Bret Shepard—2018 Chapbook Contest Winner

Bret Shepard PhotoWells College Press is very pleased to announce that the winner of our 2018 Chapbook Contest is Bret Shepard for his manuscript, Compass for Hands. His prize includes 15 copies of the letterpress-printed chapbook. He will also read at Wells College in Aurora, NY and receive a $1,000 honorarium plus room and board. In the tradition of the Wells College Press, his chapbook will be crafted obsessively, with hand-set title pages and hand-sewn bindings. It will be published in an edition of 150 signed and numbered copies.

After living in Alaska and California, Bret Shepard completed his PhD at the University of Nebraska. Currently, he lives in Tacoma, Washington and teaches at Green River College. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Western Humanities Review, and elsewhere. He co-edits Dikembe Press, publisher of poetry chapbooks.

This year’s finalists are:
Permit the Sculptural Values to Surface by Christine Scanlon
Exhausted by the Rest by Max Schleicher
Umbra Season by William Cordiero
Back to the Deepening Well by Kim Lozano
The Improper Use of Plates by Angelo Maneage

This year’s semifinialists are:
Arguments for the Pit by Christopher Adamson
Other Gods by Regina O’Melveny
Ways to Identify a Witch by Hannah Warren
Heartbroke and Lucky by Jane Terrell
Honey and Ash by Aimee Penna

This year also marks the inaugural Bennett Prize, given to a single outstanding poem from among the finalist manuscripts. The winner is “Praise the Bird” by Kim Lozano, which will appear in a limited-edition broadside in Fall 2018. This prize is named in honor of Bruce Bennett, Professor Emeritus of English and former Director of the Book Arts Center at Wells College.

There were approximately 375 entries to this year’s chapbook competition, and the readers and final judge were all overwhelmed by the tremendous quality of the submissions. Ultimately, Bret Shepard’s Compass for Hands stood out. One reader responded by calling it “a remarkable collection. Haunting, evocative, mysterious, and authoritative.” The contest judge, Dan Rosenberg, agreed, describing the poems as “taut, rich, surprisingly clear, and riddled with wisdom—or a longing for it.” We are thrilled to be publishing this outstanding collection of poems.

W+W = HR

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Wells College Presents Solo Exhibition by Victor Hammer Book Arts Fellow H.R. Buechler

The Wells College String Room Gallery is pleased to present W+W / Wires + Waves, a solo exhibition by interdisciplinary artist and Victor Hammer Book Arts Fellow H.R. Buechler.  The Gallery invites all to join the artist for an opening reception on Thursday, March 22 from 6:00-8:00pm. She will publicly discuss her work when presenting the 45th Annual Susan Garretson Swartzburg 60’ Memorial Book Arts Lecture on April 19th at 5:30pm in the College’s Stratton Hall, Room 209. The exhibition will remain on view until April 26.

The exhibition and lecture mark the culmination of Buechler’s two-year fellowship with the Wells College Book Arts Center, during which time she taught throughout the Book Arts curriculum, hosted visiting artist Marianne Dages, and maintained a productive creative practice. The Victor Hammer Fellowship was established in 1998 to bring emerging book artists to the Wells Book Arts Center for a two-year teaching and production residency.

W+W / Wires + Waves is a multimedia exhibition featuring a collection of recent works created between 2016-2018. Included are “Session 1 & 2” from Buechler’s on-going durational video performance series, a 26-foot long modular letterpress installation, two large letterpress and inkjet-printed pieces that will undergo transformation over the duration of the exhibition, and an immersive installation of audio, artist’s book, and textiles produced in collaboration with artist Erica Hess. As part of her exhibition and in testament to her role as an educator, Buechler will later add a video collaboratively produced by the students currently enrolled in her “Collaborative Book” class.

Through this range of reproductive media, understood as acts of translation, Buechler addresses a variety of concerns regarding our relationship with historic and contemporary communication systems, the dis/functionality of language, and loss as both an ephemeral and material phenomenon. Each piece in W+W explores what is lost and gained in the intellectual and physical processes of translation, and attempts to quantify—materialize—the gap/the space/the void between each medial transaction by exposing translational errors. These errors, which Buechler reads as “miscommunication”—information lost, but also gained—augments the final message materialized in the works throughout the exhibition.