Thursday, June 27, 2013

Brief Weather & I Guess a Sort of Vision by Anthony Robinson (2006)

Brief Weather & I Guess a Sort of Vision
Anthony Robinson
Pilot Books
Lewisburg, PA & Portland, OR

Pilot Books came and went. It's gone now. It started in Lewisburg, PA at the college there; Bucknell. This book was among the first things they created. It's akin to a flip book. It was designed by August Herling. Unpaginated. Staple and tape bound. All the pieces were created in 2006. #36 of 200 printed. I like the concept, and wish they had managed to survive. However, they have gone puff. Look for the poet elsewhere, he's out there and worth finding. In 2006 he was an editor at The Northwest Review and lived in western Oregon.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Death Angels by Alan Catlin (2004)

Death Angels
Alan Catlin
Four-sep Publications
Friendship, Indiana

43 page staple-bound chapbook. This publishing firm has brought out at least 4 collections by Alan Catlin, a bartender/writer. Fairly standard in design. Uncertain what to call the text; Prose with poems? Poems ladened with prose? I didn't connect with it. Sorry to say.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

5 part investigation (Cape Cod) V

Finding Her Voice.....
Jadene Felina Stevens
Salt Winds Press
East Harwich, MA

The fifth series of clues are found in the last of the chapbooks from this lot. I found Jadene Stevens to be an alum of Cape Cod Community College. There is a listing of 6 collections of poetry, several from Salt Winds Press. East Harwich is on the Cape. Most importantly, the inscription to "Mark" mentions the Community College. So, "Mark" was at the Community College, as a teacher.

At this point I do some serious Googling and find the Mark in question. Mark Doty.

This chapbook is a study in Lavender and Pink. I had not seen a chapbook so PINK before. The author admits in her inscription that some of the poems were "far from finished" (so, why include unfinished poems?) Perhaps Ms. Stevens was directly involved in the operation of Salt Winds, that's a different puzzle.

I understand the need to purge, even gifted items, as a person needs to get to moving weight somehow. It's unfortunate that anything had to be jettisoned, but I know that feeling. Not everything can be saved. No one has THAT much room in their house (lives).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

5 part investigation (Cape Cod) IV

Little Ideas About Roads
Jonathan Wilks
Stop Light Press
Bronxville, NY

This is the fourth part of my little chapbook lot investigation, this one a chapbook by Jonathan Wilks who doesn't seem to have a presence online, nor does "Stop Light Press". Unpaginated. Cover image that doesn't relate to the title, or the work. Chapbook is dedicated to a Mike Heller. Inscription is the key again; inscribed to Mark alone. Not much else here. The work is thin.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

5 part investigation (Cape Cod) III

Sarah Randolph
Cosmos Press
Provincetown, MA

Small (5 1/2" X 4 1/4") hand-sewn booklet, very nice indeed. 8 haiku. Single sided. Not much in the way of history about the Press or the author. The inscription is to "Mark & Wally". Mark & Wally again. Provincetown, Cape Cod. Also in the inscription, "from the poetry table" - hmm, a book fair? Unknown. I do know what a gamelan is: "an Indonesian orchestra of gongs and chimes: its insistent, reverberating music". Learn something new every day, right?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

5 part investigation (Cape Cod) II

a Cardboard Suitcase Full of Ghosts
:the bad city & suicide poems
joshua m. wilson
jumping bad press
Seattle, Washington

Presentation-wise, this chapbook is every bit the wreck that the first one was. The clip art of an Ark filled with animals relates to the title of book NOT AT ALL. Here is what happens when the technology for anyone who can make a book does so - there were no brakes or editorial control exhibited anywhere in the 49 pages of self-indulgence. There is an introduction by J. Wesley Fullerton who has been published since 2000 but the author seems to have "misappeared" into the fog of time.

The clues again are in the inscription, this time to Mark alone. The author was a student of Mark's in Prague. Okay, so now we are getting somewhere. Prague. Mark taught a class in Prague. Earlier than 2000. Also, jumping bad press was in Seattle and Fullerton lives in Washington State. So there are a couple of clues. Fullerton and someone named Mark.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

5 part investigation (Cape Cod)

A Slim Volume of Banal Carnalites
Jon O. Smith
self published

I open my 5 part investigation into a 5 chapbook lot that I got from someone on ebay with all items having a connection (or several) to one another. This particular dud should never have been printed. It's horrid. A waste of the life of a tree. Ugh!

Yet there are clues here, none about the author nor the details of the production of this piece of crap but it introduces us to "Mark and Wally" who the book is inscribed to, and there is a copyright mark of 1991. So, there's a year and two names. Apparently the author knew the gents he adds a note to. The person I got them from was located in Massachusetts, this person confirmed that the 5 chapbooks came from a bookstore on Cape Cod that had closed a few years earlier. So, there's a Cape Cod connection.

One can easily see that this item was self published: a line of poetry was hand written on the last page of the book (apparently forgotten)Ooops. Yeah, that's how I feel about the chapbook itself - SAVE A TREE !

Sunday, June 02, 2013

back stories

Every chapbook has one - or many. Every author has one, every publisher has another. Every artist whose image or work adorns a chapbook cover has a different one. Books are often dedicated to someone, they each has one as well. Many people list the places where individual poems have previously appears, be it journal or magazine. Guess what? Each of those publications have their own back stories to tell. Publications as run and edited by people with different lives than the poet. Ripples across a still pond. And then you, the reader, pick up a chapbook and flip through it or study the cover or see if it's signed or written in at all. Layers of complexity, endless things to note or think about, or research.

That's where I end up going : into the rabbit's hole. Peeling onion skin layers down to the nub of nothingness. To this thin slice of nothingness that chapbooks are anyway. This is my endeavor which I have opened up for others to observe, witness, and possibly connect with. I am surprised by what is responded to, and what isn't. I guess most publishers feel the same way; it's a crapshoot. One really doesn't know what is going to "sell" or be written about, or connect with people.

This is especially true of the small presses that specialize in chapbooks and the poets who work best in that form. Allan Kornblum was great at it when he started Toothpaste Press. He ran that pony as far as it would go and then re-imaged the Press right into Coffee House Press. There are so many others. The guys behind Mimeo Mimeo do an incredible service in helping to name names and list small presses. Still....I wonder when the actual "revolution" began - which is the first press or operation to use the mimeograph for poetry? How did that all start?

We are the children of those first innovators. Those of us who collect, read, publish chapbooks. We walk a path that they blazed.