12 July 2011

Chapbook Market buys, poems got walked

Back now from a very busy, very productive five days in Toronto. One of the highlights was Saturday's Meet the Presses SCREAMING Chapbook Market at Clinton's Tavern. I think this was likely the first all-chapbook market in Canadian history! And it was a great time. Attendance was pretty good — I'd estimate about 100 people came through. We could have done a better job with signage out front, though: we need to get a proper sandwich board to put on the sidewalk and on the morning of the market poster all along Bloor Street with "TODAY!" signage. We did a pretty good job, though, with pre-day publicity: Tweeting, FBing, emailing, blogging, and postering.

By the middle of the afternoon, Clinton's was teeming shoppers, and the 18 participating presses made for one of the most exciting assortments of small press stuff I've ever seen. The difference between this event and the regular Indie Literary Market we've put on in the past, is that there was pretty much zero stuff here that could be found in a bookstore.

I wish I could have bought something from every table there, but I still managed to get some very exciting material:

over my dead corpus, by Pearl Pirie

APT. 9 PRESS (Ottawa)
Exit Interviews, by Jim Smith

BOOKTHUG (Toronto)
Form, by Mark Truscott
Ten Random Poems from Demtened, by Jay MillAr

YesNo, by Beth Follett

Swing Rhythms, by Nicholas Power

Abraxia, by Graeme Clarke
Expense Account, by Caroline Szpak
Where Punknames Come From, by Martin Hazelbower

Set a Compass upon the Face of the Depth, by Carleton Wilson

The Saxophonists' Book of the Dead, by Gary Barwin
what happened was: he flew, by Ally Fleming

The Morning Light, by Jason Heroux
The Really Funny Thing about Apathy, by Chelsea Martin
Rumble Strip, by Jason Tandon
What to Tell the Sleeping Babies, by MRB Chelko

Stowaway, by Carey Toane

Cameron Amstee of Apt. 9 Press did a small second printing of 10 copies of my I Have Come to Talk About Manners, and I think those pretty much sold out. And, of course, I think any new Jim Smith title is a huge thing to celebrate in this country's literature, so kudos to Cameron for Exit Interviews.

It was very exciting that Gary Barwin, after 25 years of self-publishing through his Serif of Nottingham Imprint, chose Ally Fleming's fabulous work to publish as his first-ever non–Gary Barwin title.

Horse of Operation is one of the best publisher names I've ever heard, and their small collective creates very eclectically designed publications: from punky and messy to tidy and classy.

It was a thrill to see the work of Sunnyoutside, David McNamara's press out of Buffalo, and he too is eclectic: amazing that the same press puts out work by Jason Heroux and Chelsea Martin!

I released two new publications for the occasion: Ladies & Gentlemen, the Solar System, a short story by me, and Teeth, Untucked, the first poetry chapbook by Nicholas Papaxanthos, who is a crazily talented, very young writer who I met during my residency in Kingston this past fall.

Definitely looking forward to another chapbook market sometime in the future. For the moment, we at the Meet the Presses are just beginning to cook up something else new for the fall.

Had pretty much a full house for my Walking the Poem workshop in the Mansfield Press office on Sunday. This was a full-day version of a three-hour workshop I ran in Cobourg a couple months back. Sunday's session took an awful lot of stamina — the big challenge was pacing things, because it was as intense as it was fun. I seem to have great luck with the makeup of my groups, and this one was no exception. Everyone read at least a few pieces over the course of the day, and no one was without some really exciting moments in their work. By the end of the day, it felt like we'd been working together for months, the chemistry was so good in the room.

A couple of people suggested a two-day workshop would be in order. So I'm working on this idea. Wondering, though, if I could get enough people willing to pay, say, $150 for a full weekend. It'd be an amazing workout, and we could accomplish so much. Details of the two-day to come.

Over and out.


At July 12, 2011 4:23 pm , Anonymous Carolyn Smart said...

I am particularly excited to read about Nick Papaxanthos's chapbook, Stuart!

At July 12, 2011 9:49 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Smith would sign up for the two-day workshop in a flash!


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