I was lucky enough to run into Lauren Shufran on Sunday night and luckier to obtain a copy of her lovingly handmade chapbook, Birds. In reference to my post about design aesthetics and poetry presses, this chapbook perfectly captures the energy of someone who has written a really good poem and, because he/she/xe is appropriately proud of said poem's content, decides to distribute it immediately among friends because it's what he/she/xe's thinking about and working on right now (and its good) and adds to the community conversation in a crucial way we haven't quite figured out yet, and as such, he/she/xe designs the book with the same kind of urgency and care he/she/xe put into the poem's language, and then the object becomes a constellation of that care and immediacy and pride and becomes something of a totem or talisman to those around it. Here's the first page:
If you weren't around this weekend (or don't live in the area) you should write Lauren and ask for one (if you don't have her address, email me). If enough people ask, she might have to print a second edition! And while you're at it, congratulate her for gaining admittance to UC Santa Cruz's Ph.D. program! Great job!