that nearly perfect segues from song to song as one could in the booth with two turntables going.

Throughout the 1980s and well into the 1990s I made dozens upon dozens of tapes. From vinyl and from other cassettes. Mixology. Then, I moved and the machines didn't move with me. I moved light - kept the tapes but had no machinery to listen to them with. They sat in boxes for several moves. To Philadelphia, to Alexandria,VA and then to Fairfax,VA. Finally, when we moved back to Alexandria, my wife turned to me and said, "let's get a deck so we can listen to your tapes". She had made tapes too, her family made their living ON THE AIR as it were. However, I had tons more than she did so the primary focus was for me to listen to my tapes and perhaps purge the ones that were dups or didn't work anymore.

I did purge some - then about three weeks ago I was trolling the local Freecycle and saw that someone was offering a box of mixtapes. I pounced. I now have over a hundred (new to me) mixtapes. Some of the tapes I cringed at the sight of: Supertramp, Weather Report, Yellowkjackets. I will be moving them along. But some are very good. They play as though I had recorded them myself, but I hadn't. The handwriting is different. I am enjoying the experience and of course I am thinking about my own history mixing, the mixing that captured the moment of my life I was recording. All that. I feel a little like a voyeur listening to someone else's moments being captured. It's weird. The same can be said about chapbooks.

Not all, but some; the self-published ones in particular. They were being made as a mixtape on paper. They are theme-encapturing. They are about that moment, generally. Dealing with a death of a loved one. A spouse. They aren't really meant for general distribution. But they are made and occasionally one ends up in my collection.

Other chapbooks are not time sensitive but are "greatest hits" or the like. Some presses push the page count till they are all but books with spines, or a books with spines but are really cheating because the page count is slight.

I like the idea of a chapbook as a paper mixtape, I will be using that phrase in the future.

Monday, October 15, 2012

3 littles by red iron press

graphic material
red iron press
Toronto, Canada
October, 2004

I'm not at home
Mykel Board
red iron press
Toronto, Canada
Sept., 2004

by its shadow
Philomene Kocher
red iron press
Toronto, Canada

I got this "tinies" from someone who attended the Buffalo (NY) small press festival last year. I don't know much about the press or any of the writers. They are indeed very small in size and page-count.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Little Richard the Second by Gregg Biglieri (2011)

Little Richard the Second
Gregg Biglieri
Ugly Duckling Presse
Brooklyn, NY

Ugly Duckling Press is quite capable of making extremely handsome and desirable chapbooks. This one is no exception. Letter-pressed and hand sown stitchery. A single poem, a beautiful thing. For collectors, this is one to get!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Annson Kenney follow-up

received this from Peter Bushyeager, who co-founded Hot Water Review : "Annson and I went to Temple U. together. He was a year ahead of me. He majored in music and I majored in communications. We sang together in the Mens Glee Club (!!) and several years after school reconnected through the Philly poetry/art/music scene. I think he participated in one of the Poetry and Art Fairs that were done in the 70s at the now-defunct YMHA Poetry Center on Broad St. He was a funny, courtly, sometimes outrageous guy who was also cerebral and welcoming to other artists. He had a relationship with Maralyn Polak, the poet and Inquirer columnist.

HIs works in Hot Water are actually performance pieces and he performed some of them. He was involved with Relache, a new-music group that was active in Philly in the 70s and 80s (maybe still active, I don't know)"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just a Little Piece of Heartburn by Tom Cheshire

Just a Little Piece of Heartburn
Tom Cheshire
Safety Third Enterprises
no publication date

The nicest thing about this chapbook is the cover. The rest of the book, the "guts" if you will, is intentionally primitive and hand-written. No part of the guts were typed. It's a schtick. It's a waste of a tree. SAVE A TREE!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Faith of John Greenleaf Whittier (1957)

The Faith of John Greenleaf Whittier
An Essay by Rufus M Jones
A Tribute by Benjamin F Trueblood
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Nice supplemental booklet. 32 pages. A few B&W photos in book.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sea Birds by Linda Parker (1981)

Sea Birds
Linda Parker
Fathom Press

Published by Robie Liscomb's Fathom Press using Michael Tarachow's Pentagram Press's equipment - as stated in back of book. Liscomb and Tarachow were friends and worked together on a number of projects in the early 1980s. I have exchanged a few emails with Michael Tarachow and learned additional details of the history of Pentagram Press and the intersections between their Presses. It's a wonderful example of a coordinated effort.

