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Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: Fine Press Poetry Books

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  • Scott Rubel
    I agree with you on this. I was only taking issue with the blanket statement that books are meant to be read widely. It depends on the contents of the book,
    Message 1 of 29 , Aug 12, 2005
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      I agree with you on this. I was only taking issue with the blanket
      statement that books are meant to be read widely.

      It depends on the contents of the book, and its nature. I am one of
      those who can continue to enjoy owning a book long after it is read,
      and enjoy the opening of it again because it is finely bound, and
      enjoy the smell of the un-yellowing pages again, and the feel of the
      type in the pages, and the wood engravings. I cannot afford enough of
      these, and my shelves are not mahogany, but I guess I'm a snob and I
      shall keep the ones I have until I am old and I catch a young person
      who is lost in the feel of a letterpress printed page.

      Not all books are made for the same purpose. Some pottery is for
      cradling flowers, and some for skeet shooting.

      ---Scott Rubel

      On Aug 12, 2005, at 7:27 PM, Paul W. Romaine wrote:

      >
      > Scott: "Wide distribution is the job of the big publishers who
      > emphasize getting material out efficiently at a price that anyone can
      > afford." Yes, but... I think a lot of people in group #1 would point
      > out that we should not necessarily let the market decide which writer
      > gets wide distribution; also the big publishers are often quite
      > conservative and uncreative. My other response would be: for wide
      > distribution, there's always the web.
      >
      > Paul


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jason Dewinetz
      Speaking from a few positions (reader, writer, publisher, designer, book maker, book lover) this thread continues to bring up interesting issues for me, and
      Message 2 of 29 , Aug 13, 2005
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        Speaking from a few positions (reader, writer, publisher, designer, book
        maker, book lover) this thread continues to bring up interesting issues for
        me, and the one I'm struck by at the moment is the gap or split or perhaps
        even binary of content and container. This thread began with a request from
        an author to a printer/publisher, but seems to have d/evolved into a
        trumpet-call to the arms of fine press production, as though such a call
        were necessary.

        Austin's post was filled with very interesting comments, and I mean that
        with due respect:

        "The ability to put words on paper so easily has lessened the value of
        books in the eyes of the mass public. The last thing we need is more books.
        What we need is a greater
        appreciation of books. The mass production of anything lessens its value.
        This holds true for books or mouse traps."

        Each interesting statements, the more interesting when stated together. What
        kind of value, I wonder, is being questioned here? Cost or investment or
        sentiment or appreciation... I suppose what intrigues me right away is any
        statement that makes claim to what "we need." Who is we? And do we really?
        And while the "mass production of anything lessens its value" certainly
        makes sense on both economical and aesthetic levels, it sets up a value
        system based on rarity, on exclusivity, which is great for those who have.

        "When we produce a book using the oldest known method of printing, we add
        value to that book."

        Again, practically (financially) speaking, this is obviously true. But
        beyond that, the term "value" becomes a bit narrow. What I think you're
        referring to here is not, per se, the contemporary and feeble idea of
        "value," but an opportunity to appreciate fine craftsmanship. Yet how is
        this more valuable than a teenager's experience of reading a Xerox-copied
        'zine that speaks to their life at any given moment? I have a few comic
        books I've kept since I was 12 that mean the world to me, even if they were
        made of acid-rich newsprint and are disintegrating as we speak. I also, as
        mentioned in my last, have the memory of sitting in the British Library
        turning the pages of Jenson's books, printed in 1470 and somehow still
        beautiful at my fingertips, that I will never forget. Both of these are
        "valuable" experiences to me, but to most neither of these
        experiences/objects have any value whatsoever.

        I don't mean to rip apart Austin's post, it just raised interesting
        considerations. What I wanted to say in my last post is simply that there is
        no simple binary here between fine press work and mass production; there is
        always a myriad of opportunities and options for anyone wanting to produce
        something that communicates to others, and books are primarily about
        communicating; that is, content conveyed through a given vessel. The goal of
        producing a well designed and well made container for that content is of
        course what we're all interested in doing, yet much of this thread seems to
        be implying that the books we are discussing may as well be filled with
        placeholder text.

        I'm thinking here of Frederic Jameson's and Hayden White's writings on "the
        content of form," arguing that the form of any writing speaks as clearly as
        its content. At the moment, however, it seems the form of the content has
        all but made irrelevant the content itself.


        Jason
      • Gerald Lange
        Jason I appreciate your well thought out posts but I m not sure this is such a black or white situation. I have mimeo publications I value more highly than
        Message 3 of 29 , Aug 13, 2005
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          Jason

          I appreciate your well thought out posts but I'm not sure this is such
          a black or white situation. I have mimeo publications I value more
          highly than many of the fine press books I own. I doubt most folks
          collect fine press books simply because they are fine press books, but
          rather that they represent something that is different from the
          mainstream. I like pretty much anything that is a bit off,
          alternative, but not in the accepted thinking of that, so most of it
          is worthless in a financial sense, but has incredible value in other
          ways, and this does not have anything to do with craftsmanship nor the
          empty filling of an accepted form.

          Quite frankly I suspect everything that is being done, that is outside
          of the mainstream, is primitivism, and this literally includes all of
          contemporary letterpress, and god bless it.

