Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cadastral Map by Jill Magi (2005)

Cadastral Map
Jill Magi
The Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs
Brooklyn, NY

When a shorter work, say this one, evolves into a larger one, like the 2011 full sized book by the same title published in Great Britain by Shearsman Books, something in the immediacy of the chapbook form is lost. But the quality of the work certainly remains.

What attracted me to this piece was the language and the space between. And the explanation. I liked the explanation in the chapbook. The explanation has e-or-devolved into an essay at the end of the full book. The text was part of a larger manuscript that had a different working title back in 2004-2005 but with the publication of the chapbook and the response to that chapbook, the title slid into line with this chapbook. It's a great piece, it's a beautiful chapbook.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Second Story of Your Body by Angela Hume (2011)

Second Story of Your Body
Angela Hume
The Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs
Brooklyn, NY

This is yet another of the handsome chapbooks published by Yo-Yo Labs under the direction of Brenda Iljima. Angela Hume is the author of 2 books of poetry, this being the first. It was well received upon its publication.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Strap/Halo by Jamie Townsend (2011)

Jamie Townsend
The Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs
Brooklyn, NY

Unpaginated staple-bound chapbook beautifully put together by Brenda Iljima. Challenging poetry worth the find.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Heroes and Monsters by Kate Schapira (2009)

Heroes and Monsters
Kate Schapira
The Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs
Brooklyn, NY

Unlike most entries in this blog about chapbooks, this one comes with a backstory. In 2010 AWP met in Washington, D.C. which is my town these days. I attended as Plan B Press and sat in the huge rooms with publishers, poets, organizations and writing programs from across the country. At one table sat one woman with a few "tiny-tinies". I was intrigued by the smallness of the chapbooks and their production. Only later did I read through it, a tiny Kate Schapira chap called Magpie's Box If it could even properly be called a chap. It was definitely tiny though. And I had become a fan!

Kate Schapira is a lecturer at Brown and the author of three collections of poetry as well as a number of chapbooks. Her name is so familiar now that when I see it, even in a photograph of an ebay book lot being offered from someone in Georgia, it's enough to make me close the deal. I got 10 chapbooks from The Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs and am taking the other 9 chapbooks as a learning curve.

This is a prose poetry collection with cover art by Brenda Iljima. 32 pages. The work is very good. It's a beautiful chapbook. It's a pleasure to read.

Brenda Iljima and the Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs

Brenda Iljima and Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs will be the subject of the next handful of entries. A bit of a tease here though - back in 2011, in December 2011, I got a lot of material from someone via ebay. I admit I scored big, it was a big lot of things including 4 chapbooks by someone named Brenda Iljima.

I was intrigued. New person - new voice - four distinctively different chapbooks from 4 different presses. The seller was Boston-based so were most of the items that I received. So, Brenda had been in Boston for a period of time. Then she moved to Brooklyn where she runs Portable Press of Yo-Yo Labs. That's where the latest thread of this woven tale comes in. Earlier this year, a person in rural Georgia posted a number of small press items - including a lot of 10 chapbooks from Portable Press of Yo-Yo Labs. I recognized one of the names, Kate Schapira, so I bid and won the lot. Now I had tons more to write about! Have as well as had.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Time Out of Kilter by Jerry Selman (1978)

Time Out of Kilter
Jerry Selman
Self Published

54 page self-published chapbook. Not thrilled with the work. Some times because you can doesn't mean you should. SAVE A TREE!!!!