Cover art by Thorpe Feidt. Unpaginated. One of 250 copies. Nice book. Well worth the search.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Acting Problems by Judith Berke (1993)

Acting Problems
Judith Berke
Silverfish Review Press
Eugene, Oregon

This is a 30 page chapbook masquerading as a book with a spine. Ah, it IS a book with a spine. No, it's a 30 page chapbook pretending. In the words of Holden Caulfield, it's a phony. Phony bologna. It's acting like something it isn't. The title is apt. It has an acting problem.

The poetry is okay. It rounds out a multidisciplinary career for Judith Berke. I was not moved nor impressed with the work. Sorry, SAVE A TREE!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Green Man in Suburbia by Marcia L. Hurlow (2008)

Green Man in Suburbia
Marcia L Hurlow
Backwards City Publications of Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina

Winner of the Backwards City Chapbook Prize in 2008. Staple-bound chapbook. Cover image by Jaimee Hills. 25 pages. A nice collection.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Poems of the Part and of the Whole Rashaan C. Linson (1993)

Poems of the Part and of the Whole
Rashaan Connell Linson
Namaste Press
Houston, TX

Hand-sewn chapbook. Unpaginated. One of 500 copies. Never heard of the author or of the Press. The Press no longer exists, but there is a 70-year old named Connell Linson who still lives in Houston. (the poet, perhaps?) According to the bio in back of book, Linson was the former director of the Sudan Arts Southwest and Houston's Black Arts Center. He is the author of two collections of poetry in addition to this chapbook.

The book cover and lay-out are fairly basic and generic. Anyone want to swap?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Annson Kenney: Writing, Luminous Tubing and Other Work (1983)

Annson Kenney: Writing, Luminous Tubing and Other Work
Compiled and Written by Arthur J. Sabatini
Exhibition Booklet
Moore College of Art
Philadelphia, PA

32 pages exhibition booklet filled with B&W photos of Kenney's neon light art and other physical art. Considering that Kenney's untimely death in 1981 ended a budding career, this book is perhaps the only one dedicated exclusively to Kenney and his work. Some of this poems were published in Hot Water Review. However, there has not been a book of his poetry that I am aware of. This might be all there is to encapsulate a career cut short far too early.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Cut Worm by Douglas Korb (2008)

The Cut Worm
Douglas Korb
Bright Hill Press
Treadwell, NY

While I admire what Bright Hill Press does, I feel it's cheating in a way to shrink the size of a book to justify making it a book with a spine.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Cheer-Up Book of Wounded Soldier by Evan Kennedy (2007)

The Cheer-Up Book of Wounded Soldiers
Evan Kennedy
Dirty Swan Projects

Much that can be said of this project is on the blog for Dirty Swan Projects. As conceptual art, it might work. My grandfather served in World War I so I came to this project with an open mind. However, the flags for all the voices is a bit confusing and the poetry is equally confusing. All this may well fit into the work that Dirty Swan does, and their heart might be in the right place (check out the blog for the book itself, all proceeds go to a school established in 1915 for WWI soldiers - The Cheer-Up blog) but I must admit I didn't get it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Roadside Vegetation Management by Harry Chandler (2000)

Roadside Vegetation Management Manual For Rural Road Crews
Harry Chandler
Vermont Woodlands Association
Colchester, VT

I found two copies of this little chapbook with the specific title and purpose. Staple-bound. 26 pages of detailed information on keeping rural roads clear for automotive transport. How do deal with downed trees, etc. I feel like I ought to learn to chew tobacco to fully appreciate this book.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Civilization Day by Erica Kaufman (2007)

Civilization Day
Erica Kaufman
Open 24 Hours
Bronx/Brooklyn, NY

The Open 24 Hours press have been published by the collective powerhouse of John Coletti and Greg Fuchs. It intentionally mimics or pays tribute to the mimeographic publications of the 2nd and 3rd generation NY School poetics. The name of the press came from a Buck Downs poem, taken first by the Baltimore-based poet Chris Toll, the first publisher of a press by this name. That was in the 1980s. The name was used by Downs for a small magazine he published.

This 8 X 11 homage to the traditions of those earlier period is a bit too clean and polished, the is single side printing throughout (to fluff up the work). Erica Kaufman's poetry is worth reading and this is a fine example of her range. Worth the hunt!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nips by John M Bennett (1980)

John M Bennett
Luna Bisonte Prods
Columbus, OH

Staple-bound chapbook. 39 pages. collage and visual poetry as well as "textual poetry". John M Bennett has been both an active participant in the Visual Poetry world and a cheerleader for that very world. His work appears in many places, in many forms; both in performance and on the page. Innovative.

This particular book follows the adventures of Nips and others. Found text, random images, twisted metaphors. Great collection!