          Gerald


          > Speaking from a few positions (reader, writer, publisher, designer, book
          > maker, book lover) this thread continues to bring up interesting
          issues for
          > me, and the one I'm struck by at the moment is the gap or split or
          perhaps
          > even binary of content and container. This thread began with a
          request from
          > an author to a printer/publisher, but seems to have d/evolved into a
          > trumpet-call to the arms of fine press production, as though such a call
          > were necessary.
          >
          > Austin's post was filled with very interesting comments, and I mean that
          > with due respect:
          >
          > "The ability to put words on paper so easily has lessened the value of
          > books in the eyes of the mass public. The last thing we need is more
          books.
          > What we need is a greater
          > appreciation of books. The mass production of anything lessens its
          value.
          > This holds true for books or mouse traps."
          >
          > Each interesting statements, the more interesting when stated
          together. What
          > kind of value, I wonder, is being questioned here? Cost or investment or
          > sentiment or appreciation... I suppose what intrigues me right away
          is any
          > statement that makes claim to what "we need." Who is we? And do we
          really?
          > And while the "mass production of anything lessens its value" certainly
          > makes sense on both economical and aesthetic levels, it sets up a value
          > system based on rarity, on exclusivity, which is great for those who
          have.
          >
          > "When we produce a book using the oldest known method of printing,
          we add
          > value to that book."
          >
          > Again, practically (financially) speaking, this is obviously true. But
          > beyond that, the term "value" becomes a bit narrow. What I think you're
          > referring to here is not, per se, the contemporary and feeble idea of
          > "value," but an opportunity to appreciate fine craftsmanship. Yet how is
          > this more valuable than a teenager's experience of reading a
          Xerox-copied
          > 'zine that speaks to their life at any given moment? I have a few comic
          > books I've kept since I was 12 that mean the world to me, even if
          they were
          > made of acid-rich newsprint and are disintegrating as we speak. I
          also, as
          > mentioned in my last, have the memory of sitting in the British Library
          > turning the pages of Jenson's books, printed in 1470 and somehow still
          > beautiful at my fingertips, that I will never forget. Both of these are
          > "valuable" experiences to me, but to most neither of these
          > experiences/objects have any value whatsoever.
          >
          > I don't mean to rip apart Austin's post, it just raised interesting
          > considerations. What I wanted to say in my last post is simply that
          there is
          > no simple binary here between fine press work and mass production;
          there is
          > always a myriad of opportunities and options for anyone wanting to
          produce
          > something that communicates to others, and books are primarily about
          > communicating; that is, content conveyed through a given vessel. The
          goal of
          > producing a well designed and well made container for that content is of
          > course what we're all interested in doing, yet much of this thread
          seems to
          > be implying that the books we are discussing may as well be filled with
          > placeholder text.
          >
          > I'm thinking here of Frederic Jameson's and Hayden White's writings
          on "the
          > content of form," arguing that the form of any writing speaks as
          clearly as
          > its content. At the moment, however, it seems the form of the
          content has
          > all but made irrelevant the content itself.
          >
          >
          > Jason
        • Michael Andrews
          Gerald I have to agree with you about value residing in something other than financial worth. Like you, I have strong leanings toward content, and like you,
          Message 4 of 29 , Aug 13, 2005
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            Gerald

            I have to agree with you about value residing in
            something other than financial worth. Like you, I have
            strong leanings toward content, and like you, possess
            a number of beat up old paperbacks that are far more
            valuable to me than most other expensive books.

            Isn't primitivism another word for dinosaur?

            Jason

            You have summed up the argument revolving around
            rarity and exclusivity. The limited nature of labor
            intensive had crafting is called snobbery by folks who
            consider only the financial costs of mercenary
            collecting and the limited ability to include a wide
            spectrum of authors. But the very same paradigm
            applies to those who are in love with the book as
            object. This sets the debate in terms of a kind of
            tension between rapacious collecting and the love of
            the codex.

            The book as object is more than simply the look, feel,
            smell and design: it has much to do with the idea of
            bookness.

            The other tension is that between media and content;
            book as sculpture and book as communication.

            The idea of bookness seems to relate directly to your
            comment
            "to produce something that communicates to others, and
            books are primarily about communicating;"

            As far as I can tell the distinction between art and
            craft is the compulsion to communicate a considered
            world view. The idea of bookness as communication
            implies that there is no great chasm between the book
            as object, which represents the idea of communication,
            and the book as a media of content; the actual act of
            mind touching mind, the ecstatic revelation of whole
            other worlds.

            It is what makes us value the comic books we read in
            1954. And it is what makes Gerald love anything a bit
            off.

            The idea that we do not need more books but do need a
            greater appreciation of books simple states the
            obvious. The more interesting question is how to
            stimulate that greater appreciation.

            And this has been asked innumerable times, often
            responded to and sometimes acted upon. So far, there
            has been very little success. Reading still declines
            along with falling book sales.

            But those who think that the decline in reading and
            the disinterest of younger generations either does not
            exist or is of no account have simply refused to face
            the obvious facts.

