Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chapbook Publishing in the 21st Century

(Genevieve Kaplan, Lucas Southworth, Kristy Bowen, Elizabeth Wilcox, Andrew Wessels)
Friday, March 2nd, 4:30-5:15
Wiliford B, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor

Even as print traditions are evolving rapidly, chapbook publishers embrace and promote a somewhat antiquated literary form: the printed chapbook. Chapbook editors and publishers participating in this roundtable will offer perspectives on the business and art of the chapbook, centering their discussion around advantages of the printed chapbook format, aesthetics and innovations in chapbook publishing, and methods for success for new and established chapbook publishing ventures.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

As I'm getting my ducks in row for later this week, I am an odd mix of apprehensively nervous and over-excited. On one hand, I love the idea of a city awash in writers and getting to see so many people, including our awesome authors and friends I only see every few years. And there is still so much to do, books and other paper stuff to finish for Saturday, poems to be chosen for my reading Thursday, notes to be made for Friday's panel. But also, it's a whole lot of socializing and having to remember names and faces and conversations, far more than I do on a normal basis, all of which send my little introvert heart into panic. I've had all this week off from the library hoping to avoided the last-minute craziness, but alas, it looks like there will still be last minute craziness. I might have to forgo some of the panels I was planning on taking in and some more social things I was planning on doing and spend that time in the studio finishing up.

As for an itinerary, I am probably hanging out over at the Palmer House on Thursday, since there are a couple panels there I was planning to attend before I head over to the Beauty Bar. Afterward, it's on to BLP's reading in Wicker Park and then over to the bathroom readings at Neo (the place I lived around the corner from for two years and didn't realize it was actually still an operating club). Friday, I'll be around the book fair before my panel in the afternoon and think I might just stay in the loop that night and check the Sixth Finch/YesYes reading at Book & Paper (chock full of dancing girl poets) and the VIDA karaoke fundraiser at Tamarind. Saturday, I do hope to get back over to the Hilton after the open studio to hear Lyn Hejinian read and maybe check out the whole dance party thing I hear so much about every year.

But before I get that far I have to manage to finish pretty much everything up tomorrow, including a quick trip to Office Max, over to the Hilton to pick up my badge, and then stapling/trimming about 100 books for the signings. *sigh* Even thinking about it all makes me tired.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

{click image for closer look}

Join us during AWP as we welcome you into our space in the historic Fine Arts Building (just 3 blocks north of the Hilton). This is a great chance to pick up the newest titles, have a look at our latest offerings, and see exactly what we do. Plus a huge roster of book signings by our authors throughout the afternoon, plus refreshments, treats, and all sorts of papery goodness.

Book Signing Schedule

1pm. Kristen Eliason, Jackie White, & Rachelle Cruz
2pm. Megan Fernandes & Gillian Devereux
3pm Sheila Squillante & TBA
4pm Megan Kaminski & Brenda Sieczkowski
5pm Liz Kay & TBA
6pm J. Hope Stein & Gina Abelkop

Thursday, February 23, 2012

sunny side up...

Another week in which I have had my shoulder to the wheel in terms of production, a shoulder that is now a little sore from stapling and trimming and ready to rest a little over the weekend before starting up again on Monday. Since everyone has been getting sick around me, I am trying to get enough sleep, though, which helps keep me relatively calm and non-homicidal. Today, though, I was laying in bed and dreading getting out of it, clamoring from under the covers and into shower, getting dressed, communiting downtown. Just like yesterday. Just like tomorrow. It put me in a bit of a funk, which I had to vanquish by thinking of the good side of each action. Yes, the bed is warm & cozy, but the shower is hotter and filled with yummy bath products. Yes, getting dressed is tedious but I love my closet and my clothes (or most of them). Yes, it's a 45 minute commute, but I can read or plan things out in my head before I get into the thick of things, and if I'm lucky, I'll get a nice view of the lake (I sorta did, but it was all hazy so you couldn't see much).