Monday, July 02, 2012

A Slow Drink by Brian Morrisey (2004)

A Slow Drink
Brian Morrisey
Magenta Press
San Francisco, CA

Staple-bound chapbook. Wasn't struck by any of the poems in this collection, not thrilled by the presentation either. It's been quite a while since I said this, but SAVE A TREE!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

A Musics by Carrie Hunter (2010)

A Musics
Carrie Hunter
arrow as aarow press

Hand-sewn chapbook. #94/125. Unnumbered pages. The Press seems to have been very active in 2010 and then completely disappeared. Their website has nothing more recent than 2010. The blog for Carrie Hunter seems to have dried up in 2009. Possible deadends. My interest in this press comes from their publishing Michael Carr. I have a strange history with Mr. Carr (ebay posting)

This is a worthwhile read. Very collectible.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Autonomy 6 by Jerry Joker Inscoe (2006)

Autonomy 6
Jerry Joker Inscoe
cantab publishing

After visiting the website of this publishing group, I can appreciate what the goal of this particular chapbook is. Wedding, or perhaps, welding the work of human hands with the machinery of printing. Staple-bound booklet, it's a very thin "book", this effort feels like an art school project that someone made themselves and distributed around in a complete DIY fashion. And it is no knock on DIY either. But I digress.

It's a visual exercise.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Mad Shoemaker by John Batki (1973)

The Mad Shoemaker
John Batki
The Toothpaste Press
West Branch, Iowa

In the history of Toothpaste Press, this is one of the earlier mimeograph chapbooks that were made. 1973 was early, this is among the earliest chapbooks made by Toothpaste Press. Staple-bound which indicates the age of the book itself as they quickly went to hand-sewn books. It's size, 8" X 10", is another indication. The cover image came from a linoleum block by Dave Morice who went on to create Poetry Comics and co-found the Actualist Poetry Movement.

Unpaginated pages, mimeographed. This book was John Batki's first book. 300 copies were printed.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Knee Deep in the Atlantic (1981)

Knee Deep in the Atlantic
Pentagram Press
Markesan, WI

The beautifully made chapbook was a promotional item for Pentagram Press, featuring 4 poets who were part of "the extended Pentagram Press family"; Linda Parker, Michael Tarachow, Robie Liscomb, and Theodore Enslin. The book contained small colorful images by Bonnie Stillman. Hand sewn. Just an exquisite item. Extremely collectible and rare (only 164 copies printed) in 1981.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

poems of Mallarme by Brian Coffey (1990)

Poems of Mallarme
Brian Coffey
New Writers Press
Dublin, Ireland
The Menard Press
London, England

Oversized staple-bound chapbook. 34 pages. Bilingual Edition. Mallarme was a visionary poet who anticipated several 20th century movements (Dadaism, Surrealism, Futurism) as well as through use of typography laid the foundation for Concrete Poetry roughly 50 years after he began his own experimentations. In that sense, this book is a sampling - a tease of the range and scope of Mallarme. A first bite from the fruit. An introduction to his work.

It succeeds in that, but does not include any of his typographic works. His breath-taking and breakthrough piece, A Throw of the Dice, itself could be this book. Laid out in a manner not seen since it's original French appearance, perhaps. This collection is worthwhile but not stunning. A viewing of Mallarme's work should attempt to be stunning. Nonetheless worthwhile.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Pilgrim Story by William Franklin Atwood (1958)

The Pilgrim Story
William Franklin Atwood
The Memorial Press
Plymouth, MA

Originally published in 1940, this oft-reprinted staple-bound book was illustrated by Leo Schreiber. The lengthy sub-title of this books is "Being Largely a Compilation From the Documents of Governor Bradford and Governor Winslow, Severally and in Collaboration; Together With a List of Mayflower Passengers." 76 pages. Has two pages of period ads in back of book.They are priceless in themselves.

A very good history of the time of the landing in Plymouth of the original Puritans. For those interested in this history, this is a fine document.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

journals by Jeff Nuttall (1968)

Journals Jeff Nuttall Unicorn Bookshop Brighton, England (c)1968 Unpaginated, staple-bound, oversized chapbook from early in the career of this multifaceted artist. Jeff Nuttall was every bit a renaissance man and this unique chapbook attests to. The drawings are incredible. His body of work was overwhelming. Most of these entries were written in 1967. Rare in itself. Worth the search, a treasure to behold.

Monday, May 28, 2012

second avenue by Frank O'Hara(1960)

Second Avenue
Frank O'Hara
New York, New York

Unpaginated staple-bound chapbook with cover art by Larry Rivers. A must for collectors of O'Hara. The interesting thing about this particular copy is that the gutter of the book is so centered that someone missed that the text on the last page of text has been cut off (the text went beyond the page!) A printer's error. It's the little things that make the biggest difference, all the same.