            It is simply too well known, too well documented to
            ignore: the numerous studies on who reads books, the
            declining sales in books; the shifting of editorial
            and publishing activity from the commercial publisher
            and the small press right down to Gerald's financial
            restrictions on publishing poetry; the Internet;
            television; etc., etc., etc..

            I suspect that those who have not noticed this have
            simply not been involved with the book world for a
            long enough period of time, multiple decades at least,
            to notice the shift, or perhaps they inhabit some
            happy paradise comprised of a small number of
            individuals who still do read or buy books. There are
            a number of small sub-cultures that do read; but they
            no longer represent the majority of the population and
            more to the point have less and less impact on the
            direction, quality and actions of the culture at
            large.

            There ought to be another word besides literacy that
            could distinguish between the fact that we live in a
            culture where the majority are literate in that they
            can read and write; but we also live in a culture
            where the majority do not read printed pages between
            covers; they do not read books. Our culture is fast
            becoming functionally illiterate regarding its own
            roots, history, literature etc, the general dumbing
            down of America is a well known phenomenon. Just
            consider the fact that majority of wannabe poets have
            never read Pope, Homer, Jeffers, Li Po, Blake,
            Shakespeare, Archelocos, Tu Fu, Milton, Donne or even
            Bukowski and Ted Kooser. Worse yet, consider that
            evolution vs. creationism is even a matter of public
            debate. Welcome to the middle ages. There is a serious
            decline of mass intellectual horsepower, in spite of
            cloistereed sub cultures and aging literary donosaurs.

            I am with Gerald in lamenting this sad state of
            affairs; sadder because of our apparent impotence to
            reverse the situation. But I am also powerfully
            grateful, almost reverential toward those of you who
            still print and publish and bind and write and collect
            and read and touch and smell the idea of bookness.

            To echo Gerald, god bless it and god bless them.

            In a sense, the last dinosaur was an unwilling
            elitist. It wasn't a matter of intention, just a
            matter of fact; a fact that is largely beside the
            point.

            Scott had a nice metaphor: "Not all books are made for
            the same purpose. Some pottery is for cradling
            flowers, and some for skeet shooting."

            Thanks god someone is still molding the clay and
            someone is still smelling the roses.

            Michael




            --- Gerald Lange <bieler@...> wrote:

            > Jason
            >
            > I appreciate your well thought out posts but I'm not
            > sure this is such
            > a black or white situation. I have mimeo
            > publications I value more
            > highly than many of the fine press books I own. I
            > doubt most folks
            > collect fine press books simply because they are
            > fine press books, but
            > rather that they represent something that is
            > different from the
            > mainstream. I like pretty much anything that is a
            > bit off,
            > alternative, but not in the accepted thinking of
            > that, so most of it
            > is worthless in a financial sense, but has
            > incredible value in other
            > ways, and this does not have anything to do with
            > craftsmanship nor the
            > empty filling of an accepted form.
            >
            > Quite frankly I suspect everything that is being
            > done, that is outside
            > of the mainstream, is primitivism, and this
            > literally includes all of
            > contemporary letterpress, and god bless it.
            >
            > Gerald
            >
            >
            > > Speaking from a few positions (reader, writer,
            > publisher, designer, book
            > > maker, book lover) this thread continues to bring
            > up interesting
            > issues for
            > > me, and the one I'm struck by at the moment is the
            > gap or split or
            > perhaps
            > > even binary of content and container. This thread
            > began with a
            > request from
            > > an author to a printer/publisher, but seems to
            > have d/evolved into a
            > > trumpet-call to the arms of fine press production,
            > as though such a call
            > > were necessary.
            > >
            > > Austin's post was filled with very interesting
            > comments, and I mean that
            > > with due respect:
            > >
            > > "The ability to put words on paper so easily has
            > lessened the value of
            > > books in the eyes of the mass public. The last
            > thing we need is more
            > books.
            > > What we need is a greater
            > > appreciation of books. The mass production of
            > anything lessens its
            > value.
            > > This holds true for books or mouse traps."
            > >
            > > Each interesting statements, the more interesting
            > when stated
            > together. What
            > > kind of value, I wonder, is being questioned here?
            > Cost or investment or
            > > sentiment or appreciation... I suppose what
            > intrigues me right away
            > is any
            > > statement that makes claim to what "we need." Who
            > is we? And do we
            > really?
            > > And while the "mass production of anything lessens
            > its value" certainly
            > > makes sense on both economical and aesthetic
            > levels, it sets up a value
            > > system based on rarity, on exclusivity, which is
            > great for those who
            > have.
            > >
            > > "When we produce a book using the oldest known
            > method of printing,
            > we add
            > > value to that book."
            > >
            > > Again, practically (financially) speaking, this is
            > obviously true. But
            > > beyond that, the term "value" becomes a bit
            > narrow. What I think you're
            > > referring to here is not, per se, the contemporary
            > and feeble idea of
            > > "value," but an opportunity to appreciate fine
            > craftsmanship. Yet how is
            > > this more valuable than a teenager's experience of
            > reading a
            > Xerox-copied
            > > 'zine that speaks to their life at any given
            > moment? I have a few comic
            > > books I've kept since I was 12 that mean the world
            > to me, even if
            > they were
            > > made of acid-rich newsprint and are disintegrating
            > as we speak. I
            > also, as
            > > mentioned in my last, have the memory of sitting
            > in the British Library
            > > turning the pages of Jenson's books, printed in
            > 1470 and somehow still
            > > beautiful at my fingertips, that I will never
            > forget. Both of these are
            > > "valuable" experiences to me, but to most neither
            > of these
            > > experiences/objects have any value whatsoever.
            > >
            > > I don't mean to rip apart Austin's post, it just
            > raised interesting
            > > considerations. What I wanted to say in my last
            > post is simply that
            > there is
            > > no simple binary here between fine press work and
            > mass production;
            > there is
            > > always a myriad of opportunities and options for
            > anyone wanting to
            > produce
            > > something that communicates to others, and books
            > are primarily about
            > > communicating; that is, content conveyed through a
            > given vessel. The
            > goal of
            > > producing a well designed and well made container
            > for that content is of
            > > course what we're all interested in doing, yet
            > much of this thread
            > seems to
            > > be implying that the books we are discussing may
            > as well be filled with
            > > placeholder text.
            > >
            > > I'm thinking here of Frederic Jameson's and Hayden
            > White's writings
            > on "the
            > > content of form," arguing that the form of any
            > writing speaks as
            > clearly as
            > > its content. At the moment, however, it seems the
            > form of the
            > content has
            > > all but made irrelevant the content itself.
            > >
            > >
            > > Jason
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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          • austin
            ... Jason, As the old saying goes, Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder, likewise Value is in the eye of the Buyer. Value is what the buyer sees and perceives
            Message 5 of 29 , Aug 13, 2005
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              Jason Dewinetz wrote:

