J. Hope Stein on Poetry Crush

I tend to read poetry in 10-25 page increments in one sitting.  It's how I best digest the work of a poet. Similarly, in my own writing, I tend to think in 10-20 page increments. So, the length of a chapbook is my most natural unit of giving and receiving poetry.

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Joe Pan on Brooklyn Arts Press

Chapbooks are perfect introductions to a poet's work. You can get a sense very quickly of what a poet's about. When I decided to start producing chapbooks, I brought an editor & a cover artist to the Poets House in Manhattan. We sat on the floor among the stacks of chapbooks & passed these little books back & forth to each other—several hundred—trying to decide what we liked about the better designed ones.

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Mike Young on Magic Helicopter Press

Though I was never into comic books as a kid, I was into handmade zines and other staplebound ephemera. I actually think an ancestor of my interest in chapbooks was my teenage interest in the booklets that came with my music and PC game CDs. The good ones made the effort to pack in lyrics (CDs) or weird backstories (games), and the best ones recognized the opportunity for interesting design choices in the booklet itself.

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Stephanie Anderson on Projective Industries

The first chapbook I can remember seeing was Genya Turovskaya's Calendar (Ugly Duckling Presse), in 2003, at City Lights. I was alone upstairs, and I think I sat down on the floor and read it there in the bookstore.  I thought it was the most beautiful book I'd ever seen. But after that, my history with chapbooks begins in a desire for publication. In 2006, having seen very few examples of chapbooks, I submitted to and won the New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM chapbook contest. I had read and admired some of their first chapbooks—particularly Joshua Marie Wilkinson's A Ghost as King of the Rabbits and Rachel Moritz's The Winchester Monologues.

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Krystal Languell on Belladonna*

As a graduate student at NMSU and an intern at Noemi Press in 2009, I first learned about chapbooks through Noemi's publishing catalogue. On the floor of the Puerto del Sol office I stapled Sarah Veglahn's Closed Histories and Rebecca Bednarz's Camera Obscura. I discovered Belladonna* when Carmen Giménez Smith (publisher of Noemi and my MFA thesis advisor) assigned Lila Zemborain's full-length book Mauve Sea-Orchids, and Belladonna* sent me some chaplets as a bonus. Also around this time I found out (through 2009's AWP?) about Ugly Duckling Presse, and got Dodie Bellamy's Barf Manifesto.

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Adam Robinson on Publishing Genius

When I was in high school I was very interested in Christian heavy metal. There was a band called Rez, or "The Resurrection Band," very hippy, whose frontman published book of poems. I sent off for a copy—through the mail, I think, this was certainly pre-Internet— and when it came I was surprised to see it was made of paper, folded in half, with a thick cover and bound with twine. I thought, Hey, I could do that. 

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Brian Teare on Albion Books

To talk about my interest in chapbooks, I have to talk about my love of printing done on the letterpress, because I have always associated the two. When I was an undergraduate at the University of Alabama, there was a lot of fine letterpress work being done, though I didn't know until later it was because the library housed a rigorous and well-respected book arts program.

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Crane Giamo on Delete Press

I remember Jared Schickling showing me his collection of chapbooks and thinking "I love these, these are gritty." I remember having drinks with poet and publisher Brian Teare, looking through one of his handbound, letterpress printed books and thinking "this must have taken forever to build." I remember handling CJ Martin's Lo, Bittern, published by Michael Cross' Atticus Finch, and thinking "What the hell kind of material are these covers made out of?" But all that thinking was secondary and derivative. If a team of doctors could have have recorded the physiological changes in my body at each of these events they would have perceived an immediate increase in heart rate and blood pressure. My first reactions weren't intellectual, they were physical and animal. 

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Iris Cushing & Elizabeth Clark Wessel on Argos Books

I learned about chapbooks in high school, and was instantly taken with their DIY nature. When I was 17 or 18, my idea of a great Saturday night was hanging out at the 24-hour Kinko's, photocopying, collating and stapling little 'zines of my poems and collages to give to my friends.

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MC Hyland on DoubleCross Press

I've always loved poetry, and loved books as things—in high school, I used to hand-copy my favorite poems into little anthologies for myself and friends. I think I found artist's books and poetry broadsides first, and then chapbooks through them. 

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Friedrich Kerksieck on Small Fires

While I started my learning process taking a few classes in undergrad and working for the North American Review, which gave me a chance to read a really wide selection of journals including some like JubilatPavement Saw, andBlack Warrior Review which were guides for the poetry I wanted to keep looking for and reading.

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