Consists of a single poem, In Memory of Vladimir Mayakovsky.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Blennerhassett Island and the Burr Conspiracy by Norris Schneider (1966)

Blennerhassett Island and the Burr Conspiracy
Norris F. Schneider
The Ohio Historical Society
Columbus, Ohio
(c)1966 - 4th edition, 2nd printing.

36 page staple-bound chapbook of well researched episode of US history dealing with the attempted political coup led by Aaron Burr. Fascinating reading. Well worth the find.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dendrochronology by Greta Goetz (2009)

Dendrochonology Greta Goetz Ugly Duckling Presse Brooklyn, NY (c)2009 Oversized chapbook. 30 pages. Hand-sewn. The text is underwhelmed by the cover. The text should complain to management. It's a better book than was presented. Disappointed.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The involuntary Whispering of a Shuffling Box by Tom Katisimpalis (2000)

The Involuntary Whispering of a Shuffling Box
Tom Katsimpalis
Vanish Press
Fort Collins, CO

This is an interesting and complex chapbook, a wedding of text with image. The exact type of chapbook that I look for. Designed by Becky Hawley Design, this book is a beautiful example of what can happen when a poet has a visual element and when a visual artist has a text to work with. This is an artist book with text. Vellum flyleaf. Wood cuts or ink drawings on every page. Different fonts for every poem. This is an amazing and unexpected find.

I have never heard of Mr. Katsimpalis before and Vanish Press seems to have vanished as well but Katsimpalis now runs a company called Muse Consulting out of the same address listed in the book, so the active mind behind this book is still alive and creating in Fort Collins. It's a very complete chapbook and worth the look (there were 500 copies of this chapbook made, I have copy #60)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Sonnets by Elizabeth Marie Young (2008)

Elizabeth Marie Young

Handsomely made, hand-sewn chapbook. Unpaginated. Letter-pressed cover. Small collection of sonnets. Worth the find, and the read

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dear Failures by Trey Sager (2011)

Dear Failures
Trey Sager
Ugly Duckling Presse
Brooklyn, NY

This is yet another finely produced chapbook by Ugly Duckling Press. Letter-pressed and hand-sewn. Quite lovely indeed. Each poem begins "Dear...." as though addressing some person or prototype. In addition to being weary of the "first person singular" in each poem, I see here an example of 2nd or 3rd generation New York School poetics (the mangled ghost of Frank O'Hara whisks by). "I did this and I did that" poetry. Referential and self-referential. Boring and supremely boring. Besides some interesting phrases throughout, the poems are empty sieves.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sky Scrapers by Geraldine Monk (2010)

Sky Scrapers
Geraldine Monk
fewer & further press
Wendell, Mass

What is it about some micro-to-small presses that leads them to republish works 20 years older still and originally printed in, say, England? Geraldine Monk is a much published British poet whose work here is reprinted from her 1985 collection by the same title, published originally by Galloping Dog Press. This version is an oddly sized book resembling the dimensions of a sky scraper.

fewer & further press is/was a Boston-area based press which, according to their own blog, seems to have run out of steam in 2010 (there are no blog entries since March 24, 2010 - one can draw their own conclusions)

The work is thought provoking and good. The book is handsomely made. It's worth looking for. Of course, I would like to see the 1985 original for comparison sake, but..... that's me.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

two versions of the same book (Brandon Brown)

Wondrous Things I Have Seen
Brandon Brown
Big Game Books
Washington, D. C.

Wondrous Things I Have Seen
Brandon Brown
Mitzvah Chaps
Lawrence, KS

I have not seen this before : two small chapbooks for the same small collection of poems. From two different publishers, with two different covers. The Text in each book is differently presented. The Big Game tiny-chap is an accordion while the Mitzvah Chap is hand-sewn. Odd to have two of the same, or not-quite same, text make it into two different chapbooks. Something new to record.

I am familiar with the Big Game Book "operation" in Washington and am fortunate to have scored something published by them as it seems they have gone into permanent hiatus, while the Mitzvah Chap is new to me and will need further research. The author has gone on to greater success, ain't life grand?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Auspices by Cid Corman (1978)

Cid Corman
Pentagram Press
Milwaukee, WI

Hand-sewn chapbook. 15 pages. #187 of 210 copies made. Letter-pressed, handmade paper. Beautiful little chapbook.