              >
              >
              > "The ability to put words on paper so easily has lessened the value of
              > books in the eyes of the mass public. The last thing we need is more
              > books.
              > What we need is a greater
              > appreciation of books. The mass production of anything lessens its value.
              > This holds true for books or mouse traps."
              >
              > Each interesting statements, the more interesting when stated
              > together. What
              > kind of value, I wonder, is being questioned here? Cost or investment or
              > sentiment or appreciation... I suppose what intrigues me right away is any
              > statement that makes claim to what "we need." Who is we? And do we really?
              > And while the "mass production of anything lessens its value" certainly
              > makes sense on both economical and aesthetic levels, it sets up a value
              > system based on rarity, on exclusivity, which is great for those who have.
              >
              > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
              >
              Jason,

              As the old saying goes, Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder, likewise
              Value is in the eye of the Buyer. Value is what the buyer sees and
              perceives in a potential purchase. A can of worms from Wal-Mart or a can
              of worms from Target. What is the difference? Only what the buyer perceives.

              A book printed and distributed by the millions is obviously seen
              differently than a book produced in limited numbers and by less
              mechanized methods. We as producers of books have an opportunity to
              promote and sell this value added aspect of the product.

              Value is not strictly a dollar amount. It is what we feel about
              something. Be it material things or the more intangible - friends and
              relationships.

              The WE in "we need" is us - the people who are marketing products of the
              printing press. We need - People who can appreciate the efforts of those
              in history from Gutenberg to Goudy. People who recognize that without
              the efforts of those who came before as well as those of us today who
              are putting the same dedication and effort into preserving the printed
              page the world would be a very boring place.

              You obviously read my complete ramble. I appreciate and enjoy this type
              of discourse. It is the exchange of values, priorities, and purpose that
              maintains the edge.

              tks

              --


              Austin Jones
              prints by AJ
              Point Pleasant, WV USA
              austin@...
              http://printsbyaj.com



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Jason Dewinetz
              I woke this morning wondering if I d perhaps shoved my foot down my throat with my last post, but am glad to see more discussion on the topic and appreciate
              Message 6 of 29 , Aug 13, 2005
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                I woke this morning wondering if I'd perhaps shoved my foot down my throat
                with my last post, but am glad to see more discussion on the topic and
                appreciate that I've finally ventured into this forum rather than continuing
                to lurk in the background.

                I certainly didn't mean to privilege the "commercial" value of anything, I
                was instead speaking to the same comment Gerald made, that "this is not so
                much a black and white situation." Exactly the point. I've just finished
                hosting this year's Greenboathouse Reading Series and part of what I love
                about putting on this event is the enjoyment and appreciation I see on the
                faces of the audience as they browse the display of books during our
                intermissions. Many of these are our chapbooks that are out of print and
                unavailable, and thus these sorts of events are the only time I get to see
                people interacting with the books, picking them up, turning them over,
                running fingers across the cover stock, and even, indeed, taking a sniff.
                It's wonderful. Wonderful both because I half-broke my back craning to sew
                them together, and because of the pleasure others seems to take in the
                books.

                Michael wrote: "There are a number of small sub-cultures that do read; but
                they no longer represent the majority of the population and more to the
                point have less and less impact on the direction, quality and actions of the
                culture at large."

                And I suppose I have to acknowledge that I'm lodged in one of those
                sub-cultures, comprised of a small readership ranging in age from 15-80 who
                are avid readers of poetry and drawn to an attractively produced book both
                in terms of design (typography) and production (materials, binding, etc.). I
                forget, often, that I'm lucky to have found such a readership that allows me
                to keep Greenboathouse up and running. I forget, also, that most might
                expect such an enterprise to bring in some form of personal income. This has
                never been a goal for me. In fact, I've often thought attempting such a
                "business" would immediately remove the pleasure from the equation, so I'm
                quite happy to write-off my losses at the end of each year and continue
                sewing in the evenings for my own sense of enjoyment and calm.

