Annual Holiday Card Printing Workshop & Pop-Up Shop 2018

holiday2018On Friday December 7, 1-3pm and Saturday Dec 8, 1-3pm—Stop by Morgan Hall on Wells Campus in beautiful Aurora-On-Cayuga, NY and print a letterpress Christmas or generic Seasonal Holiday card for Free. (Additional cards can be printed for only $1 a pop!) and/or shop at our pop-up shop for hand printed and blank books, letterpress greeting cards, limited edition posters, signed poetry broadsides, Wells College Press Logo Coffee Mugs! and even the new grey colored Wells Book Arts Baseball Caps. You can see a selection of some of the items we will have on hand at our online shop. All are welcome.

The Wells Book Arts Holiday Printing Workshop & Sale is part of the Christmas in Aurora event that runs throughout downtown Aurora on December 8, 2017. For more information on Christmas in Aurora, visit the Facebook Event Page

Wells College Press 2019 Chapbook Competition

Wells College Press invites submissions to its annual Poetry Chapbook Contest. The deadline for the competition is January 15, 2019. Contest closed.

Wells College Press is very pleased to announce that the winner of our 2019 Chapbook Contest is James D’Agostino for his manuscript, Play Attention

The author of the chosen manuscript will receive 10 copies of the letterpress printed, hand-sewn chapbook. The author will also be invited to read from their new chapbook at Wells College in the fall of 2019. The poet will receive a $1,000 honorarium + room and board for the reading.

We print editions of 150 signed and numbered copies. We craft every aspect of our chapbooks individually and obsessively: Prior chapbooks have included type and ornament cast in metal at the Bixler Letterfoundry in Skaneatles as well as wood engravings specifically commissioned for those projects. Our books also feature hand-set title pages and hand-sewn bindings. The winning chapbook will continue this tradition of craftsmanship.

Past winners include Janis Esch’s What Longing Is, Michael Jennings’ River Time, J.R. Tappenden’s Independent City, Annie Lighhart’s Lantern, and Bret Shepard’s Negative Compass

Submission Guidelines:

  • 18-30 manuscript pages (with no more than one poem per page)
  • Individual poems may have been published in periodicals, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. An acknowledgments page is optional (though it will be included in the final chapbook).
  • Co-authored manuscripts and translated manuscripts are welcome.
  • Close personal friends of the judge, as well as current or former students of the judge, are ineligible.
  • Multiple submissions are welcome, but each submission must be accompanied by a separate entry fee.
  • Please limit your identifying information to your cover letter; the manuscript itself must be anonymous, as the judging will be blind.

How to submit:

Preferred: Online via Submittable: https://wellscollegepress.submittable.com/submit

Or mail hard copies to:
Chapbook Contest
Wells Book Arts Center
Wells College
170 Main Street
Aurora, New York 13026.

Make checks for $20 payable to Wells College Press, with “WCPress entry fee” on the memo line.

Include an email address OR a SASE for notification of the results.

Optional: Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for acknowledgment of receipt.

The final judge of the 2018 WCP Poetry Chapbook Contest is Dan Rosenberg.

Dan Rosenberg is the author of The Crushing Organ (Dream Horse Press, 2012) and cadabra (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015). He has also written two chapbooks, A Thread of Hands (Tilt Press, 2010) and Thigh’s Hollow (Omnidawn, 2015), and he co-translated Miklavž Komelj’s Hippodrome (Zephyr Press, 2016). His work has won the American Poetry Journal Book Prize and the Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest. Rosenberg earned an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Ph.D. from The University of Georgia. He teaches literature and creative writing at Wells College.

E-mail with questions: bookartscenter@wells.edu

Open Studio Printing Event— PRINT YOUR VOICE!

Vote.jpgWednesday October 10th, 2018 2pm-5pm

1st Floor of the Wells Book Arts Center (Morgan Hall)

Come by the Wells Book Arts Center for a poster-printing event and make your own poster to promote civic engagement! Print one of our pre-formatted posters, or set your own message in type and customize your voice.

Register to vote! The last day to register in New York is October 12, in order to participate in the General Election on November 6, 2018.

This event is part of the Wells Democracy & Leadership Series, co-sponsored by the Political Science program, Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship and the Office of Student Activities and Leadership. This series brings students together with local, regional, national and international leaders to learn about their leadership path, examine the characteristics of successful leaders and share ways to take a leadership role in our democracy.

WBAC@25

The show celebrates both the Book Arts Center’s 25th anniversary and the College’s 150th anniversary

The Wells College Book Arts Center and String Room Gallery are pleased to announce the opening of  WBAC@25: An Exhibition of Book Arts from Victor Hammer Fellows.

The opening reception will be held Thursday, October 18th, 6:30 – 8:30pm, in the String Room Gallery in the College’s Main Building. Admission is free and open to the public.

The show, which will celebrate both the 25th anniversary of the Book Arts Center and Wells College’s 150th anniversary, will showcase the work of 11 artists who have held the position of “Victor Hammer Fellowship” and features artwork completed during their fellowship as well as more recent work.

Artists included in the show: Jocelynn Webb Pederson, Terrence Chouinard, Sarah Roberts, Margot Ecke, Rachel Wiecking, Sarah Bryant, Katie Baldwin, Laura Rowley, Jenna Rodriguez, Heather R. Buechler, and Leah Mackin.

