12 August 2010

Brian Teare's Albion Books

Nathalie Stephens's Vigilous, Reel: Desire (a)s accusation is the first book I've seen in Brian Teare's Albion Books series, and I was totally floored by how sumptuous it is. Made from scraps and off-cuts, Teare designed the book using the materials at hand, and it's truly one of the more flawlessly realized chapbooks I've seen in awhile. We spoke the other day about upcoming projects, and the future looks very promising for Albion.

He sent the following precis via email explaining his process, and given the constraints, I'm even more interested in the project now on the level of book design:

"Founded in 2008, Albion Books is a one-man micropress specializing in limited edition poetry chapbooks, broadsides and print ephemera as well as in hand-bound hardcover and limp-bound books. The press uses conserving natural resources and keeping production costs below $100 per project as formal constraints, while the goal remains to make as fine an object as possible within the given limits: 1) at least 80% of the paper for each project must come from “off-cuts” donated by or bought from other printers; 2) all letterpress printing is done on a shared 9” x16” Chandler and Price platen press, and 3) all type is hand-set: no motor may be used on the C&P, and neither plates nor new type are made for a print run. Though each edition is kept small to enable production by one person, the final rule of the press is meant to encourage and sustain gift economy within the poetry community: at least 35% of each edition must be given away or bartered."

The writing itself is an elegant post-Lacanian meditation on desire and obligation. Here's Stephens (or "NS," as she seems to refer to herself nowadays):

These are desire's hermaphrodisms, counter-sexed, unchecked, in pieces on the floor. Demand rent from need makes a seam up the middle of me. It is here that I mis-dream the dream of what Buber calls "the double cry." Echo ingested and thrown down, undaunted. Woken, what sleeps, seeps from dream, de-means: Que me veux-tu? What do you want from me?      

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