20 November 2009

Starnino wins the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry

Gaspereau Press is pleased to announce that Carmine Starnino’s poetry collection, This Way Out has won the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry.

The A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry is sponsored by Jacques Nolin and awarded by the Quebec Writers’ Federation. The prize is granted each year to an English-language poet residing in the province of Quebec. The award was presented at the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s Awards Gala on November 17, 2009, at the Lion D’or, Montreal.

Carmine Starnino’s latest collection of poems, This Way Out, is full of lyrical escapes, exits and embarkations that set out to measure degrees of belonging and proximity to being at home. With his close attention to sound and ease of comparison, Starnino tries on voices and costumes for size, revisiting his childhood stomping grounds and current neighbourhood bars, reliving teenage haircuts and marvelling at the skill of the local butcher. Counterbalancing his own search for place, Starnino delights in locating in other people and favourite objects their aptitude for simply being themselves.

Carmine Starnino is a poet, essayist, critic and editor of Signal Editions, the poetry imprint at Véhicule Press. His collection, With English Subtitles (GP, 2004), won the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry and the 2006 Bressani Prize. This Way Out was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2009. Starnino lives in Montreal.

15 November 2009

Wikipedia: Martha saved Letterpress

I got an email this weekend from my buddy Peter Koch, letterpress printer and cultural buckaroo extraordinaire, based in Berkeley, California. Peter directed me to the Wikipedia entry for “Letterpress Printing,” specifically the subsection entitled “The letterpress revival since the 1990s.” The entry says:

Letterpress publishing has recently undergone a revival in the USA, Canada, and the UK, under the general banner of the ‘Small Press Movement’. Interest in Letterpress was fueled initially by Martha Stewart. The use of wedding invitations in her magazine Martha Stewart Weddings, was the first to use pictures of Letterpress invitations in their images. The beauty and texture became appealing to brides who began wanting Letterpress invitations instead of traditional engraved invitations. […] Popular presses are, in particular, Vandercook cylinder proof presses and Chandler & Price platen presses. In the UK there is particular affection for the Halifax, built by Arabs.

Needless to say, I was interested to discover that convicted felon and home decorator Martha Stewart was in fact responsible for ‘fueling’ the revival of letterpress printing. Here I had thought that it had something to do with all the incredible letterpress printers operating round the world (like those, for example, who are involved with the Fine Press Book Association). I also have no idea what a Halifax press looks like, or who these crafty Arabs are who manufacture it. Perhaps Martha can enlighten us in an upcoming issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, a must-read publication for anyone in the letterpress avant-garde.

So in tribute to Martha’s outstanding contribution to letterpress, and Wikipedia's endless potential for jawdropping insipidness, I’m posting one of Peter Koch’s great ephemeral pieces below. Keep your presses rolling, Peter. Some day you may make a contribution equal to Martha's.


12 November 2009

When Winter Fringes Every Bough

Winter’s around the corner, so I took a little time out from a demanding week to print a little broadside of one of Henry Thoreau’s poems on leftover ends of some green St. Armand handmade paper we had kicking around. When you’re tired out and working too fast, slipping a little joyful play between other responsibilities, obvious blunders sometimes slips past you unnoticed – until you’re home by the wood stove, that is. I snorted when I saw the kerning problem between the A and V in ‘David’. You could drive a bus through that gap! Well, whatever. Henry won’t mind. The poem is “When Winter Fringes Every Bough” and you can find a version of it online at the web site of the Walden Woods Project (which is a very worthwhile project, indeed).

Speaking of Thoreau, Gary Dunfield made the first 50 sheets of handmade paper for the jackets of our long-overdue letterpress edition of Thoreau’s essay Walking. We hope to have some copies of the paperback version in circulation before Christmas (given that the title pages state that it was published in 2008).


10 November 2009

John Terpstra

Two weeks ago, John Terpstra launched his new book, Skin Boat: Acts of Faith & Other Navigations at the St. Thomas Anglican Church in Toronto.

John will be reading at Gulliver's Quality Books & Toys in North Bay, Ontario on Friday, November 13th at 7:30 pm and at the Landon Branch of the London Public Library in London, Ontario on November 18th at 7:30 pm.

06 November 2009

Editing 'Through Darkling Air'

After the excitement of wayzgoose, everyone settles back to work at the press. As well as the usual run of commercial typesetting, printing and whatnot that occupies a portion of every week, I’ve spent a good portion of this one making corrections on Peter Sanger’s epic book on the poet Richard Outram (1930–2005), Through Darkling Air: The Poetry of Richard Outram. As well as publishing collections of verse with, among others, MacMillan, The Porcupine’s Quill and Aliquando Press, Outram and his wife, the artist Barbara Howard, produced broadsheets and limited edition books under their Gauntlet Press imprint. You can find out more about the Gauntlet Press and see examples of their work by visiting the excellent online archive hosted by Memorial University of Newfoundland at the link below:


A 512-page casebound book including an index and 48 pages of photographs and illustrations, Through Darkling Air promises to be one of the most ambitious trade publications Gaspereau Press has ever undertaken. It fits both within the oeuvre of Peter Sanger’s works of belles lettres (Spar and White Salt Mountain) and Gaspereau’s series of works on major figures in the Book Arts in Canada (launched with autobiographies by Wesley Bates and Jim Rimmer last year).

The book is slated for release in April 2010, in all likelihood with a launch at one of Outram's old Toronto haunts. That is, if I can ever finish getting these pages and pages of corrections and changes entered! Sometime readers fail to realize the amount of work that goes into preparing a text for press, the many rounds of editing, revising, and proofing. On a complex book it can be exhausting for author and editor alike. Sometimes it feels like a long carry between two distant lakes. But these issolated lakes always reward the effort it takes to reach them.