I was actually in a pretty good mood by the time I got downtown, and even in the studio, with half assembled books piled all over the floor, paper trimmings strewn from one wall to another, and the sneaking suspicion that I may never get everything done in time, I convinced myself how awesome it was to get to do this everyday (not all day, since I had to be in the library at 6, I've been taking half days as comp for my weekend shifts this week). But to make things, and publish awesome work, and have this endeavor and this amazing space which allows me to indulge all my creative whims. I know this all sounds rather Pollyana-ish and not at all like my usual snarky attitude, but sometimes I feel downright giddy lately with a side of optimistic. (Actually, in person I am usually a pretty positive person, with occasional moments of angry, impatient outbursts, that burn hot then go out just as quickly. I am also sort of sarcastic, so what people might interpret as snarkiness is usually just me being a smart-ass.)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

poems and projects

Today is a long, slow Saturday in the library, in which I hope to get the last of the layouts done for the chaps that need to get done this month. I was also thinking on the bus ride down this morning about poems and writing style. I have never really been one of those poets who thinks of a thing and then just writes a singular, stand-alone poem about it and moves onto the next subject. Or maybe I was 10 years ago, when I was writing the early pieces for the fever almanac, but ever since then, there has always been a project or manuscript or series that I've been writing toward. Part of it is probably the work-horse Taurus in me..I'm highly motivated if I can see an end goal, but not so much otherwise. Otherwise I flounder around and write nothing , or write something, get frustrated and toss it out (or more likely harvest it's parts for something I AM motivated to finish.) I'm alot like this with visual work too, and there, it has always been about series of pieces, so the writing habit may have aligned itself in a similar way around the same time.

I did occasionally eek out lone poems for class exercizes during my MFA, but who knows what happened to them in the mayhem along the way. Truthfully, if you told me to write a singular poems now, I'm not sure where I would even start or what I would write about. I tend to work from my loves and obsessions, so I have a few little fledgling projects going at one time, but no matter what single poem it begins with, there is always a greater sweep of poems plotted beyond that. I especially feel that any given subject matter requires a number of points of entry to get to the heart of it. It needs to be prodded with a fork and forced to give a little over and over. I would probably never have the audacity to write something about something, say my peace, and be done with it. There needs to be multiple plans of attack, things that circle and layer and possibly even contradict each other. All that good stuff.

Monday, February 13, 2012

well, duh, of course that's it..

Whenever I start thinking in terms of manuscripts, there is always this anxiety. It's one thing if I'm writing a more project oriented book like girl show, it's another when I seem to have these small disparate series, or worse, this chunk of everything but the kitchen sink. It's hard to find that thread, the thread that makes all these poems or series into a coherent whole that makes sense as a longer book, especially when they are all sprawling and unruly. Here, you have the brief history... poems. Here you have the havoc poems. Here are some random pieces that may or may not fit in. Here you have the house poems, half finished (which may or may not be a chapbook project on their own) and here are those goofy James Franco poems (and who knows if those even warrant inclusion in a book, and yet, the topics they actually cover seems to be important stuff even if they are a little silly.) And maybe those writing concerns fit nice in with the whole "woman as creative being vs. women as muse" theme of brief history..., and then, yes, a lot of havoc pieces deal with pop cultury sorts of things that resonate somewhat with the JF poems.

And suddenly, here is this PERFECT title I have scribbled in my notebook, that I was thinking might be this whole other thing about the media and body image and then *clap of thunder, bolt of lighting* suddenly I had it, a slippery little thread, a concept that unites all of these things and possibly something else I've been tossing around. Right now it's about 50 pages, but will probably be at least another 30 or so by the time I'm done.

Of course, tomorrow I might wonder why I ever thought this was a good idea, but I'm feeling rather thunderstruck at the moment. I may just be avoiding finishing the narrative project by distracting myself with something else, which is its own little beastie that needs vanquishing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

strange seed

This is another piece from the above series. I am hoping to have some prints done and the original matted by the time the open studio rolls around. I also had some mini-business cards for the press made up from this image which should be arriving later this month. I've though about turning the entire series into a little accordian style zine eventually should I ever have a chance to get to it. I am particularly in love with this one and racoons, which I have emblazoned over my FB page. I am oddly of late obsessed with nesting things inside of other things and have been working on some more of the shipwreck/mermaid pieces as well as resuming work on the project using those old photos and cabinet cards that I set aside for other things.