                Perhaps that was my point. Not to promote this or that, or to impose an
                appreciation of anything on "the masses," but to appreciate the opportunity
                to do what I do. And I do.

                Perhaps the world is going to hell in an empty book-bag, perhaps that's sad,
                but I'm reluctant to think that I know what's good for the world, and often
                leery of others who think they might know.

                That said, and as said in the last few posts, from my subjective,
                self-important position, god bless each of you who make beautiful books. Yet
                there's no real need for such a blessing. The blessing is in the setting,
                and binding, and scoring, and sewing...


                Jason
              • Gerald Lange
                Michael Next time you are at the newstand buy yourself a copy of Raw Vision: the international journal of intuitive and visionary art [outsider art/art
                Message 7 of 29 , Aug 13, 2005
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                  Michael

                  Next time you are at the newstand buy yourself a copy of Raw Vision:
                  the international journal of intuitive and visionary art [outsider
                  art/art brut/self-taught art/contemporary folk art]. Primitivism ain't
                  no dinosaur. One of the selectors at the Victoria and Albert Museum
                  told me the entire post war book arts collection (which includes fine
                  press books and artists books) is based on it.

                  Gerald



                  >
                  > Gerald
                  >
                  . . .
                  >
                  > Isn't primitivism another word for dinosaur?
                  >
                  . . .
                  >
                  > Michael
                • Gerald Lange
                  Going way back to the front of the thread: I find this on Google, an article from Coda, the journal of Poets & Writers (Michael mentioned the org), How to get
                  Message 8 of 29 , Aug 13, 2005
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                    Going way back to the front of the thread:

                    I find this on Google, an article from Coda, the journal of Poets &
                    Writers (Michael mentioned the org), "How to get out of the slush
                    pile." This is for writers seeking to make connections with
                    publishers. It's about twenty years old now and I had forgotten about
                    it. They had interviewed me for a segment of it. I guess the fact that
                    is still up and running might suggest it has some useful information?

                    http://www.pw.org/mag/articles/a8206-1.htm

                    Gerald
                  • Sue Clancy
                    Lurker lured from the shadows here - I just had to add my two cents. I m another member of that sub-culture of readers that are mentioned below. In fact I
                    Message 9 of 29 , Aug 14, 2005
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                      Lurker lured from the shadows here - I just had to add my two cents.
                      I'm another member of that sub-culture of readers that are mentioned
                      below. In fact I even belong to the sub-culture of those with 'Book
                      Lust'. Looking at a beautifully crafted book with leather and
                      hand-marbled covers and hand-marbled endpages gives me a thrill! I want
                      to hold (and own) them all! I love the feel, the look, the texture -
                      and yes the smell - of a good handsewn book!
                      While I enjoy some of the content of books out there in the
                      mass-produced world, for me there is no comparison to a book with
                      wonderful content AND beautiful craftsmanship! That is truely a book of
                      beauty and something to enjoy!
                      I think life has to be about more than fast food, cheap knock-offs and
                      thrown together bric-a-brac.
                      Where's the beauty? Where's the love? Where's the fireside, a
                      well-made book and a good wine?
                      That's where I'll be!
                      Keep it up all ye makers of beauty!!!!!
                      Sue Clancy

                      Jason Dewinetz wrote:

