Saturday, August 19, 2017


Yesterday morning found me at the Field Museum, getting a chance to see oversized dino fossils and some of the collection in the museum's library, including the giant Audubon (that needed an Audubon Ottoman it was so big) and some gorgeous botanical books that set me dreaming of flowers and itching to break out the new markers I've yet to christen. I'd initially planned to spend the afternoon at the museum, checking out the Specimen's exhibit, but my feets were tired and I was lured away by dim sum, so it will have to await another day and another visit.

Next weekend I will be in Rockford for a visit and then the week after that, getting ready for the semester to begin and summer will be gone just like that. I always am of mixed feelings about this time of year, or maybe it's the last month of any extreme season (summer or winter), anxious to get to fall or spring and my more favorite parts  I'm a spring baby, so I probably prefer it more than fall, but I also love fall's colors and coziness (and the clothes are always the very best--I once again have my sights set on rich fall florals and boots and sweater dresses, oh my!)  Of course, remind me of this in February when I am whining about winter...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

a peek into dgp

Summer is slipping out from under me, both swiftly and slowly at the same time, and I am reaching the point where I am approaching a third of the way through  the incoming dgp submissions for next year.  There are days when I have to stop reading because I want to take everything.  There are days when I stop reading because I'm flipping through and nothing is catching my fancy. Somewhere there is a happy medium and on those days, I make hard decisions about what I can possibly fit into a given month. By now, we are already chock full for January, February, March, and most of April, which is where I want to be at this point.  There are also a stack of maybes that languish until the end and I fill in where there's room, though the past couple of years, my maybes had to be rejected. We'll see what happens this year.

I would like to say I read everything cover to  cover, but with coming up on 500 books, I know that's not possible.  So I read about 5 pages into each, longer into the ones I'm digging, all the way through the maybes and the yesses,  Some are easy--a quick no--usually not due to any sort of manuscript integrity  but more do to writing style. I don't even get a lot of really bad cliche stuff anymore (maybe 20%) , but some are definitely more straightforward lyrical or narrative poems that don't really excite me all that much (another 30-40%.)  Stuff in this vein only when it surprises me or gets weird, or the voice is fractured or unruly somehow. There's another 10-20 % that don't seem to work as chapbooks, or are too random in their construction where I usually like a tighter focus. Another 20% that are structurally sound and well wrought but are not my favorites.  And then the 10% or so that knocks my socks off and comes down ultimately to whether a not when I look at the book, I wish it were something I had written.  All of which sounds horribly subjective when we think of editors choosing the "best" of any batch of submissions, but truthfully, it's a very subjective task.

Yesterday I was having a day when nothing pleased me in the first hour of reading, but in the second  I managed to find a three yesses--(one this strange language collage of Tiana Lavrova (something so unusual to me that I wasn't sure if I liked it at first, but by the end, was certain I kinda loved it) and chaps from Sarah Jones and Erin Salughter.  All very different books and voices but somehow all very undeniably dgp, which is very much about me and my tastes and also the collective voice that has developed through over 600 books. (and it's crazy to me to realize that's how many we've published in 13 years, and by the end of this year, even more.)

I always have been dedicated to going the maximum route rather than the scarce (go big or go home)--so we do take on a lot of books, probably way more than most  similarly sized presses  but I feel like they all somehow are animals moving in the same direction, maybe differently in terms of style and subject matter, but of the general species.  I determined that I would never put myself in the position of having to say not to anything I really loved .  Also that a flood is more effective in getting noticed than a trickle. Sometimes this means I fall behind, or freak out in the studio over time, or get behind on orders when things are moving briskly, but it's all good solid work and I am honored everyday to be able to continue to do it.  And probably it feels more important now than it even ever did before--to be getting women's voices out there and into the conversation, all 600 of them (well less because of of authors with multiple titles with us, but you get the gist..)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tiki Madness

Our current exhibit in the library is a love affair with all things Tiki, and for which I tried some pochoir technique prints and they didn't turn out so bad...Below, is the promo film I cobbled together as a sort of experiment/promotion for the exhibit.  It did turn out bad, but it's a good kind of bad...enjoy!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Summer seems to have swallowed me whole on occasion and this is one of those occasions.  Still there has been chocolate cake for breakfast and an acceptance for an article on our library gaming program from Library As Incubator.  There has been mothman / Lolla mashups (the two most notable things happening downtown at the moment.)  There has been ALA panel brainstorming and another programming writeup on murder mysteries. There has been folding--so much folding--in the studio getting out orders and author copies and right now it looks like there very well may have been a tornado come through.   Today, some manuscript reading and some responses (good and bad) sent along.

