Here are a couple of neat-looking publishing projects I’ve heard about recently. They are both taking submissions right now, so get on it!
REAEDR: “A magazine of one word poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.” I am a big fan of NewLights Press, and I can’t wait to see how this magazine turns out. They’re currently taking submissions for the first two issues. Submissions for Issue One (“WAR”) are due June 5th, and for Issue Two (“FUCK EM IF THEY CANT TAKE A JOKE”) on September 1.
LED (Literature Emitting Diodes): An LED display in a storefront window somewhere in Chicago, with a different poem or short prose piece every month. Sounds like a really fun project! The submission deadline is the fifth of every month.
In this session Greg Howard leads workshop on Writing-as-Collection, which will include reading from his work and strategies for writing-as-collection, with bonus exercises to complete before and during.
Gregory Howard teaches creative writing, contemporary literature, and film studies at the University of Maine. His first novel Hospice has just been released by FC2. He lives in Bangor, Maine with his wife and cats.
Spend a part of your day or week collecting objects. For our purposes here, let’s define objects broadly–not just literal objects like things you find on the street, in your room, in a friends room, but also perceptions, memories, ideas, sentences or lines from work. Basically collect anything that fascinates you are captures your fancy.
Now make a list. Be specific in your list. The fabric of your language is important here. Don’t just write “the photograph.” Write instead: “the photograph of the vacation in which the girl, who wearing a green one-piece swimsuit with golden fish on it, looks bored while being entertained by a street magician who looks malevolent and possibly drunk.” In other words, describe your objects well.
Write a short narrative based around your list (250 words). Use the actual language of your list.
~to be done during~
While I’m talking make a new list. What words or ideas strike you while I’m talking? What suddenly looks new or strange in the place that you are in? Look at your new list of objects. Why are they interesting? Why are they important? Who might find them fascinating? Write this story by connecting it to your previous narrative, the one you thought you had finished (surprise!), thus creating a newer longer narrative. How can you connect these two? How might they be “read together”? Try to keep the surprising and fragmentary nature of the pieced going. Don’t smooth things over. (another 100-200 words)
Letterpress printing is basically using a press to print raised type and images. Traditionally, this is done with movable type, a technology that started in the west with Gutenberg in the 1440s, and around 400 years earlier than that in China – each letter is a piece of metal or wood, arranged together to make words, sentences, paragraphs. Even the white space between words and lines has to be accounted for with a little piece of metal (slightly under type high*, so it won’t ink & print). In the late 19th Century, commercial printers and newspapers moved away from hand-set type to linotype, in which entire lines of type are cast from hot metal using a linotype machine – much faster than setting them letter by letter! It wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that newspapers moved from letterpress printing to offset lithography and digital typesetting.
We do most of our letterpress printing with hand-set type and linoleum cuts, but sometimes we’ll also take advantage the new high-tech letterpress method in wide use today of photopolymer plates – where a plastic plate is made from a computer file and then mounted on a base and printed on the press. We used polymer plates to print the covers of On the Stairs, for example.
There are different types of presses, but ours is a floor-standing platen press made by Shniedewind & Lee in Chicago in the 1880s. Before it came to us, it lived for thirty years or so in the back of a bookshop, and before that it belonged to a Baptist church where it was used to make programs and newsletters. Most of the metal type we have comes from that church, too. At some point in its lifetime, the press was hooked up to a motor, probably in a situation something like this one, with several presses connected to a motor by belts going up to the ceiling:
We don’t have a motor for our press – instead we use a treadle to power it by foot, which is a great workout, and probably makes us really good at biking or kicking. When a design calls for more than one color, the colors have to be printed one at a time, the press cleaned off and re-inked for each new color, and the paper fed through again, by hand. It’s a slow process, and meticulous, but I find it totally addicting & wonderful, a tactile expression of something abstract as language, thought, poetry.
Let me know if you have any questions & I’ll do my best to answer them. I love learning & talking about letterpress! Also check out the following websites for lots more information:
Facts and Fantasies from Around the (Other) World
Some kids, some ladies, some purposeful lurkers and a very special guest bring you cold, hard facts and pure raucous chimeras from this realm and others.
The third installment of our Distance Learning series live on Youtube on April 14, 2015: