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Author: Shanna Compton

Virtual Browsing: Buffalo Small Press Book Fair

  Hello, Real Pants wearers! For the last month, my column here has treated the fascinating topic of “what happens when a small-press publisher/editor/book designer takes on way too many bookfairs and freelance projects during National Poetry Schlep Month.” Which is to say: the column has been nonexistent! I haven’t posted here since April 2. Yeah, sorry about that. Now that I’ve had some time to recover, I thought I’d do a looky-loo post about one of the many events of April, the 2015 Buffalo Small Press Book Fair. Bloof Books was there both days, and it’s way less...

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Virtual Browsing at the NYC/CUNY Chapbook Festival

    The bookfair goes till 7:00 tonight, and there are panels, presentations, and readings too. See the full schedule at For those of you who can’t make it, here are some highlights, with links to the presses’ sites. (Sorry for any ill formatting. I’m using the mobile app.) CUNY Poetics: Lost & Found Poetry Society of America Thistlemilk Press Sunnyoutside Press Projective Industries Brooklyn Arts Press Raven Press Collective / Academy for Young Writers Monk Books    Doublecross Press Greying Ghost Press Late addition: a DIY project by table visitor Colleen McCarthy-Smee. I wanted to steal her little...

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#chapfest (next week at CUNY in NYC)

    Next week is the NYC/CUNY Chapbook Festival. If you’re in NYC or close enough, you’re totally gonna wanna go. Chapfest is the only bookfair I know that’s exclusively devoted to the form, and in addition to the bookfair there are workshops and panels, CLMP publisher consultations, a celebration of the Lost & Found series (which is rad), and more. Explore the site here. The full festival schedule is here. The Poetry Society of America is also showcasing publishers from the festival here with q&as, videos, photos, &c. So, just a short post today, because I got up at 4:30....

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Painting in a Box & Other Poetry Book Design Clichés

Hey, Real Pants. Long time no…oh shit it’s officially Late March. Where’ve I been? I think I was actually supposed to post last week and totally forgot! Forgive me: that list of projects I mentioned last time is in full swing and overlapping in all sorts of perniciously ingenious ways. I feel like this:   I did not spend much time reading new books since then, though I do have a couple of things I’m planning to review soon. But for this column, I think we’ll switch tactics and look at what I think I can safely designate Bad Design habits, tics, boo...

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First Impressions

  Unboxing has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary: “While the word unbox (to remove from a box) is found as far back as the early 17th century, the word has had a recent resurgence. The verb unbox (and the associated adjective unboxed and noun unboxing) now enter largely thanks to a growing trend on social media: unboxing is ‘an act or instance of removing a newly purchased product from its packaging and examining its features, typically when filmed and shared on a social media site’, such as YouTube.” That’s one of the first things I read this morning,...

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Half the Work Is Simply Staring: an Interview with Alban Fischer

  Without meaning to, I’ve been collecting Alban Fischer’s work for the past couple of years. (A few from my stash, above.) He’s designed poetry and fiction for some of my favorite small presses, including Horse Less Press, Yes Yes Books, as well as magazines like (his own) Trnsfr and Pank. So you’ve likely noticed his work too. There’s a layered warmth to his book covers that appeals to me, a sense of tactility even when I’m looking at them in digital form. They’re complex but uncluttered, and clean/open but not slick. They don’t scream, but are easily heard....

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Conversion Experience

In my freelance life, I’ve worked as a writer for several websites. The ones I worked for the longest and most steadily were retail sites—I described clothes. This is a pretty good fit for a poet. Or it was, before SEO arrived to make the simple task of talking about a T-shirt a redundant, unnaturally phrased nightmare: “We’re gonna need you to put the noun first, followed by a comma, then the brand name and key modifiers, in order of most importance, and then another comma, and then the color, if that’s a big deal. OK?” Idea, Generic Stupid Customer- and Human-Unfriendly Really, Cameo...

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Deadfalls & Snares (in the Love Economy)

deadfalls and snares Samantha Giles Futurepoem (Fall 2014) ISBN: 978-0-9960025-09 Cover design: Everything Studio Interior design: HR Hegnauer Details: Paperback, 6×8 inches, 89 pages, $16 Set in: Spectrum Genre: Poetry It must visually entice. It must (usually) communicate the title and the identity of the author. It may illuminate, distill, or illustrate the text. It may hint or it may explicitly state. It must be disruptive to the attention, in order to attract and hold it, yet integrated well enough into its category to fill the expected function. It wraps at the same time it reveals. It should remain effective reduced to thumbnail size....

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