Tomorrow, Friday, and the day I focus on my own writing.  Mostly I'll be typing up and submitting the last of the love poems that have been languishing in my notebook since I came back from vacation.  They're good.  Frightfully good.  And though I know the shiny usually wears off on whatever project is newest, right now I am reveling in them. There is also the notebook full of UNUSUAL CREATURES pieces to tend to and type up, easier now that I have a laptop at home. I am also very close to getting out the DIRTY BLONDE zine for the zine series (see above), ..collages and poems and blonde jokes for it in the shop soon..

Friday, July 21, 2017

frivolous friday | vintage obsessions

I've been thinking a lot lately about collections.. Since pretty much the entirety of my household has come either via thriftstores or  secondhand over the years I've managed to amass some pretty cool stuff, including two mid-century avocado media cabinets, a battered old workbench I use for painting, a small collection of industrial stools and office chairs that are much much  cooler than any new dining room set.  I do have a few pet collecting  passions I've been taking  some shots of recently, including mid-century dishware, vintage purses and framed flowers and crewel work.  I'm fast running out of room to indulge the hoarding, but I did recently procure another leopard print bag and a cherry print needlepoint purse, on top of a couple more pyrex mixing bowls.  I also indulged a new fascination with black velvet kitch paintings, that may become an entirely new obsession.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Image may contain: plant, bedroom, table and indoor

Long time, no blog, but things have been insanely insane for the past few weeks that were filled with many things  (vacation time with my folks, 4th of July festivities, all sort of prep for the fall semester in the library,  lots of bookmaking in the studio)   I  came back to the city still reeling from losing Zoe, one cat half of the gingers, trying to catch up on work I'd missed during my time away, and have been just trying to keep my head above water.  

Things are slowing back into their normal routines, and I've been doing a little studio re-arranging (I did a huge supply buying binge over the weekend and picked up a new partition to hang artwork on since the wall space is pretty much occupado with shelves and furniture these days,  a rack for prints, ample cardstock and all sorts of other supplies like printmaking ink and paper. It was the first time I had a little financial breathing room since my New Orleans trip in the spring, so it was a bit cathartic. This of course was a bribery strategy to force me into doing an open studio in the fall--probably in October--so more on that as it gets close.

While I was in Rockford, I was able to put final touches on the HOW TO WRITE A LOVE POEM IN A TIME OF WAR series AND dig quite deep into the pieces that accompany the UNUSUAL CREATURES collages that will eventually be a sort of box project.   I was writing longhand, mostly since all I had access to was my small tablet and no keyboard, but it was an interesting variance for someone who mostly, outside of initial notes, composes on a screen and has since around 2005 (though I less looking forward to all the typing of drafts--it's a hefty chunk of text. )  I was able to get into a certain zone on the second project that I can't usually manage when I'm working all the time, so hopefully it was fruitful (I haven't yet looked at it since I got back, it all may be garbage.)

Plans are afoot for the fall term, and so far include a week devoted to tattoo art, zine night, a black light painting workshop, and a street vs. studio art battle and that's just September. Plus some fun gaming shenanigans on the side, including an Old Hollywood themed murder mystery in December.

In press doings, I am soldiering on through the summer releases (which I am only slightly behind on as usual) and looking toward fall.  Also doing some reading in the submissions queue, which is looking promising (and already worrisome in its size and bulk).

Summer has been alternating between oppressive and mild just enough to be mostly comfortable, and, to boot, has been extra stormy this year, which I appreciate (unless I'm trying to go out in it and wind up umbrellaless and drenched like last week on the way to the library) There's something exciting about a certain kind of heat that breaks every night with crashing, calamitous weather (well, not too calamitous.)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

dgp : recent cover designs

In addition to a few collage covers, the ones I have been working on for dgp of late have largely graphic or typographical in nature and a lot of fun to create. Here are a few of the most recent...