Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy (1993)

Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy
Thomas Lux
Ampersand Press
Creative Writing Program
Roger Williams University
Bristol, RI

Originally published in 1983, this copy was published ten years later. It is a 6th printing. For any chapbook to be printed that often is remarkable. 23 pages. Staple-bound chapbook. Cover is grey. Nothing but text on front. A fairly boring cover, I have to say. The poems are good. Redeeming quality for certain. I do find it curious that these poems held together in chapbook form for a dozen years and 6 printings. I might have thought they would have been sucked up into a bigger work.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Man Joanne Kyger / Women Michael Rothenberg (1987)

Man by Joanne Kyger
Women by Michael Rothenberg
Twowindows Press
Berkeley, CA
Second Printing
Illustrated by Nancy Davis

2 years before Davis and Rothenberg started Big Bridge Press, this tiny chapbook appeared. Twowindows Press may have been a forerunner to Big Bridge. This handsome chap is extremely rare.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Prognosis by Ellen Aronofsky Cole (2011)

Ellen Arnonsky Cole
Finishing Line Press
Georgetown, KY
(c) 2011

If ever a book deserved a different publisher! There is much discussion these days about Finishing Line, much of it having to do with its status as a Vanity Press (which it seems to be) and the recent death of its Publisher.

I have long wondered about the business operation of a Press that had a cookie-cutter approach to the DOZENS upon DOZENS of chapbooks that it publishes each season (or is it month?)

The tell-tale bit of ribbon in each book was enough to make me cringe. That said, the work in this chapbook should be read. It's strong, poignant, and heart-felt. The "prognosis" here is Cancer and the way the author deals with the entire process is remarkable. At the same time, I don't know that the cover image has anything to do with the contents.

It's a good read of well crafted poems, I just wish someone else had published it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

A Child's Christmas in Wales
Dylan Thomas
New Directions
first printing - 1954. This is the 12th printing

As often happens when I volunteer at the library, I find interesting items at the bottom of the donation bins; like this book! Designed like a kids book but far too nice, this handsome book with woodcuts by Ellen Raskin is stunning. A joy to hold and read. Mind-boggling to think that New Directions could, when it felt like it, make beautiful near-letter press quality books. This is an example of it. I could hardly believe it, yet there it was.

Unpaginated. 5 1/2" X 5 3/4". Designed and illustrated by Ms. Raskin. A great and rare find.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Elyria:Point A in Ohio Triangle by Alex Gildzen (2009)

Elyria: Point A in Ohio Triangle
Alex Gildzen
Crisis Chronicle Press
Elyria, OH

I first learned of Alex Gildzen in 2008 when a poet/friend of mine sent me a copy of one of his earlier chapbooks. I was somewhat surprised to see this particular chapbook listed on Paperback Book Swap website since I don't think of chapbooks are items one can swap from there. I was not familiar with the Press but they seem to be pretty active in the North Central part of the state.

Staple-bound, unpaginated on copy paper (bleed-through) with a drawing by author (at age 6) on front.