Poetry Chapbook Launch- Abe Louise Young's "Heaven to Me": March 5
Chapbook release party!
Heaven to Me
by Abe Louise Young
24 pages of queer poetics*
Come celebrate, hear poems, enjoy drinks and treats and temporary tattoos. There's the possibility of an exquisite corpse game and surprise performances from notorious poets.
Q: Hey, what's a chapbook? Austin poet E Kristin Anderson to explains this form on her blog:
A: "As a poet and chapbook author, I get this question a lot. AND, since chapbooks are an important part of poetry publishing — both in terms of what we consume as readers and what propels us forward as career poets — any poet with publishing aspirations should know about them!
The Short Version
A chapbook, sometimes referred to as a pamphlet, is like a mini collection of poetry. Usually between fifteen to thirty pages, these are like little samplers of a poet’s work. Usually chapbooks are pretty cheap, between $6 and $12, which also makes them super fun and easy to collect for readers.
Chapbooks were popularized in Europe in the 16th century, and were mostly produced for consumption by folks who might not otherwise be able to buy books. They were made on the cheap and weren’t always pretty, but that worked out, since, back in the day, they were often discarded and repurposed after reading... within the last hundred years, they’ve popped up again, primarily in poetry circles, but also as a venue for short prose.
Often chapbooks work within a theme. Because they are short, there has to be a feeling that the poems are somehow interconnected, even more so than in a full-length collection. Threads that connect poems in a chapbook could be anything from a specific topic (like current events, mythology, or pop culture) to a poetic method (using a fixed form for each poem, found poetry from a specific source text, or some other challenge) to personal poems that tell a story.
Why Do They Look Kinda Funky Sometimes?
Sticking to historical tradition, there’s a DIY ethic (much like with modern zines) that’s popular in the chapbook world. Many chapbooks you find in stores or at readings are still hand-made, often silkscreened or hand-bound with needle and thread. Sometimes you can see where the publisher has cut the paper just slightly off, and stapled the books together with love. Sometimes unique bookbinding and printing techniques are used that you couldn’t use for mass-produced books.
Of course, there are chapbooks that are perfect bound (where the spine is flat, rather than stapled or stitched, which is called saddle stitch) on “regular” paper, using contemporary methods. One style isn’t necessarily better than the other, they’re both totally legit. It’s also worth noting that the DIY nature of chapbooks makes them an easy and accessible way for poets to self-publish work, which they can then distribute and sell at readings.
(read more about it at http://www.ekristinanderson.com/?p=12263)