Monday, December 11, 2017
A Tokyo Stroll
Sisphus Chapbook Series #5
Sometime before 2007 I had a postcard exchange that led to a packet of chapbooks arriving from NYC - based poet Steve Dalachinsky. One of the items he sent me was this tiny chapbook by Herschel Silverman. Part of the same series that produced his own chapbook which I mentioned back in 2007 (chapbook #16), the cover art was by Yuko Otomo. Since it was signed, I prompt put it in my collection without - unfortunately - another thought until today when I was reading the original article by John Clellon Holmes in which he first used the term "Beat Generation" and along the border on the first I saw this piece and said to myself "Hey, I know that name!" and then I went into my catacomb of chapbooks and found this gem.
As if often the case with talented but mostly forgotten individuals - once the spotlight has been turned off, so too does the attention. This chapbook consists of two poems: Lift Off #21: A Tokyo Stroll and Cittee Cittee Cittee #2 which first appeared in Talisman #13. The article by Levi Asher does him more justice than I could possibly and it is interesting to note that a book of his collected work does use the same title as this "little sliver of nothing". He is not forgotten.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
all small caps
This is a regional publication for the reading series that was located at the Deja Brew in Wendell, MA. These publications are very good to have since they give one a breath and depth to the poetry happening in areas outside of NY or SF (or wherever popular opinion would suggest that art happens). This particular volume is dedicated to a recently deceased poet named Doris Abramson. Some of her work appears in the anthology, along with poems by Heather Willey, Mark Hart, Janet MacFadyen, Bill O'Connell. Mathew Kane, Adam Golaski, Candace Curran, Howard Faerstein, Dina Stander, Andrew Hughes, Dustin Williamson, and bg Thurson. The only poet in this collection I heard of is the last poet in it. Brenda Iijima - Yo-Yo Labs. It's a worthwhile regional collection to have.
Monday, July 24, 2017
This is a booklet with a little (Philly) history to it. Augsburg Fortress is the merged Press that in 1967 was still an independent Lutheran publishing concern headquartered in Philadelphia. Fortress Press was the publishing arm of the Lutheran Church of America after 1962 when the denominations merged to make the "unified" Lutheran Church as it is known in the US today. The forerunner of Fortress Press was the Henkel Press which was named by the son of Paul Henkel. And suddenly we are in the 18th century. And one opens this booklet and they are in 1520 at the dawn of the Reformation.
I have, somewhere, another booklet by Fortress Press but I can't locate it at this moment. Amiss, shuckens and heck.
Monday, July 17, 2017
The First Book of Japan
illustrated by Kathleen Elgin
D. C. Heath and Company
8 years after Hiroshima, 8 years after the end of WWII, this "children's book" appeared. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Kathleen Elgin. The book is an introduction to Japan and its culture less than a decade after the carnage and horrors of the war. In these 68 pages, a story of Japanese culture is revealed as told by two children. Great care is taken in the presentation of the various aspects of Japanese culture that were shown in the book. Timely as ever.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Finishing Line Press
Not a fan of Finishing Line Press but the poems here are good. Worth the effort to find and read. Definitely.
Monday, July 10, 2017
Trees of West Virginia Farms and Woodlots
West Virginia Dept. of Agriculture
Detailed listing of trees to be found in West Virginia. For what it is, is impressive. Not poetry : not all booklets and chapbooks that I mention are. This one, not poetry, is full of images and names of trees which I have both heard of, and not.
Monday, May 22, 2017
North Carolina Writers' Network
Local flavor. Winner of the 1993 Harperprints Poetry Chapbook Competition. Presentation-wise the book is average. Poetry-wise the work is good in a narrative way that appeals to many people.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
The Juggler of Our Lady
an old and of't told tale
The Rose Valley Press
One of my greatest pleasures of this entire pursuit is going to bookstores in places I have never been to before and taking some of their regional "wares" with me, like this tiny gem. I found it in a bookstore in Ardmore, PA close to the Rose Valley named in the Press. The Illustrator, Gus Uhlmann, seems to have been well known in the region. This tiny tiny was letter pressed with colored illustrations by Mr. Uhlmann. It's a most handsome book indeed. Glad to have it.
Monday, May 01, 2017
Sunday, April 23, 2017
A very good collection of prose poetry.
Yes, that was about all I was going to say about this chapbook. Generic grey cover. Edition key Satch(el) with an ISBN number on the back cover. Quale published prose poetry and this was one of their chapbooks that produced quarterly. There was an electronic version of this book available as well. Forward thinking for 2000? Indeed.
Prose poetry is a fickle fish. To the ear of someone raised on nursery rhyme poetics, it sounds strange. It doesn't sound like poetry at all. That's one of the many fault with our modern education system: the notion that seems to be reenforced is that the old ways are the best ways (of learning). I do not believe that to be the case but I am not an educator employed by the system I would be upholding. As there no single poetic form, there can be no single way to learn how to read or appreciate poetry. This is a fine example of this form.
Tuesday, April 04, 2017
I was out in Front Royal, VA over the weekend and went into the most famous bookstore in the town, and found this "chapbook" and I say it like that because it's 82 pages which is well over what a staple-bound chapbook ought to be. But this the author of this book did, twice. 1978 was an important year for Ms. McKeown. She published two versions of this chapbook in two different towns in West Virginia. I am sure that the backstory would be fascinating but I don't know it. What I see is a book that tries very hard, and doesn't really make the statement I imagine the author intended to.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Wrote this about Aaron Simon on this blog in #11:
Jackson Heights, NY
Insurance Editions makes quality chapbooks, period. Carrier by Aaron Simon is no exception. It’s a small book, 6 3/4 X 5 1/4. The paper stock and quality of printing are to be commended. I will note that the book was printed at Oscar Printing Company of San Francisco, CA and it is a superb job. The 34 prose poems are equal to the production of the book. I would say that this is a fine book and if you not yet familiar with Mr. Simon’s work, as I was not, it behooves you to find and read whatever Aaron was brought out. You are in for a treat.