                      >I woke this morning wondering if I'd perhaps shoved my foot down my throat
                      >with my last post, but am glad to see more discussion on the topic and
                      >appreciate that I've finally ventured into this forum rather than continuing
                      >to lurk in the background.
                      >
                      >I certainly didn't mean to privilege the "commercial" value of anything, I
                      >was instead speaking to the same comment Gerald made, that "this is not so
                      >much a black and white situation." Exactly the point. I've just finished
                      >hosting this year's Greenboathouse Reading Series and part of what I love
                      >about putting on this event is the enjoyment and appreciation I see on the
                      >faces of the audience as they browse the display of books during our
                      >intermissions. Many of these are our chapbooks that are out of print and
                      >unavailable, and thus these sorts of events are the only time I get to see
                      >people interacting with the books, picking them up, turning them over,
                      >running fingers across the cover stock, and even, indeed, taking a sniff.
                      >It's wonderful. Wonderful both because I half-broke my back craning to sew
                      >them together, and because of the pleasure others seems to take in the
                      >books.
                      >
                      >Michael wrote: "There are a number of small sub-cultures that do read; but
                      >they no longer represent the majority of the population and more to the
                      >point have less and less impact on the direction, quality and actions of the
                      >culture at large."
                      >
                      >And I suppose I have to acknowledge that I'm lodged in one of those
                      >sub-cultures, comprised of a small readership ranging in age from 15-80 who
                      >are avid readers of poetry and drawn to an attractively produced book both
                      >in terms of design (typography) and production (materials, binding, etc.). I
                      >forget, often, that I'm lucky to have found such a readership that allows me
                      >to keep Greenboathouse up and running. I forget, also, that most might
                      >expect such an enterprise to bring in some form of personal income. This has
                      >never been a goal for me. In fact, I've often thought attempting such a
                      >"business" would immediately remove the pleasure from the equation, so I'm
                      >quite happy to write-off my losses at the end of each year and continue
                      >sewing in the evenings for my own sense of enjoyment and calm.
                      >
                      >Perhaps that was my point. Not to promote this or that, or to impose an
                      >appreciation of anything on "the masses," but to appreciate the opportunity
                      >to do what I do. And I do.
                      >
                      >Perhaps the world is going to hell in an empty book-bag, perhaps that's sad,
                      >but I'm reluctant to think that I know what's good for the world, and often
                      >leery of others who think they might know.
                      >
                      >That said, and as said in the last few posts, from my subjective,
                      >self-important position, god bless each of you who make beautiful books. Yet
                      >there's no real need for such a blessing. The blessing is in the setting,
                      >and binding, and scoring, and sewing...
                      >
                      >
                      >Jason
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • Kathleen Whalen
                      Thanks Sue, and you too, Marcia. Despite all the conversation, I think that lots of us (ok, maybe just Graham and I) make books because we share your love of
                      Message 10 of 29 , Aug 15, 2005
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                        Thanks Sue, and you too, Marcia. Despite all the conversation, I think that
                        lots of us (ok, maybe just Graham and I) make books because we share your
                        love of nice paper, the look of the ink on the paper (and on the press for
                        that matter!), the thrill of seeing that if you just shift that title two
                        ems to the left, drop the address or add another line to the border you've
                        created a cracking title page, not to mention the sheer satisfaction of
                        planning, printing, collating and binding a book -- A BOOK!

                        Graham prints because he can't help himself, because he loves it. We think
                        our books are good; we enjoy reading them; we enjoy the illustrations; we
                        enjoy making them, and we delight in looking at them after they are made --
                        that's why book fairs like the Oak Knoll Book Fest and the Oxford Fine Press
                        Book Fair are such fun: we get to talk about the books we made last year, to
                        tell you why we made the choices we did, and you get to talk to us about the
                        books, what you like or don't like about them. And isn't it wonderful to see
                        a room full of people making interesting books?

                        And we like to think, like any Private Press worth its salt, that we print
                        whatever takes our fancy. We print poetry -- two of my favourite Incline
                        Press books are slim volumes of poetry, sometimes biography, sometimes a
                        light-hearted something to accompany Burt Eastman's joyous linocuts. To
                        some extent talking about privileging hand made books, or commercial vs
                        noncommercial sub-cultures adds a layer of complication to what, for most of
                        us, is amazingly simple: we like books, and the more bookish they are the
                        better.


                        Kathy Whalen
                        Incline Press
                        36 Bow Street
                        Oldham OL1 1SJ England
                        http://www.inclinepress.com
                      • Sue Clancy
                        Oh Yes! I totally understand printing because you can t help yourself! When I was a kid - about 4 or 5 - I made my first book. I d gotten into my
                        Message 11 of 29 , Aug 15, 2005
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Oh Yes! I totally understand printing because you can't help yourself!
                          When I was a kid - about 4 or 5 - I made my first book. I'd gotten
                          into my grandmothers ink pads and discovered 'printing'!!!! (Grandma
                          was a librarian - and this was back in the day when librarians 'stamped'
                          books as checked out/returned) I remember that I found some paper (and
                          the walls) and 'printed' my hand over and over on lots of pages and made
                          a book!
                          Of course now I create block-prints and pen/brush & ink illustrations
                          for my books and sew them by hand - and I make handmarbled papers - but
                          I think I caught the 'book - bug' early and I never want to be
                          cured!!!!!!!!!! <grin>
                          Yes I agree - Commercial/non commercial - it hardly makes a difference
                          when you love books. In some ways I'm of two minds. On the one hand I
                          appreciate the 'commercial' book world for having put out books on every
                          imaginable subject and made them widely/easily available and affordable.
                          Yet on the other hand I feel that the book needs to be well crafted as I
                          am frustrated by the commercial books that fall apart on the first
                          reading because they weren't well made in the first place.
                          So I have this question - at what point does the 'mass production' of
                          books begin to be too ubiquitous - like McDonalds - and cease to have
                          flavor or value. At what point does the hiqh quality craftmanship begin
                          to be too exclusive and the content not available to a large enough
                          audience?
                          Or does it matter?
                          Kathy and Graham - I'll have to look at your website!!! What
                          fun!!!!!!!! Fun conversation too!
                          Sue Clancy

                          Kathleen Whalen wrote:

