I’m taking a class right now in letterpress printing. Beginning with the idea of the poetry cards I made for the SEAF event, I want to push that idea harder to create something like a “front” and “back” page of a “book.” The idea is to create something akin to the old 45 record, where there’s a single song on the A side and a single song on the B side.
As an unpublished writer who focuses in poetry, I don’t carry my “slim volumes” around to share of sell. Who the hell buys chapbooks anyways, much less actually reads the poems in damn books? I think I know four people and they all write the stuff – and I’m one of the four. However, at SEAF, I found people were fine with just selecting a single poem that they liked. The card seems to have made the poetry much more accessible. All my cards – and there were over 110 – got picked up except for two or three copies of Miami, 1964.
I’m intrigued by the idea of being able to share small doses, single servings, if you will of poems. And while the cards on photostock are all fine and good – and I could get them printed professionally at 25c a card, that’s just not interesting enough. So, I’ve decided to combine one ridiculous art form with a near obsolete technology for a culminating act of a folio of follies. I’ll probably be lucky to get a single front page out of this class. Setting the type letter by letter means those letters are held together in their line by compression. I’ve spent more time cleaning up my spilled letters.
The letterpress printing set up is an enjoyable, if tedious exercise in construction. What I’d originally created for the first business cards will not work. So, this is making me re-engineer my design and my design ideas. And if I take this from a single-sided card idea to a two sided one… nah… setting the type – letter by letter – where each letter and each space is held together only by compression, I’d have to make a payday for that doubling of work. Which means I’ll be figuring out how to finish the back.
Why bother with all this you might ask? What else does one do between being born and being dead except fill the time with folies. Who knows how it will all turn out. I don’t.