Sometimes I feel almost like a real publisher.
Actually, I’ve never felt quite like a ‘real’ anything. In the olden days, when I was introduced as a teacher, I would often say, ‘Yes, but not a real one.’ Same with youth worker. And playleader. And pastrycook. Same with poet. Definitely not a real poet. I have been a real mum and now a real grandma, but that’s different.
(I might be a real writer. Possibly.)
Anyway, back to the point. I felt like a real publisher this week because I sent the electronic files of D A Prince’s second collection, Common Ground, to the printer. This will be HappenStance’s fifth book (most of the 120-ish publications so far have been pamphlets). But more importantly, it’s D A Prince’s second whole book from this imprint. The first, in 2008, was Nearly the Happy Hour.
Back then, I wasn’t sure whether I would do any more books. It felt hugely risky: books are expensive things to make – at least they can be. They can equally be surprisingly inexpensive to print, but Common Ground won’t be. It will be sewn in groups of 16 pages, printed on good quality paper, and held secure and safe in a hard backed binding, with a dust jacket.
Scary. Real publishers don’t get scared. They know what they’re doing. (I am still finding out.)
Common Ground has all sorts of poems in it, including (and this really is astonishing considering my declared bias) a villanelle and a sestina. Some of D A Prince’s poems are complex; some are formal; some are free as the wind. Many of them are apparently simple.
And here is one that looks almost inconsequential. But it fits perfectly with my blog of three weeks ago, What Kindle Can’t Do. When I get to the end, the sadness of mortality washes over me in swathes. The poet (a real one) has some background in librarianship, and loves books. Can you tell?
Heroes of Our Islands
Dust jacket: faded (sun)
and water stained; torn,
front and back, repairs
(amateur); cracked spine
and wear to corners.
Cover (linen) worn.
Dog-eared, furring on all sides.
Maps partly crayonned in
and marginalia (juvenile).
Some illus., black and white; defaced.
Inscribed: To dearest John,
to speed you in their footsteps,
from Auntie Joan,
and kisses, Christmas 1959.
Picture of old book by Jörg Busack