The work presented features a wide scope of techniques and media ranging from traditional bookbinding, letterpress printing, and calligraphy to experimental forms which incorporate video and sculptural elements but all related to the field of “Book Arts.” Each of the artists who has been a Victor Hammer Fellow has continued in their creative careers building off of their time at Wells. This is the first time that this group has been assembled for exhibition.

Exhibit will run through November 30th, 2018

Wells Book Arts Summer Institute – Last Call!

sipostcardThe Wells Book Arts Summer Institute for 2018 will be our biggest year yet!—there is something for every skill level in the book and lettering arts from some of the most renowned practitioners in their fields.

A few spots have opened up so there is still space in 10 of our 12 classes! —Papermaking, printing, writing, marbling, calligraphy, book design!— All of the things that make the book into a work of art!
Classes run July 15-21st and/or July 22-28th

Staying on campus with meals and accommodations is a great way to immerse yourself in new skills and relax in the gorgeous Finger Lakes during the summer. For more information, visit our info page. Register soon as space is limited and we will be cutting off registrations as of July 1.

Introducing: The 11th Victor Hammer Fellow

The Wells Book Arts Center is pleased to announce the selection of our 11th Victor Hammer Fellow: Leah Mackin. The Victor Hammer Fellowship was established in 1998 and honors Victor Hammer, who taught at Wells in the 1940’s. An internationally known and respected printer, book designer, artist and typographer, Hammer is perhaps best known for designing the  typeface American Uncial. The two-year Hammer Fellowship brings emerging book artists to Wells to teach, help in the various projects of the Book Arts Center, and develop their art.

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Leah Mackin is a visual artist who explores themes of reflection, response, and re-creation. After years preserving archival materials as a conservation technician, Mackin utilizes the methods of library documentation and the aesthetics of research in her practice. She has received a number of awards, scholarships and honors, including an Archives Research Travel Fund grant from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (New York, NY), both a Fall Residency Award and a LeRoy Neiman Scholarship to attend the Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency (Saugatuck, MI), an Artist’s Book Residency Grant at the Women’s Studio Workshop (Rosendale, NY), and a solo show award as a Finalist in the The Print Center’s 90th Annual Competition (Philadelphia, PA). Mackin holds an MFA in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in Printmaking and Book Arts from The University of the Arts.

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

W+W_Postcard_Front.indd

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.

An Interview with Scholar in Residence: Marianne Dages

This interview was conducted for the Wells College Book Arts Center and String Room Gallery in support of Marianne Dages‘ exhibition, Objects of Unknown Use. The interview was released as No.2 in the In/Conversation: On-Language series from Oxblood Publishing, an independent publishing project founded by H.R. Buechler, the 2016-2018 Victor Hammer Fellow. 

First Reader – New Chapbook Release from Wells College Press

The latest release from Wells College Press is now available on our online shop

First Reader (An Homage to David Berman)
by Bruce Bennett
2017. 6″ x 9″ hand stitched paper wraps.
100 copies signed by the author and numbered
Each copy features a unique marbled paper by Nancy Gil who also hand set and printed the entire book on a Vandercook Proofing press.

First Reader chronicles one side of a decades-long shared friendship in poetry. David Berman and Bruce Bennett met in Archibald MacLeish’s legendary creative writing course English S at Harvard in the Fall of 1961, and were the first readers of each other’s poems until David passed away in June, 2017. Bruce has written of David and his work: “He was an exquisite and prolific formal poet, and an exacting critic, who was always in my mind when I wrote. He was also, always, a most loyal and generous friend.”

Here are some things that stood out for me about David. He read Latin for pleasure. With regard to certain areas of knowledge, he was among the most intellectually curious people I have known. His appetite for information, including arcane information, was insatiable. He was a gourmet and a connoisseur of wine and, perhaps especially, champagne, so one was indeed fortunate to share a meal with him – and “indeed” was among his favorite words. (“Memorable” was another, and was often applied to meals.) He knew the Bible, both Old and New Testament, practically by heart, and often mulled, discoursed on, and wrote about Biblical themes. If I had a question, any question at all, relating to religion or the Bible, I knew I could rely on David to answer it, and in considerable, and quite specific, detail.

He was an exquisite, and prolific, formal poet, who wrote poetry all his life, and was blessed to find his community, and indeed his spiritual and artistic home, among his fellow Powow River Poets, a distinguished group which meets monthly in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He was an exacting critic, who took the vocation of being a critic very seriously, and who was therefore, as a critic, knowledgeable, sharp, utterly discerning, and invariably just. (Which isn’t to say I always agreed with him, but that did not matter in the least. One doesn’t need to agree with a First Reader. One just needs to take another very close look.) He possessed, and reveled in exhibiting, an extraordinary, one could almost say Borgesian, memory, frequently dazzling others with instant recall of abstruse historical and other facts, dates, and, of course, details of the law, which was one gift that made him a world-class lawyer.

David was an extraordinarily private and reserved person. One always knew, or sensed, the boundaries, yet, when he was particularly amused by something, he would occasionally laugh uncontrollably, a laughing fit which was, needless to say, infectious to whomever he was sharing the joke with. Though I knew him for more than fifty-six years, in many ways he remained something of an enigma to me, but at all times a unique and precious enigma. Though I didn’t see him nearly as often as I would have liked to, and should have, during the last several years, he was constantly in my mind, — and always in my mind when I wrote, — as an abiding and cherished presence.

Finally, and I can say this simply, he was a most loyal and generous friend.

—Bruce Bennett 2017