Thursday, September 04, 2008

Chapbooks, Chaps!

What do ... Francesca Beard, Sharanya Manivannan, Jasmine Low, Priya K, KG, Liyana Yusof and Poetica and others have in common?

Poetry? Yes, okay.

But something more. Each of them embraced the chapbook, a simple handmade publication to put writing out into the world - given away free or sold for a nominal sum. It's a simple way of being published, showcases your best writing, and often acts as a stepping stone to flashier publishing.

Lee Rourke on the Guardian blog waxes lyrical about the chapbook and reminds us that this form of publication has been around since the C16th. He particularly praises Blackheath Books for their series of poetry chapbooks and links to this video of how the books are lovingly made by hand. (See this in the video below.) In a world where big business interests control publishing, I find this a refreshing and inspiring reminder of how the little guy can be independently creative.

It's almost the print form of busking while you wait to be discovered, isn't it?

6 comments:

insect said...

chapbooks are like zines, right?
i've been doing them (zines) since high school... about 11 years now! it's fun :D

Anonymous said...

Isn't calling it a CHAPbook sexist in these oh-so-PC-times? How about a chappetebook?

Anonymous said...

It's probably not that kind of chap. Probably "chap" as in "rough and sort of hanging and loosely attached" like chaps or chapped skin.

Yusuf/Martin said...

Chap, or Chapess, books are a good idea, but many publishers, and even on-line publishers, tell writers that they require unpublished work only, and by unpublished the mean anywhere not just in print.

Yusuf/Martin said...

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/01/a_pleasant_history_of_chapbook.html

Anonymous said...

Ah, like 'leather chaps'...