                          >Thanks Sue, and you too, Marcia. Despite all the conversation, I think that
                          >lots of us (ok, maybe just Graham and I) make books because we share your
                          >love of nice paper, the look of the ink on the paper (and on the press for
                          >that matter!), the thrill of seeing that if you just shift that title two
                          >ems to the left, drop the address or add another line to the border you've
                          >created a cracking title page, not to mention the sheer satisfaction of
                          >planning, printing, collating and binding a book -- A BOOK!
                          >
                          >Graham prints because he can't help himself, because he loves it. We think
                          >our books are good; we enjoy reading them; we enjoy the illustrations; we
                          >enjoy making them, and we delight in looking at them after they are made --
                          >that's why book fairs like the Oak Knoll Book Fest and the Oxford Fine Press
                          >Book Fair are such fun: we get to talk about the books we made last year, to
                          >tell you why we made the choices we did, and you get to talk to us about the
                          >books, what you like or don't like about them. And isn't it wonderful to see
                          >a room full of people making interesting books?
                          >
                          >And we like to think, like any Private Press worth its salt, that we print
                          >whatever takes our fancy. We print poetry -- two of my favourite Incline
                          >Press books are slim volumes of poetry, sometimes biography, sometimes a
                          >light-hearted something to accompany Burt Eastman's joyous linocuts. To
                          >some extent talking about privileging hand made books, or commercial vs
                          >noncommercial sub-cultures adds a layer of complication to what, for most of
                          >us, is amazingly simple: we like books, and the more bookish they are the
                          >better.
                          >
                          >
                          >Kathy Whalen
                          >Incline Press
                          >36 Bow Street
                          >Oldham OL1 1SJ England
                          >http://www.inclinepress.com
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • lemontreepress@aol.com
                          In a message dated 8/15/2005 1:21:08 AM Pacific Daylight Time, kwhalen.incline@VIRGIN.NET writes: And we like to think, like any Private Press worth its salt,
                          Message 12 of 29 , Aug 15, 2005
                          • 0 Attachment
                            In a message dated 8/15/2005 1:21:08 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
                            kwhalen.incline@... writes:

                            And we like to think, like any Private Press worth its salt, that we print
                            whatever takes our fancy.

                            Three cheers for Incline Press! The semantics and philosophical inquiries
                            about" why" can drive one to the the shrink! Some of us just love books! It's
                            enough for me!
                            All best wishes...
                            Nancy




                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • alex brooks
                            ... That s me, idealist printer... up against a brick wall ... I found this thread from a few months back interesting, if a little academic. Here s a real
                            Message 13 of 29 , Feb 9, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              On Aug 12, 2005, at 10:27 PM, Paul W. Romaine wrote:

                              > I see a lot of people who print privately coming out these
                              > traditions, but without the subsidies or tax-exempt status which
                              > their teachers had. Often, they run into the brick wall of what to do
                              > about making a living, and then they have to find other jobs as
                              > designers, job printers, wedding invitation printers, etc. A lot of
                              > idealists here too, and often they'll make a run of it.

                              That's me, idealist printer... up against a brick wall ...
                              I found this thread from a few months back interesting, if a little
                              academic. Here's a real world report: the record of my first
                              publication.

                              Not my first book, but my first publication, a short book of poems of a
                              local author who just happened to be one of my professors when in
                              school.

                              specs: 12 poems, 24 page, 5 3/4" x 8 1/4", edition of 200. Hand set in
                              Plantin type, on hand-made Velke Losiny paper. #1-50 bound in cloth
                              (sewn boards binding) #50-150 bound in very nice paper wraps.

                              money: I bought the paper at half off, an odd lot that the vendor
                              wanted to be rid of. I provided all of the work myself: editing,
                              typeset, illustration, printing, binding, marketing & promotions. So i
                              didn't have to pay anyone else. I actually turned away help in order to
                              insure that everything would be bound in a professional manner. The
                              books came out to cost me (including incidentals and wastage) $6ea for
                              paper & $12ea cloth. I sell them retail for $30 and $60. Usually I go
                              through a book store or other seller so I actually receive $21 and $42
                              respectively. That brings the profit to $3,750. I gave up very early on
                              counting my hours in the project... probably close to 3,750. From start
                              to finish (I still haven't finished all the cloth books) the project
                              has taken about 2 years, mainly due to moving, buying a house, working
                              at a restaurant, and printing wedding invitations.

                              reception: I debuted the book at the Frankfort Book Fair in November.
                              At this event writers sit at tables filling a convention center and
                              sign their books. Most, almost all of the books were conventional trade
                              books. There is one other letterpress printer in the area, very
                              established, and he had his own table. I prepared only 40 paperbacks
                              for this fair, expecting lax sales - it is, after all, a slim volume
                              with a high price point. Instead, the author sold them all. I was
                              amazed. I made enough money to buy x-mas presents. But the real reward
                              was the joy on the author's face, and the joy she took introducing me
                              as her publisher (also the confusion on peoples faces as they struggled
                              to understand how this twenty some odd year old kid was a publisher of
                              anything). I sold half of the books before x-mas, without any
                              advertising or effort at all besides taking them around to book stores.
                              I couldn't bind them fast enough. Interest has slowed since christmas,
                              but I am positive that the edition will sell out.

                              reflections: It is not the best work I have ever done, it is far from
                              perfect. I doubt any critic could raise an error or flaw I haven't
                              seen. But these are selfish concerns. Right now, there are one-hundred
                              people reading poems that would not have been read. This is not an
                              amateur poet, she was publishing poems before I was born, yet this book
                              that I brought into the world brings her so much joy. And I have heard
                              nothing but praise about the whole affair. In Kentucky, in my neck of
                              the woods, it's about writers who could not live without writing,
                              printers who could not live without printing, and readers who could not
                              live without reading. It is a community. And surprisingly, not a single
                              person has asked me why that book costs so much.

