Members In Print: Check Out Chapbooks
July 16, 2010
I recently had my work published in a chapbook.
If you are not familiar with this term and format, a chapbook offers an individual artist exposure and connection to a genre that transcends media boundaries. Poets have long recognized the chapbook format as a way of introducing new work to readers. To add some historical background, Wikipedia has this to say:
“The term chap-book was formalized by bibliophiles of the 19th century, as a variety of ephemera (disposable printed material), popular or folk literature. It includes many kinds of printed material such as pamphlets, political and religious tracts, nursery rhymes, poetry, folk tales, children’s literature and almanacs…The term is derived from chapmen, a variety of peddler, who circulated such literature as part of their stock.”
Contemporary chapbooks take many forms. My recent experience arose from an interest in the idea of visual poetry–a term I thought I’d coined. A quick search on Google proved that loads of other artists were out there exploring the collective unconscious using this as a tag! References to visual poetry were everywhere.
I was drawn specifically to thisisvisualpoetry.com. Owner, director and guide Dan Waber writes, “Having solved all of the other problems in the world, I set myself to the last remaining task of importance: affordable short run color printing so that visual poetry can achieve the audience it deserves.”
His site’s tagline is “answering the question [What is visual poetry?] one full-color chapbook at a time“. The long-range goal of this project is “to publish the largest catalog of visual poetry in print.”
And what a rich, delicious bunch of stuff he’s printed, as he attempts to achieve his goal. His collection includes a broad swath of ages and approaches and is elegant in its worldview.
Submissions are encouraged. I am thrilled to be a recent addition to the collection, and I’ve written about the experience on my blog. (existentialneighborhood.blogspot.com)
Check out thisisvisualpoetry.com and consider submitting. But don’t stop there. The chapbook phenomenon puts art in the hands of anyone with a vision and a printer. Join in!