Otherwise, I am mostly hiding from a nasty return of winter weather this weekend and recuperating from a little too much giant raspberry margarita related fun Friday night (in which I drank about 3, managed to spill one, and talked so much and so loudly my throat sort of hurts today, but, oh my, it was fun.) Just the thing to kick those oh-my-god-it's-still-winter-isn't-it? blues. This weeks plans include shipping out a whole lot of author copies on latest books and getting out a few new releases from Gillian Devereux, Amanda Ackerman, Megan Fernandes, and possibly more depending on how quickly I move through my to do list.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

unfinished business

It's been a crazy workhorse week where I've barely had a moment to take a breath much lest blog, but I am making swift progress on things so I thought I'd take a little break & check in here. All sorts of books that were in the works finalized and still a few more to go. I'm thinking if I get them all rolled out this week and printed, I'll still have a couple of weeks to get them assembled and author copies out before the conference. There is so much goodness in this batch I can't wait to show them to you.

I am still struggling to stick to my vow to work on my own projects and should have some results to show you soon, including the zine project for botanica automata, which I happily discovered fit rather nicely into a huge lot of green square envelopes that I bought for some other project years ago they didn't quite work for. (Don't get me started on the 26 accordian book kits I rememember buying around the same time from Paper Source and haven't yet steps....) Of course, my life (my apartment, my studio) is littered with supplies for half finished and barely concieved things and I can only hope I'll get time to do them eventually.

And writing is no different..I have titles for about 4 manuscripts I've barely written a thing for, some of which are little zygotes in my notebook. I suppose too many ideas and inspirations are a good thing versus a lack of it, but it's still frustrating nevertheless. In the meantime, I get distracted by so many other things that take precedence. My dream is maybe taking a month off from everything, the library, the press business, and just working on all these things, writing and reading and making things. It's probably not going to happen (especially since I've already carved a week of vacation time out for AWP, which only leaves me 3more weeks for the whole of 2012) but it's a nice thought.

Friday, February 03, 2012

notes on things in progress

The mad rush on toward AWP has started and already I am well stocked on books up through 2010. The rest will happen in the next week, as well as getting out a slew of new titles in time for the conference, as well as some new prints, new bookmarks & paper goods, and whatever else I have time to do (there are some cute little art locket projects I'd like to get in motion that keep getting pushed back.) The promo postcards for the open studio are designed and ordered and I'm lining up the authors who will be doing the book signings. Meanwhile I am also making my plan of attack when it comes to events, scoping out the panels and offsite things I want to attend. (and the public transportation strategies of getting around on the north side Thursday from my reading in Ukrainian Village, up to Wicker Park for the BLP reading, then over to Lincoln Park for another.) I think Friday I might just limit myself to downtown events.

Whatever happens, I am determined to enjoy it rather than over-exhausting myself like three years ago, where I wound up staying up 24 hours Wednesday making books, was comatose at the book fair, and spent the rest of the next two days going home and catching up on sleep. Only on Saturday, did I finally actually get to any readings, and then that was only because I was actually reading. This time, I intend to take all week off of work and have everything finished for Saturday on Wednesday and then just enjoy myself Thurs thru Saturday, go to panels, prepare for my own, hang out with friends, drink way too much, the usual AWP hi-jinks.

While I am working on books, I am also working on more zine-projects and more artwork. I finished up the series that I showed you on the book cover below ( I also used one of them for the AWP card.) I am probably going to do something bookish, maybe an accordian book, with these and have already ordered some matboards for the originals. The mermaidish collages are also scanned and on flickr and awaiting further inspiration (there will be more). Also, I have started working on the little botanica automata project and have the mini-prints (see pic above) finished and am working still on the little booklet of text that accompanies them.

In other writing projects, I am almost done with the peices for the narrative thing. The last few are slow coming and sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a certain paralysis with finishing poems lately (I think I know why, but I'll address that in my next entry, which I also started this week, but haven't finished.) I think it goes beyond just not having enough time, since oviously I have time to blog and finish other things just fine. I want beautiful, sinister done though, before I turn my attention to other things on the back burner (the house poems, the list poem project, the mermaid peices that go with the artwork) So done, ideally by middle of this month, it will be.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

another sneak peak

As I mentioned below, this is the second cover I did the original artwork for. It turned out even cooler than I had anticipated. I will probably make prints available in the shop at some point soon of the artwork, and there are a couple more similar pieces to be unveiled soon. Plus, the book itself will be rolling out in a week or so, so keep your eye on the shop..