                              interested in looking?
                              http://www.press817.com/year%20in%20ky/year.html

                              thanks,
                              alex
                              press eight seventeen
                              lexington, kentucky
                            • T Howard
                              What a fine success story, Alex. Thank you for sharing it. I m learning printing specifically to someday make books, and thus preserve some things that
                              Message 14 of 29 , Feb 9, 2006
                              • 0 Attachment
                                What a fine success story, Alex. Thank you for sharing it. I'm learning printing specifically to someday make books, and thus preserve some things that should not be lost. Tales such as this inspire us all to continue the endeavor.

                                As to the need to follow different roads to make a living, many years ago I read Robert Frost's "Two Tramps in Mud-time", and adopted a portion of it as a personal creed:

                                "But yield who will to their separation,
                                My object in living is to unite
                                My avocation and my vocation
                                as my two eyes make one in sight.

                                "For only where love and need are one
                                And the Work is play for mortal stakes
                                Is the deed ever really done
                                For Heaven's and the Future's sakes."
                                Robert Frost

                                The result has been an ability to fully commit myself to whatever employment I've had, and miraculously, in doing so, opportunities opened within those staid business milieus that have allowed me to express and use all my talent, skill, art, and soul. It's the strangest thing. It really is all about the daily doing, casting the bread we have on the waters we see and being there when the moment comes.

                                The book is something to be proud of, and likely the first of many. Your wedding invitations are treasures that some will hand down as heirlooms. And every once in a while, a poem written on a napkin at a cafe table might be worth preserving.

                                Tina



                                alex brooks <alex@...> wrote:
                                On Aug 12, 2005, at 10:27 PM, Paul W. Romaine wrote:

                                > I see a lot of people who print privately coming out these
                                > traditions, but without the subsidies or tax-exempt status which
                                > their teachers had. Often, they run into the brick wall of what to do
                                > about making a living, and then they have to find other jobs as
                                > designers, job printers, wedding invitation printers, etc. A lot of
                                > idealists here too, and often they'll make a run of it.

                                That's me, idealist printer... up against a brick wall ...
                                I found this thread from a few months back interesting, if a little
                                academic. Here's a real world report: the record of my first
                                publication.

                                Not my first book, but my first publication, a short book of poems of a
                                local author who just happened to be one of my professors when in
                                school.

                                specs: 12 poems, 24 page, 5 3/4" x 8 1/4", edition of 200. Hand set in
                                Plantin type, on hand-made Velke Losiny paper. #1-50 bound in cloth
                                (sewn boards binding) #50-150 bound in very nice paper wraps.

                                money: I bought the paper at half off, an odd lot that the vendor
                                wanted to be rid of. I provided all of the work myself: editing,
                                typeset, illustration, printing, binding, marketing & promotions. So i
                                didn't have to pay anyone else. I actually turned away help in order to
                                insure that everything would be bound in a professional manner. The
                                books came out to cost me (including incidentals and wastage) $6ea for
                                paper & $12ea cloth. I sell them retail for $30 and $60. Usually I go
                                through a book store or other seller so I actually receive $21 and $42
                                respectively. That brings the profit to $3,750. I gave up very early on
                                counting my hours in the project... probably close to 3,750. From start
                                to finish (I still haven't finished all the cloth books) the project
                                has taken about 2 years, mainly due to moving, buying a house, working
                                at a restaurant, and printing wedding invitations.

                                reception: I debuted the book at the Frankfort Book Fair in November.
                                At this event writers sit at tables filling a convention center and
                                sign their books. Most, almost all of the books were conventional trade
                                books. There is one other letterpress printer in the area, very
                                established, and he had his own table. I prepared only 40 paperbacks
                                for this fair, expecting lax sales - it is, after all, a slim volume
                                with a high price point. Instead, the author sold them all. I was
                                amazed. I made enough money to buy x-mas presents. But the real reward
                                was the joy on the author's face, and the joy she took introducing me
                                as her publisher (also the confusion on peoples faces as they struggled
                                to understand how this twenty some odd year old kid was a publisher of
                                anything). I sold half of the books before x-mas, without any
                                advertising or effort at all besides taking them around to book stores.
                                I couldn't bind them fast enough. Interest has slowed since christmas,
                                but I am positive that the edition will sell out.

                                reflections: It is not the best work I have ever done, it is far from
                                perfect. I doubt any critic could raise an error or flaw I haven't
                                seen. But these are selfish concerns. Right now, there are one-hundred
                                people reading poems that would not have been read. This is not an
                                amateur poet, she was publishing poems before I was born, yet this book
                                that I brought into the world brings her so much joy. And I have heard
                                nothing but praise about the whole affair. In Kentucky, in my neck of
                                the woods, it's about writers who could not live without writing,
                                printers who could not live without printing, and readers who could not
                                live without reading. It is a community. And surprisingly, not a single
                                person has asked me why that book costs so much.

                                interested in looking?
                                http://www.press817.com/year%20in%20ky/year.html

                                thanks,
                                alex
                                press eight seventeen
                                lexington, kentucky






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