A quick shoutout to the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN. They’re a nonprofit that supports traditional crafts and skills and I was able to take their celestial navigation course earlier this month with the help of a scholarship. I just found the photo of me (above) in their new winter course catalog (I’m holding a sextant to practice taking sights of the sun). And here are some pictures of Lake Superior from near the North House:
Small Letters Press (a collaboration with Marika Josephson) is finally up and running, including an online shop for our projects. Marika’s “The Aromatic Wild Herbs and Spices of the Midwest” has already sold out its first edition of 250–but we’re considering a second run and will stay in touch.
What is Small Letters Press?
Small Letters Press is an independent publisher of literary writing, curated, edited, and assembled by hand by Rachel Linn and Marika Josephson. Our projects are carefully designed to amplify meaning through the formal qualities of the work: illustrations, book layout and construction, or the printing process. Each work is a small world unto itself, an intimate message from the author to the reader.
We publish innovative short poems and prose, as well as philosophical and cultural commentary. We are not currently accepting submissions.
The Brut is a 16,069-line mythical history of England translated and revised from Latin and French nearly one thousand years ago by someone named Layamon. There are two surviving handwritten copies of the Brut poem–one severely damaged by fire. Like most stories, the Brut is highly unstable and there is no true original. In this edition, two scenes from Frederic Madden’s 1847 transcriptions of the manuscripts appear alongside a modern translation. A lot can happen in 16,096 lines. There is room for recurrence–for a hero to become a scather and to be scathed in return. These fragments reveal the poem’s echoing violence and the moral complexity of King Arthur.
RECTO: Arthur and his knights hear report of a brutal killer. Shortly after, they dismember him.
VERSO: Arthur dreams about the violent end of his reign. Most of his dreams come true.
I created a modern translation of these sections of the poem and then printed them on a Vandercook press. The following images are sort of like a time-lapse of my project:
Due to the snow flurries in St. Louis this morning, I rode the bus (#70) instead of my bike and finally saw my poem!
Meekling Press is raising money for their next year or so of book releases (including mine, Household Tales). Please preorder books or just send them some $$ so that they can keep doing what they do: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/meekling-press-2019-2020-season–2/#/
Marika Josephson and I are working on our Small Letters Press site and will have our most recent collaborative project up for sale soon.
We’ve created two anthologies of writing by women:
From well-known authors whose greater body of work or poetry have disappeared, to women who were prolific in their day but are virtually unknown today, to those whose work simply never became part of the literary canon. These first two thematic collections gather poetry and short prose from half a dozen writers from the nineteenth century and earlier, whose work when seen together creates a rich dialogue of ideas.
- Part 1: https://www.stlmag.com/culture/small-press-big-goals/
- Part 2: https://www.stlmag.com/culture/st-louis-small-press-expo-returns-to-central-library-this-sa/
Speaking of which, around 1,200 attended the St. Louis Small Press Expo this year – thanks to everyone who made it possible!
My tiny portable press is on loan to the St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library for a hands-on activity I helped develop for their current exhibit, Print to Pixels: How Words Changed the World (on display through June 2nd).
Library patrons can print their own ex libris bookplates using polymer letterpress plates created by Boxcar Press (based on original metal plates designed by Jacob Elshin). Thanks to the librarians for being more than willing to learn how to use the press and make space/time for this activity – and to my dad for finding the Elshin plates in the first place.
Just came across one of my St. Louis Arts in Transit posters (on Market Street between 22nd and Jefferson) – now it feels real!