Friday, September 23, 2011

Notes on old new little presses part two
& parts one, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine
As the few surviving and dedicated UK-based poetry publishers fight to retain arts subsidies (most commercial publishers have long since dropped their loss-making poetry imprints featuring new work: younger generations of literary agents have been taught not to touch poetry with a bargepole) - it's left to university and small presses to take up the slack.

Veer Books celebrates 'unconforming' writing and the present writer was glad to be invited to produce something more than a 'cheap chapbook' a few years back. MJ Weller's Beat generation Ballads pushed the boat right out in terms of production values. Working editor Stephen Mooney and I worked closely for the better part of 2010, learning new techie skills together.

Stephen offered to produce a disk with the book - giving access to audio and video available on 'beat generation ballad' google blog postings. It is on this blog the sequence was originally worked in preliminary format and EGNEP hasn't deleted them. I wasn't sure where this would have gone - YouTube videos are regularly removed by Google and its users - but it would have been great to have my own home'baked mini-movies published with the book. I do have a slight problem with the aesthetics. Disks come with books and 'zines - separate bird-frighteners of bland and ugly plastic. Total absence of integration and I don't know many people who read and re-read CDs /DVDs unless they're ripping burning and copying down the line.

Beat generation Ballads needed online publication to work as an ebook. Existing electronic platforms have strengths, weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages. Not really good enough.

A basic Veer Book is the conventional perfect-bound paperback, and that's what Will Rowe, Stephen, and myself went for. Veer's printing partners make all decisions on paper stock and reproduction process after a pdf is formatted and delivered. "You never know what you're gonna get," as Stephen says.

My wish was for a square bookwork that could be compared to both a slick 'n' shiny printed CD booklet and a vinyl album sleeve. Heaviest card stock for the cover was requested (Out to Lunch's 2010 Smooch Tentet Resolve ?!#@$ has a cardboard cover but that stock had finished). So 2011's Beat generation Ballads looks and feels just like an oversized slickly printed CD booklet they use to tuck into those plastic cases. But Veer reference number 033⅓ provided vinyl association and WATCH OUT FOR THIS GUY! cartoon became random binary invading my text.

Here's email I sent Stephen on receiving copies printed bookwork.

Have you noticed rogue digit "1" makes sudden appearance in column of four

on 'Ballad of Lisa & Pete' page, then single binary 'Unwarned' appearance before final gatecrash at 'poetry professors' 1967 bash

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