22 June 2010

Useful Shelves

Whenever we take on a student intern (which is not that often), I always suggest that they read Richard Kennedy’s memoir A Boy at the Hogarth Press (1972). In the memoir, Kennedy recounts, before heading off to intern with Leonard and Virginia Woolf, his uncle’s story about a successful intern in his architectural firm: “[He] never lost a plan, he replenishes stocks of drawing materials, and he put up Useful Shelves.” I have to say that I am yet to have hosted an intern who has erected Useful Shelves, but we have have had a number of exceptional people move through our doors over the years.

Since January, Gaspereau’s been hosting Laura MacDonald, an intern who studied book publishing at Humber College in Toronto. It seems Gaspereau Press came up in one of her classes, and she was hooked. Technically speaking, her internship ended months ago, but she’s been hanging around the printshop, finishing up her letterpress project and picking up some paid work in the bindery (as well as playing crib with Gary at lunch break). Interns be warned: a job in literary publishing ruins you for normal work.

Laura’s letterpress project is a chapbook of poetry which she designed and hand set in 18 point Bembo. It was printed on a Vandercook proof press.

She’s also been learning how to make paper by hand. These sheets will be used for the cover of her book jacket.

Not to give you the wrong impression, I should add that most of Laura’s time here has involved running paper cutters, folders, binders and other production equipment, helping us to produce our trade books. But we also made sure that she’s had some time to muck about and learn some of the rudiments of the traditional book arts, at least the little we know about them here.


Speaking of people moving through our doors, Emily Leeson is leaving the press at the end of June in order to pursue other interests. Emily started with the press in the fall of 2008 and her energy and enthusiasm have been a great asset in the promotion of the press’s authors and their books. We are presently considering our options with regards to this vacancy, and may in fact take this opportunity to reconfigure the position altogether. In the meantime, all promotional queries may be directed to Gary Dunfield or myself.


15 June 2010


The Gaspereau Press blog has been silent as of late thanks in part to the untimely death of my camera, but also due to my partial distraction. In short, my wife and I sold our house and moved our family into a tent for the summer while we build an off-the-grid house in the woods. Our perpetual shorthandedness at the press doesn’t really allow for a summer-long disappearance on my part to build said house, so I’ve been essentially burning the candle on both ends. Blogging seems to have been a casualty of this, but I’ll see what I can do to reinstate the Gaspereau Press blog as a part of my week. Much is, after all, afoot!

Even on the construction site, I see grids and letters.

Speaking of grids, letters, and buildings, I’ve been madly working away designing a book by architect John Leroux and photographer Thaddeus Holownia on the architecture of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Combining text and images in a way that looks seemless is always a tricky thing, but rewarding when it falls into place. John and I have also been collaborating on maps which help the reader should they wish to use the publication like a guidebook. As well as being a Gaspereau Press publication, the book is a fundraiser for the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. There will be a launch in St. Andrews on July 17, so, umm, I better quit this and get back to work.

Also on my desk at the moment is the next North American issue of the fine press journal, Parenthesis, published by the Fine Press Book Association. I’m typesetting it in a pre-release version of Vancouver-based Tiro Typeworks’ new pan-American type, Huronia, designed by W. Ross Mills. I’m liking Huronia very much. Ross, Like Rod McDonald, knows how to design a type that stands up to a range of applications. It’s got, well, tensile strength and character. You can see samples and read more about Huronia at the Tiro Typeworks web page. This is the third issue of Parenthesis to be produced at Gaspereau Press. (Every alternate issue is produced in the UK.) Magazines are a whole different kettle of fish than books, and I always look forward to doing this project for that reason. For one thing, it's chop full of wonderful colour images.

Dump it in, sort it out. How will all this fit on a spread!?

Novels by Norman Ravvin and Bruce Johnson are simmering away in the editing process and soon to be typeset, as is an astonishing book by Tim Bowling about book collecting and mid-life. We’re also up to our necks in setting and proofing a new edition of Jan Zwicky’s epic Lyric Philosophy, and designing missing anglo-saxon glyphs to set a bilingual edition of Old English poems translated by Christopher Patton. Did I mention that we’re also releasing a Gaspereau edition of George Elliott Clarke’s classic Whylah Falls?

Soooo ... it’s busy. Especially if you’re also trying to wrap your head around the 2010 changes to the building code.


01 June 2010

Review: The Annotated Bee and Me

Tim Bowling's new collection of poetry, The Annotated Bee and Me, was recently reviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press.

Reviewer Jennifer Still called the book, "a quirky, shimmering, stingingly sharp work of lyric wonder." Click here to read the full review.