amongst books

amongst books

Sunday, July 01, 2012

small press bounty

the spring edition of the ottawa small press book fair fair wasn't packed but there was a reasonable number of people, given the crazy hot temps outside & the holidaze. I was impressed with the vendors, quite a few from outside Ottawa, including Kingston & Montreal.

I had the chance to speak to the folk from Siren Song, a small press out of Montreal that published Bill Brown's wonderful short story collection "When Jupiter's Aligned with Mars." We have in common a love of transgressive fiction. Their magazine "Loose Canon: Fiction that Flies Under the Radar" is being brought back to life after a few years' haitus. I purchased the 2nd issue, which contains some of my favourite literary transgressors: Matthew Firth, Salvatore Difalco & Joel Williams, among others. Hell knows we need more venues for short fuck-you fiction.
I noticed a lot of fiction being hawked at this  year's fair, particularly short fiction. Sean Moreland was at a table to sell Postscripts to Darkness 1 & 2, the 2nd having come out recently. I'm looking forward to reading the second volume, which features stories & illustrations by a few of my favs, including Dominik Parisien, Brenda Dunn & an interview by James K. Moran. & apparently Kevin Matthews had a hand in the design too. Ottawans are a talented bunch.

I picked up a wee chappie entitled "Stage Right in the afterlife" a satire in one act by Ian Truman. Truman was there with another person whose name I didn't catch. she had  beautiful illustrations.

I received another packed envelope from rob mclennan as part of my above/ground press subscription. the press has been on fire with chapbooks this year. this envelope contained "The stone-boat heart: letters to Andrew Suknaski" by rob mclennan (Apostrophe Press), "Richter-Rauzer Variations" by Robert Mannery, "from Lamentations" by Robert Hogg & two broadsides by Natalee Caple & Sarah Pinder. the above/ground press & Chaudiere Books tables were packed with goodness, most of which i already own. Christine McNair was there selling copies of her book, "Conflict." & lots of people flocked to her table to buy the book, which was great to see.
I was very excited to talk to Michael e. Casteels of Puddles of Sky Press out of Kingston. he had a bunch of very cool chapbooks. I purchased one of his concrete poetry titles "Cave Paintings of the 21st Century," which was beautifully made. PoSP's got a microzine of surreal & concrete poetry called lliterature & it's currently looking for submissions. He had some freebies, so I picked up his "Sunset/Sunrise & Landscape 3" & "Mouse, a poem."

Monty Reid was manning the Arc table along with Frances Boyle & Kevin Matthews. He handed me a freebie copy of his latest chapbook, "Garden (dec unit) from France's Corrupt Press.  This is another in the series on gardening. Apparently I'm all about the freebies, I picked up some of Arc's poetry postcards for my wall o poetry. & did you know Arc now publishes 3 issues a year? It's good to see Arc participte in so many local activities. It's quite a bustling concern these days.
The Buschek Books table (actually 2 tables) was smokin' hot with poetry titles for 5 bucks, some were even $2. I picked up Chus Patos trilogy translated by ErĂ­n Moure, mainly because I'd read Pearl Pirie's blog entry some ways back on the books & was intrigued. I also purchased Rachel Zolf's "Her absence, this wanderer" (1999). just flipping thru now & in pen on pages 58: "I WUZ HERE…kaput" & "Tammy loves Derek, July 11, 1977"…um…book graffiti. I'm enchanted by surprises of such. on a more serious note, I am always interested to see the evolution of a writer's work, so this early book by Zolf was a great find.

Speaking of Pearl Pirie, she had a table for her phafours press. I always like the way Pearl sets up her table: she puts something beneath a table cloth to give the table a bit of a platform to showcase the work & this year she used strawberry baskets to hold the chapbooks. Hurray for creativity unleashed. I picked up two wee chapbooks, beautifully folded pieces of paper: "Sprockets Away" by Pearl Pirie & "Late Plate" by Gwendolyn Guth. the covers were sweetly designed. here's the 411 on phafours' name, if yr wondering: "The phafours in phavours press is a play on favours (as in party favours, as the first few things I gave out as that including some paku paku) and Pha-4, the gene that somehow governs the development of the pharynx, sphincter and longevity."

At Room3o2 Books jwcurry was offering acetate posters of his Unwanted series, which he would then, spraypaint a poster of. (thanks, Christine for the correction; i had thought he would spraypaint directly on yr walls. wrongo). I did pick up 4 to the 4th (sorry I have no bleeding clue how to do superscripts in Ms. Weird.). This booklet was published by Score of San Freaking Cisco, which is pretty cool.

from Apt. 9 Press I picked up the much coveted broadside by Bardia Sinae, "Keys to the Idiot" beautifully produced with linocut by Cameron Anstee. Cameron who is always very generous with copies of chapbooks freebied me Claudia Coutu Radmore's chapbook, "Accidentals," which won last year's bpNichol Chapbook Award.

from the freebie table I wasn't shy to snag quite a few volumes, including "Headlight 5, an anthology of poetry & fiction from Concordia in Montreal, 2 issues of the Prairie Journal & an issue of West Coast Line.

the Bywords/AngelHousePress table made a wee bit less than we usually do, but we had fun, managed to stay for the whole fair before collapsing into a 9-hour sleepathon. I missed a few tables because of my timing when I did my table walkabout, but on the whole got to chat with most folk at one time or another. my wee AngelHousePrint imprint for ephemera, Le Temps des Cerises, was sort of launched at the fair this time round (even though I've given out a few chapbooks under the imprint already). People ate up the cherries & kindly accepted the editions of one that I created with acrylic paint, wool, glue, scrap odds & ends of St. Armand paper & words this past winter & spring. I had a basketfull at the start of the fair & by the end only two poems remained. I'll have to get my paints out & make a new batch for the fall fair.

Thanks to all who came out. & for those who missed, hope to see you in the autumn. it's fun to get a chance to talk about the subversive beauty of chapbooks. I love them.

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