Alphabet of Sorts is a collaboration between Starshaped press in Chicago and Wells College Press here in Aurora-On-Cayuga NY. The Alphabet of Sorts book is now printed and binding has begun! If you have been following along on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen various stages of the design and printing by Starshaped Press. The Sharshaped blog has been keeping the public up-to-date on progress, and you can see much more there. We have been taking pre-orders and still are until March 1st, at which time the price will be regular list price of $150. The book is a limited numbered and signed edition of 100 and is already more than half sold out! This is an exciting project and we will bring you images of the binding in progress and news of a special visit by Jennifer Farrell of Starshaped Press later this month.
Wells College Press recently released River Time, the 2nd chapbook of the series featuring Poetry on Place. What Longing Is by Janis Esch was the 1st chapbook. River Time, By Michael Jennings was designed and letterpress printed by Michael and Winnie Bixler, Nancy Gil, Richard Kegler, and Jenna Rodriguez.
Larry D. Thomas, member of Texas Institute of Letters wrote the foreword for River Time stating, I first became acquainted with the poetry of Michael Jennings when he graciously gifted me with a copy of his Bone-Songs and Sanctuaries: New and Selected Poems. I found the book a haunting evocation of “place,” of “places” indistinguishable from the human beings, flora, and fauna dependent upon them for their very existence. I found a poet of consummate artistry; a poet who knew early in his career that a “sense of place” was an effective tool for making manifest the universal human quest for finding meaning in existence and expression for the painful, inevitable yearning inherent in that existence.
In River Time, Jennings succeeds once again in conveying to his reader the relevance not only of “place” in a literal sense but of “place” as a realm of spiritual, historical, and cultural realization and fulfillment. Beginning his journey in the East Texas of his early childhood where he “keeps seeing a muddy, sometimes sun-baked road,” he travels to Bandera, as close to “the leathery heart of Texas” as he would get, and on to the Alamo in San Antonio where he ponders not only the mythological status of “heroes” many Texans revere but also their seldom referenced and more historically accurate status as “thieves of territory.” Later poems transport the reader to the southwestern deserts of Iran and the author’s current home in Upstate New York.
The long and masterfully executed poem near the end of the collection, “Winter Light,” demonstrates, in phrase after phrase, Jennings’s uncanny ability to render the essence of “place” with unforgettable power and precision. He writes of “pale winter light, listening”; of “the sky sluicing down into slumbrous bodies”; of “blood-soaked stone aching to be light”; and “the dark of sparks and fireflies.” The reader will return to the remarkable poems of this collection time and time again: for the sheer beauty of language, for reflection, and for what it means to be a human being in a transitory, terror-filled, yet exquisitely beautiful world.
View the gallery of images to see the process of the book being created from beginning to end. If you would like to purchase a copy of your own visit Wells College Press Store
The Paper-Making House is underway. Before Thanksgiving break visiting artist April Sheridan gave a lecture on her experience with creating a sustainable papermaker’s garden at Columbia. April is the Studio and Project Coordinator at the Center for Book & Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago. Students and faculty from a variety of disciplines showed up for the lecture and they all participated in planting our first bulbs! We can’t wait to see the transformation from bulbs, to plants, to pulp, to paper. Stay tuned for updates in the Spring.
Wells College Press and Starshaped Press are co-publishing a limited edition alphabet book. Each letter is made up of printers’ ornaments composed by hand and letterpress printed from metal at Starshaped Press in Chicago. Wells College Press will be doing all of the binding. The design and lock up of tiny ornaments for every letter in the alphabet is unimaginable but Starshaped Press has made it happen. The results are absolutely beautiful. This is a book that everyone will appreciate. Expect to receive your copy around Spring 2015. To pre-order now click here. The images below will help you understand the work that has gone into this project. To the left is a print of the prospectus and to the right is the metal type lock up used to print the prospectus. (A human did all of this with their two hands) A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Reserve a copy today before they sell out!
The past two weeks the Book Arts Center and the English Department have been collaborating to produce a broadside for the Visiting Writing Series here at Wells College. The Visiting Writer is Kevin Gonzalez who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He will be doing a reading on Thursday, November 6th at 7pm in the Art Exhibit Room in Macmillan Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
The text was letterpress printed and the image was “hand-rolled.” We went to the opposite side of traditional printing to create the image. We used a tire from a vehicle to print the border long the left side. Thanks to Dan (English Professor) for picking it up on the side of Route 90. We will have the broadsides for sale at the reading next Thursday. Hope to see you there. Here are a few pictures of the printing process of the broadside.
Just Who Is Richard Kegler And What Is He Doing At Wells Book Arts Center?
If you are in the Central NY area you can Find out this Thursday at the 38th Susan Garretson Swartzburg ’60 Book Arts Lecture. The lecture is at 5 pm in Stratton Hall Auditorium (rm 209) at Wells College. This is event is free and open to the public so bring all your friends!
Self-taught artist Kore Loy stopped by the book arts center to share her work and experiences with the bookbinding and calligraphy students. Loy from North Carolina is a poet, letterpress printer, and an intaglio printer. She creates many layers and goes through many stages before a piece becomes complete. She showed the students a portfolio of 13 prints and poems all contained in a handmade clamshell box.