Alban Fischer is the founding editor of Trnsfr and Trnsfr Books. He has designed over 150 books for more than thirty independent publishers, including Curbside Splendor, YesYes Books, Tiny Hardcore Press, Bellevue Literary Press, and 826CHI. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Unlikely Stories, Untoward, and Vinyl, and his first full-length collection, Fake Moon, is currently in search of a publisher. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can find him online at cargocollective.com/albanfischer.
Hello, I’m Alban. I design books for a living. Next spring, @theglcl is running an exhition of my work to kick off their “Art of the Book” series. This week I’m selecting titles for inclusion and writing short statements for each. I’ve asked my partner to make his own separate selections. Sometimes another pair of eyes can help you get a more objective view of things. After all, I’ve stared at each of these for countless hours. So this is what you see here–his vetting process. I don’t know which of these are his final choices. I haven’t asked him yet. That I’ve asked him to do this is already annoying enough. Except that Christian Kracht. That’s not mine.
End of the workday (the first part, anyway). I’m coming back home from eating a big greasy cheeseburger. I didn’t have time to cook. This is the building I’ve lived in for several years. This view is essentially what I look out on from my study window every day. Now it’s back to work–two poetry book covers, a 12-step journal, and tweaks to two oversize coffee table books.
Kind of an unusual job for me. A journal with ruled pages and prompts. The client wanted a stamped foil effect for the cover–much like what I did for Iredell’s Last Mass. So this is how the magic happens. Glamorous, right? (I’ve got Ruben Neilson’s genius to keep me energized. That and a fuckload of coffee. (Am I allowed to swear?))
Relaxing/decompressing with Kenzaburo Oe’s A Personal Matter. (J. Franzen recently wrote an appreciation of it–I forget where. But that’s not what led me to it.) Stayed up and worked through the night without sleep to get Zoe Zolbrod’s The Telling to the printer in time. Took a half hour nap at 4am, then went back at it. That’s just the way things go sometimes. Now I’m gonna read till I doze off (but only for an hour or so–other projects on deck). Goodnight!
So glad to be finally getting this beast finished off (Andrew Brenza’s Gossamer Lid). This is basically every spread in the book. I had to get pretty innovative to figure out how to set many of these spectacular poems. A lot of trial and error. But worth it in the end. I’m happy with how it has turned out.
For my last day here I thought I’d show something I do that’s not design. Here I am looking like a true hipster in my garden. My first–and it was a good one. Grew a ton of stuff. Beans and tomatoes were plentiful (you need beans? I’ve got a freezerful). Managed to keep away the rabbits, but them dang ol’ squirrels done ate all my corn.
Natalia Castells-Esquivel is a writer from Mexico based in Atlanta. Her poetry and nonfiction have been published in places like Santo y Seña, Loose Change, and Thought Catalog. She is currently a copywriter, Editor of Community Engagement for RealPants, and cofounder of StoryDrop, a city-wide literature collaboration. Also, she makes really good scrambled eggs. Really.
Latest posts by Natalia Castells-Esquivel (see all)