I was read the biography posted on the Poetry Foundation website for Cid Corman and it talks about how "all of his books are slender ones". In this case, that is true enough. 15 poems long. Each page: a poem. I have mentioned Pentagram Press in the past, they were an exceptional little outfit. This is an exceptional little chapbook!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Your Own Ox-head Mask as Proof by George Kalamaras

Your Own Ox-head Mask as Proof
George Kalamaras
Ugly Ducking Presse
Brooklyn, NY

Unpaginated chapbook, slightly oversized. Hand-sewn. Interesting poetry from the ever interesting Ugly Duckling Presse. Find and read!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Among the Living by J. F. Connolly (2006)

Among the Living
J. F. Connolly
The Comstock Writers' Group
Syracuse, NY

Winner of the 2006 The Comstock Review Jessie Bryce Niles Award.

Staple-bound chapbook. This chapbook seems to validate two points that I often make about chapbooks. #1 - quotes by poets on the back of books does not guarantee success. Especially if the poets quoted are as regional as the poet in question. Get outside of that region and few people care. #2 - regional poetry often does not hold up outside of the region where the book/Press/poet is from.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Another Ordinary Day by Subhankar Das (2011)

Another Ordinary Day
Subhankar Das
Ten Pages Press

This thin chapbook was "published" as an e-book in 2011. I have no recollection how it landed in my stash. Considering the poet lives in Kolkata, India where he runs the Graffiti Kolkata bookstore, it isn't like he knocked on my door one day and hand-delivered it to me. Perhaps in my overactive dreamworld he did, but not in the waking hours.

12 pages, staple-bound. Cover drawing. The poetry is very nice and as I am writing this I am listening to a Ravi Shankar raga randomly selected for me by itunes. Very interesting indeed.

UPDATE: It was sent to me by a poet/friend of mine! Okay, that mystery is solved.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

84 Card Tricks by Hugh Morris

84 Card Tricks
Hugh Morris
D. Robbins & Co., INc.
New York, NY



Before poets embraced the chapbook form, hustlers and low-lifes and ne'erdowells were quite abundant in creating inexpensive booklets to promote, to educate, to inform, and to (sometimes) distract the reading public. Not being a card shark, I am more interested in this item as a FORM instead of delving into the merits of its worth. But the image is awesome and if I were interested in 84 card tricks, I would love to have this chapbook.

Monday, January 30, 2012

ground water by paul cultrera (1978)

ground water
Paul Cultrera
Fathom Press
Chicago, IL

There are a few small presses that interest me enough to collect and write about them often. One of those is the under-appreciated Fathom Press as run by Robie Liscomb. The work of Fathom is as good as any I have seen/held in my hands/put on my shelves. During an exchange with Robie I had last summer, he outlined in the broadest (vaguest) strokes a history of Fathom. He also was kind enough to entrust me with a wonderful packet of Fathom and related chapbooks from which I have been ever so slowly been drawing. ground water is the most recent nibble.

Coming in at the unusual dimensions of 10.5" X 6.75", this hand-sewn chapbook is a wonderful example of the work created by Robie Liscomb (with help by Paul Cultrera). Made during the Fall & Winter 1977-78 in Chicago, IL, this chapbook was printed on Rives papers. Fathom was linked to Pentagram Press, with Michael Tarachow and others. Their works appear on each other's imprint. More to come!

Friday, January 27, 2012

In you enjoy this blog, you might enjoy....

Mimeo Mimeo, the wonderful journal about the intersection of art books and the mimeograph revolution. Jed Birmingham and Kyle Schlesinger have done a marvelous job putting together the publication and the blog. It's a bit more academic than what I present, but it's in the same universe. Give it a whirl.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Place & Out by Michael Tarachow

In Place & Out
Michael Tarachow
Pentagram Press
Markesan, Wisconsin
(c) 1982

Full disclosure : I am also the head of Plan B Press.

The reason I bring that up is that one can tell a good deal about the journeys of a small press by what's listed on the title page. In our case, that would include addresses in Leola, PA, Philadelphia, and Alexandria, VA.

Pentagram Press moved more frequently than many a Press. This beautifully crafted, hand-sewn chapbook was produced in the small town of Markesan, Wisconsin in early spring 1982. The poet & published Robie Liscomb gave me a bit of a "virtual tour" of the Press when we corresponded last summer, but it's fair to say that they produced books in nearly every location where they settled for any length of time. There are graphics between each poem, and these were expertly done by Vickie Burton. The copy I possess is #106 of 123 made. Signed by both poet and illustrator.

This is a bloody gorgeous chapbook. Hand-made paper, attention to detail throughout. Just amazing. Printed by someone named Rich Hopkins (who lived in Markesan, perhaps?) at his Hill & Dale Typefoundry. Quite the collector's item.