Nobody writes about chapbooks for God's sake, and our first child, Julia, was born and I was the "stay-at-home" and I was there with our daughter and I started to write about chapbooks because I publish chapbooks (via Plan B Press) and because of a single chapbook I found somewhere -
- and I started to gather them, and once I started blogging about chapbooks some small presses in Brooklyn started sending copies to me for review which (remember the whole "having a newborn baby at home thing? that was real") and newborn babies need a LOT of attention. Anyway, Carrier was one of those that arrived from Insurance Editions, thank you Insurance Editions!"
then, I got :
: this from Green Zone, another of those small Brooklyn presses. This is a departure from the first book. These are not prose pieces. These are more structural. Very good poems. Thank you, Green Zone.
These two chapbooks have been in one of my growing number of plastic bins filled with chapbooks since 2006, and recently I decided to see if Aaron was "fineable" on the net - yes, he's in San Francisco and he would love to sign my copies of his books! I send them to him, very happily. I love having authors sign their books! And to my surprise, he adds :
: which he also quite graciously signed. This collection mirrors the second. Great poetry!
All three are very good collections. Thanks, Aaaron, for the work!
Monday, March 13, 2017
Blah Blah Blah press
I applaud the effort here. It's an artist book. It's a second printing of it. I want to like it more than I can though. It's xerox page printing, cheap cheap cheap. The cover material is interesting but the contents are not. Blah Blah Blah is right.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Six Dutch Hearts
The Bellevue Press
A slender chapbook by chapbook standards. Signed by the poet inside back. Handsome little thing. Hand-sewn. Six poems about dogs.
Thursday, March 09, 2017
A Ranch Bordering the Salty River
Finishing Line Press
The author sent me this book from Argentina. I told him that I would mention it. I just did.
Wednesday, March 08, 2017
Fuzz in Japan
Emma M. Maguire
published jointly by F.A.Owen Publishing Co. (Dansville, NY) and Hall & McCreary (Chicago, IL)
Yes, I did write 1913. This 32 page "instructor literature series - no. 290" booklet was part of an educational series with illustrations that came at the at the beginning of the last century. Apparently Fuzz is a young girl. The booklet is in remarkable condition considering its age, and the wear usually heaped on books of this nature.
Tuesday, March 07, 2017
The Seeing Glass
Monomoy Press was a DC - based Press which was distributed by Dryad Press. This copy was inscribed and signed by the poet. Ms. Louchheim led a colorful life, her obit was tucked into the copy of the book I found as well. She lived in Washington and New York throughout her life. She worked at the State Department as well as holding several Democratic party positions, rising to Vice Chairperson of the Democratic Party from 1956-1960.
This handsome collection is one of her volumes of poetry. She was known for her DC salons where art and politics mingled.
Saturday, March 04, 2017
Alain Pillet is not well known in the United States. He died in 2009. What I found about his life (and death) were Google-translated. This book is fairly rare. It was published by Peter Wood who also co-translated the contents. The illustrator of this book is Rik Lina. Lina is an amazing artist.
Pillet was considered a Bretonist within Surrealist circles. This work reflects that observation. It's a fantastic little collection. So glad to have it.
Friday, March 03, 2017
Carvings on a Prayer Tree
Don't know much about the press, which seems to be a literary wing of the Wofford College English Dept., or rather WAS in 1994. The work seems to be a direct descendent of the "I-did-this - and - I - did - that" type of New York School poetics which becomes quite tiresome after awhile. In this case, before a while. Primarily, I am acknowledging the existence of.....
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Here at the Door
Janine Pommey Vega
Like so many chapbooks, this one came as part of a much larger lot and was not written about or acknowledged - until now. It came from a lot I got from a poet in New York state. I only dug it out now because Janine's companion, Andy Clausen, had posted himself reading a poem by Vegas a few years ago on a Facebook group and that piece appearing on the page recently and me thinking 'wait, I have a book by her!' Which I did, this one!
The cover image was provided by Martin Carey. Zonepress is a bit of a mystery but many small presses are/were. Ms. Vega was associated with the Beats. This tiny sliver of nothing is primarily about Death stopping by, on her fingertips, for a round of inspiration.
Robert Creeley and Francesco Clemente
Very handsome gallery produced item for an exhibition by Mr. Clemente's show entitled "Purgatorio". One of only 1000 printed. Color images of some of Clemente's painting with a corresponding poem provided by Robert Creeley. Beautiful work, beautifully done.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Book of Ten
The Bellevue Press
I have mentioned several times that Bellevue Press has been an overlooked small press of high quality books and here's another example of that. Hand-sewn binding of letterpressed pages lovingly made by Stuart McCarty who deserves notice for his fine work with Bellevue Press. He was a printer extraordinaire.
Saturday, January 07, 2017
The Burden of Time
The Bellevue Press
Like so many books by Bellevue Press, this is an exquisite example of a hand-stitched chapbook on hand-made paper. Just a thing of beauty and quality missing from so many small press books. The poetry is terrific as well.