Monday, June 29, 2015

how dusk sweetens the meadows by Haniel Long (2013)

how dusk sweetens the meadows
Haniel Long
Rootdrinker Institute
Naples, NY

Such a tiny little chapbook provoking such a big ripple.

The ripple is not from the work itself. This unpaginated staple-bound collection is what it is: a decision by the publisher to bring this forward. Objectivity versus subjectivity. Did the publisher have a personal relationship with the author? Rootdrinker and Benevolent Bird Press are intertwined, and this is the grape of that binding.

What motivates a publisher? What criteria does one follow? This poet, Mr. Long, died in 1956. This tiny collection was published in 2013. Was it published because the work had to do with "place"? Which place then - he died in Sante Fe, New Mexico. The publisher is in upstate New York. Ah, there is a connection to place after all; Mr. Long wrote about the Finger Lakes. He came from the region. Some of his poetry sings of that earth - praises that land. The Finger Lakes. Okay, that makes sense.

That this tiny collection was published for a specific presentation also makes sense. Regional interest. One of their own. As such it is worth finding and reading. It is slight, though. Both is size and in scope. Tiny poems in a tiny book. All too easily overlooked.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hill Farm by Kathleen M. Tenpas (1985)

Hill Farm
Kathleen M. Tenpas
Arachne, Inc.
Jamestown, NY

I have to admit that I like this collection very much. The work is solid. I had to remind myself that a woman wrote these poems. Her work has a no-nonsense air to them that is appealing and none of the poems deal with "women's issues" directly.

Arachne Inc. is/was a not-for-profit quarterly published in Jamestown, NY. This is the first awareness I have had of the publication or of the poet. Glad to mention them both.

Friday, June 19, 2015

russian folk music song book (1947)

The Thrift Press
Ithaca, NY
(c) 1947

So, once upon a time there was a press in Ithaca, NY which specialized in not only regional but ethnic chapbooks as well. And not only that, but songbooks. This one has music notation and table of contents in Russian and English language lyrics at the end. 1947 staple-bound. The publisher probably didn't think of it as a "chapbook" but as a cheap, sturdy music book for their distinctive cliental.

No indication who transcript the Russian into English nor the name of the printer. But it's very interesting, and if you like Balalaika music, you probably need this book!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

road/house 7 (1979)

road/house #7
todd moore, editor
Belvidere, IL
(c) 1979

20 pages stapled journal. Irregularly published. 9 of these pages were dedicated to one poem, The Farmer's Manifesto by Tom Montag. Cover illustration of man next to a tracker, sort of visually sets the tone here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Found Gil Williams (in upstate NY)

A simultaneous thing happened when I took a chance and contacted the poet Steve Lewandowski: it opened up the entire upper half of New York State to me. I had not thought that there was much regional poetics happening outside of "the apple" and Buffalo, but further north toward the Lake and Canada were in fact many Presses and poets. As I have been learning.

I mentioned earlier that I had a chapbook from Bellevue Press by Al Glover entitled Paradise Valley. I hadn't thought to try and contact the publisher of that chapbook until my interest in Upstate New York was piqued. I also mentioned that I had bought some photo postcards from a seller on ABE who turned out to be the Williams'. Deborah and Gil. They have since responded. Not surprisingly, the Press did not make them any money. Chapbook/small presses are supposed to make money? No, I didn't think so.

There is now something called Bellevue Literary Press which has nothing to do with the Williams' operation. I have yet to ask for the history of the Press so I don't know their start and stop dates. I am interested in what they might have left from their inventory. I am, after all, a collector as well as a publisher on hiatus.

If you are interested in learning more or seeing their books, you should contact them : Gil's Book Loft/PO Box 365/Binghamton, NY 13905-0365. Gil likes mail, you know, the kind with actual writing and stamps and that? Send him something. Oh, Bellevue Press did several series of poetry postcards - so send him a postcard!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Apple: An Anthology of Upstate New York Poets (1979)

Apple:An Anthology of Upstate New York Poets
Judith Kitchen,editor
State Street Press
Pittsford, NY

This is a very concise anthology of 22 poets in 26 pages ably (or perhaps, "appley") assembled by Judith Kitchen and published by State Street Press. Pittsford, NY is in the extreme northern section of NY close to Lake Ontario. There is a loose network of poets and other regional presses located up there. I came to know even this little bit from my on-going correspondence with poet Steve Lewandowski. Along with Lewandowski, this collection is graced with work by Joseph Bruchac, Carl Dennis, and Carol Frost (among others).

I notice that the printer of this collection was The Geryon Press in Tunnel, NY which printed a number of books of this region and that's really what this collection embodies; place. Also, apples. At least in this collection. Apples. Everywhere. No need for Johnny Appleseed, this book has a bushel full.