The Pressingness of Small Press

The 12 or 20 interview series has branched into interviewing small presses. The first up is an interview with AngelHouse Press. Here’s a snippet

4 – What do you see your press doing that no one else is?
AHP’s own little niche is versatility and playfulness. aside from poetry, we’ve also published a print version of a web comic, a one pager called “Signs of the Apocalypse Magazine” that mixes apocalyptic language with an engraving by Albrecht Dürer, and are about to publish a memoir.
unlike other chapbook presses that tend to go for a uniform design, we let the work itself determine the design , size and style of the chapbook.
we also publish both essays and magazines online.

Nice to see. Fitting form to content instead of reverse engineering content to fit a set form. It doesn’t have to be slotted in. Paper art and binding isn’t only the shapes we get sold under the economy of scale prizes uniformity for seller convenience rather than creator’s or consumer’s.
Amanda Earl also says,

14 – How does the press work to engage with your immediate literary community, and community at large? What journals or presses do you see your books in immediate dialogue with? How important do you see those dialogues, those conversations?
[…] i can’t think of the last time i saw a chapbook being reviewed in a journal. maybe this series will spark a dialogue.
is it important? i suppose it would be fun to chat with other small pressers about design, distribution and such, but to be honest, the pleasure of the experience for me is the independence.

Private industry is direct from the hip, lean on survival and passion. I hope that the form does get dialogued. It shouldn’t be an impediment. People don’t ignore short songs or short sentences because they are.
What was Patti Digh just saying in her wee rant on books? Make do with the pen you have. Don’t take another class. Sit with yourself and your unique place in the world and write it all down. Write with the voice you have and, oh yes, the salient one I was trying to bring back to mind:

Form is not content. Let’s say that again: FORM IS NOT CONTENT. A book is nothing more than a commodification of ideas. Start with the ideas, the emotions, the thing you most long to say.

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