Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Red Dragonfly Press

For those of you looking to get your fine-press fix, check out Scott King's handiwork at Red Dragonfly Press. Scott casts his own type at an on-site foundry, sets all of Red Dragonfly's letterpress titles, and showcases literature in the way it's meant to be seen. What's striking about Red Dragonfly, and what sets them apart from most high-end printers, is the shocking affordability of their titles. Where else can you buy a hand-made, hand-set book for a mere $15?

Among the Red Dragonfly roster: John Balaban, Marianne Boruch, Stephen Crane, Abderrahmane Djelfaoui, Louise Erdrich, Albert Goldbarth, Dorianne Laux, Barry Lopez, W. S. Merwin, Yannis Ritsos, and Michael Waters.

Featured here is Bestiary, a book from Tavern author Joseph Millar.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let us now praise the life of Peter Howard

Peter Howard, the mastermind behind Serendipity Books in Berkeley, California, died quietly on Thursday evening, March 31. Peter was and will continue to be a giant--a superhero--in the antiquarian book field. Browsing the seemingly unorganized stacks at Serendipity was a rite of passage. The poetry section alone contained nearly half a million books (on crank-driven, mobile shelving). And God only knows how many nooks, crannies, and warehouses of poetry Peter had in addition to the poetry titles at the book store. I once asked Peter what, as a bookseller, had been the most interesting poetry book he'd had the pleasure of selling. He said something like, "I hope you're not really asking me that! How could I choose!? Maybe some ephemera signed from Whitman to Emerson? This is an impossible and pointless question..." Peter was gruff, humorous, enigmatic, and ridiculously passionate. His encyclopedic knowledge and historical grasp of printed culture was astounding, to say the very least. Scanning my shelves and framed broadsides, I can spot some great gems that I picked up from Peter over the past four years. Among them are three copies of a Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer broadside (signed by both authors) called "Along the Lines." I never knew Peter as a friend, I knew him as a bookseller and a fellow book nut. I never left Serendipity without a book or some piece of random poetry ephemera. And I never paid for a book without Peter glancing over his glasses, grumbling in my general direction, then crossing out the listed price only to replace it with something far lower. I mourn his passing, celebrate his legacy, and raise my glass.

--Michael McGriff

Support indie print culture--underwrite a Tavern title!

A few months ago Tavern author Paul Merchant (translator of Yannis Ritsos's Twelve Poems About Cavafy) asked us if he could underwrite the publication of Charles Simic's Prodigy. We were delighted! As a thank-you we printed the note "This edition of Prodigy was generously underwritten by Paul Merchant" on the inside flap. This has now turned into a bit of a tradition at the press. David Wevill is underwriting our forthcoming Zubair Ahmed title, Ashulia; Joseph Millar and Dorianne Laux are underwriting Peter Everwine's translation of Natan Zach's The Countries We Live In; and Matthew Dickman and Britta Ameel are underwriting Greta Wrolstad's forthcoming book, Notes on Sea & Shore.

If you're interested in underwriting a title, please contact us for more info: tavernbooks@gmail.com. If you would like to support the press, but only have the few crumpled dollars you pulled out of your Levi's before doing the laundry, then you can donate ANY amount, no matter how small, via the secure donation button on our website. Everyone at the press works for free. We run Tavern Books out of our love for print culture, poetry in translation, and the revival of out-of-print works. It's been our rule from the get-go that each and every penny we get will go exclusively and entirely into the printing costs of our books.

Cheers, and continued thanks for your support!

3 Tavern titles to go into a second printing

If you're the type who likes to buy first editions and first printings, then you better act fast. Jo McDougall's Under an Arkansas Sky, Ferenc Juhász's The Boy Changed into a Stag Clamors at the Gate of Secrets, and Joseph Millar's Ocean are all headed into their second printings!