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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

May 16, 2006

& speaking of Big Game Books...

...Maureen Thorson's own The Spectacle of Meat [above, center] has been reviewed in this month's "Crucial Rooster" column at the Happy Booker by Reb Livingston. Check it.

Then go see Maureen for a copy, if there are any left. They are gorgeous...and FREE.


New from Big Game: Parad e R ain by Michael Koskin

A parade of Parad e R ain on publisher Maureen Thorson's livingroom rug.

Big Game Books is very proud to present Michael Koshkin's Parad e R ain, a meditation on the joyfulness of the flesh, with detours on the delights of "my happy bottom" and the headwear favored by danger itself. Five bucks gets you all the rain a body could want.

You may recognize the name Michael Koshkin. That's cuz he's one of the dynamic DIY duo behind Hot Whiskey Press.

Here is an excerpt. (PDF file)

March your mousie over here to get yer very own.


It's Jen Benka's turn over at Kate Greenstreet's place

Jen Benka is the author of A Box of Longing with Fifty Drawers recently released by Soft Skull Press.* (She's also the writer of the very cool grrrl comic Manya, in collaboration with cartoonist Kris Dresen.)

Jen questions the received notion of "first book" by letting us in on a little secret: her first was actually a hand-bound collection of haiku "about basketball and dead frogs" that she wrote & produced in an edition of one in the seventh grade. She also talks about the limited-edition hand-bound version of A Box of Longing (previously known as A Revisioning of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America) put out by Booklyn (linked in sidebar).

Jen also happens to work for Poets & Writers, so she really knows that of which she speaks:
What are you doing to promote sales?

In the U.S., poetry basically exists outside of the economy--with only a few exceptions, books of poetry do not make money, they lose it. Poetry is all about losing money. Poetry is antithetical to capitalism. The poem and the dollar share only that they are both printed on paper. Thankfully there are many visionary people running presses who believe deeply that poetry matters and find other ways to cover publishing and printing costs. They are my heroes.

While this can raise questions for some about why there is a lack of demand for poetry in this country or reinforce for others the marginalized status of the poet, it is also a demonstration of the democratic nature of the art form. Poetry is free.

Read the rest.

A side note: Half Empty/Half Full (linked in sidebar) produced a limited edition broadside of "Order" from A Box of Longing with Fifty Drawers for Book Expo America last year. It's out of print, but you can see it here.

*NB: I didn't personally work on Jen's book, except in a broad support capacity.

Call for submissions: The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel 2007

2007 Bedside Guide Call for Submissions

The editors of No Tell Motel are considering unpublished poems for the 2007 edition of THE BEDSIDE GUIDE TO NO TELL MOTEL. This collection will include some of the most seductive poems already appearing in No Tell Motel as well as new ones from poets who have not yet appeared in the magazine.

Sex appeal, playfulness and discretion in the broadest sense. Please refrain from submitting "sex act" poems. For an idea of our editorial tastes, visit No Tell Motel and read the poems we've already published or better yet, peruse a copy of the current BEDSIDE GUIDE.


Send up to 3 poems to bedsidesubmit (at) notellmotel (dot) org in the body of the e-mail. DO NOT SEND ATTACHMENTS.

Unpublished poems only

Include brief bio

Deadline: June 30, 2006

Payment: One copy of book

Editors: Reb Livingston & Molly Arden

Publisher: No Tell Books

Next week, Monday-Friday: Letterpress I

Next week in this space, I'm going to be reporting on a class I'm taking at the Center for Book Arts. I'll be doing Letterpress I: Hand Typesetting. (Been wanting to take this for a couple of years now, but had to rearrange my freelance schedule for a whole week finally to do it!)

We'll be making small pieces. Not sure what I'll choose to set yet.

This guy Jon Keegen just took Bookbinding I with the same instructor, Nancy Loeber. His co-blogger Barbara Zuckerman also took the class at some point, & has been busy making 2-inch artist books.

Nancy Loeber apparently also teaches stab-binding classes for kids at various orgs & libraries. (Kids LOVE making paper & binding books. I've actually taught those things myself. Totally fun.)

I was looking for a report from somebody who'd taken the letterpress class, but didn't find one. This artist made her letterpress hangtags at CBA.

I've already done some book binding (basic saddle stitching, Japanese stab bindings in a couple of variations, etc.), though I'm sure a formal class would still be helpful. So maybe I'll take one of those too, later on. I'd like to take a polymer-plate printing class too. & boxmaking. & Coptic binding. & & &...

I'm really excited. I bet that surprises you. ;)


May 14, 2006

Brian Teare answers Kate Greenstreet's first-book questions

Before the day you ripped open that box and saw your book for the first time, did you imagine that your life would change because of it?

I grew up queer in a small town in the Deep South--for 22 years my entire life narrative was structured around the idée fixe, "When I leave, my life will begin and/or be lots better." Once grad school finally supplied me adequate money to leave, and after my life had not been magically changed by the act of crossing several state lines, I had to rethink the truth-value of my basic narrative arc.

The basic narrative formula they fed us in the MFA program about post-MFA life was this:

1) publish your poems in lots of journals and
2) you'll publish a book and then
3) you'll get a nice tenure-track teaching job.

I didn't grow up with anything resembling familial or mental stability, or much of an idea how to succeed at anything (let alone at walking the seemingly trackless path of being a writer), and so this recipe sounded really good to me.

And so I thought, "When I leave grad school…," and "When I publish lots of poems in Big Journals," and then, later, as I shlepped my adjunct ass around the Bay Area, "When I get my first book…" You get the picture.

So in a word: yes. On some level, I'd imagined my life would change dramatically. However, did these imaginings ever have much basis in what even then I knew to be reality? No.

Read the rest here.

(NB: Though the books featured in Kate's series are not DIY projects, some are put out by smaller presses. The point of highlighting them here is the variety in the authors' responses to "did the first book change your life," which I always find interesting. Each has eroded/revised the myth of The Book in some way, don't you think?)