Monday, March 15, 2010

Reviewing the New Gaspereau Press Catalogue

I don't know; can I review a catalogue of new books by a publisher? I just feel inspired to do it, as it landed on the desk.

Immediately I see that Gaspereau has extended their book design craftsmanship to their catalogue as well as their books, using fine quality paper and inks. This stapled folio SMELLS like a book.

Inside are gorgeous woodcut designs and patterns, things I automatically recognize as being very "Gaspereau". They've reprinted excerpts and complete poems from their upcoming Spring line. Such as a book of poetry by Johanna Skibsrud, which we'll be ordering for sure, the excerpt included was so affecting. Here's a little teaser:

I do not think that I could love a human being; I would not
know it if I squeezed too hard. I would be a great bear. I would
go rumbling through.

I would try to eat you. I would stand alone,
in the quiet centre of you, and roar. No, I
could not love you. I could not
love a human being.

I would get so
stuck on things. The small

flaws in you, like

the way that you will die;
it would stick in my throat, I could not love you.

And I love the description offered by the press for Joanna's book: "Being a book of poetry to be published in April 2010; to be printed offset on a laid paper making approximately 80 pages trimmed to 5.75 X 8.5 inches; to be Smyth sewn and bound into a paper cover and enfolded in a letterpress-printed jacket."

I'm going to want to eat it. Gaspereau books, printed out of Nova Scotia, reiterate to me what can be lost if we were ever to make a total shift to e-books. Gaspereau books are little works of art:
At the core of our philosophy is a commitment to making books that reinstate the importance of the book as a physical object, reuniting publishing and the book arts. Many of our covers are letterpress-printed, feature original artwork by artists like Wesley Bates and George Walker, and are printed on fine paper, in some cases even handmade. Most of our books are smyth-sewn & bound into card covers and are then enfolded in letterpress-printed jackets. Our house paper is Rolland’s Zephyr Antique Laid, a creamy, sensual book paper. Overall, the result is strong, flexible, attractive books that are comfortable, attractive and durable. And in addition to our trade titles, each year or so Gaspereau Press releases a letterpress project or two (from full-length books to broadsides) and three or four chapbooks in our Devil’s Whim series. (From their website)

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