I love making chapbooks through Apt. 9 Press. It is a great joy to publish work by writers I admire, work I inevitably wish I had written. Due to the time and labour-intensive nature of Apt. 9 productions, print-runs are necessarily limited. Typically 50 copies, with occasional reprints when circumstances call for it. One consequence of this is that this wonderful writing is not permanently available. This can be good or bad depending on your perspective. I love limited editions and finding rare publications by my favourite writers, but I also understand the frustration of just missing out on something. So, I’m always thrilled when a chapbook published by Apt. 9 shows up later in a trade collection, becoming available to a wider audience (and I’m always excited to see Apt. 9 in the acknowledgements).
The press has been active for just over four years now, which is long enough for more than a couple of these publications to have appeared. A new one was launched this past Friday in Ottawa, and this felt like an opportune moment to briefly catalogue these items. Of the twenty five books published by Apt. 9, six have gone on to appear in trade collections to date, or nearly 1/4 of what we’ve published. This is a bit skewed as three chapbooks were launched last week. So let’s say 6/22 is a bit more accurate. These six were published by Pedlar, Mansfield, BookThug, and Anvil, four presses I have great respect for and I couldn’t be happier to see Apt. 9 items hidden away in their bibliographies.
Ridley, Sandra. Rest Cure. Ottawa: Apt. 9 Press, August 2009.
–. Post-Apothecary. Toronto: Pedlar Press, 2011.
Rest Cure, one of the first three titles published by Apt. 9 Press, was reprinted in Sandra Ridley’s excellent Post-Apothecary, receiving the typically gorgeous Pedlar-treatment. Sandra also published two broadsides with Ottawa operations, “Plunge” (above/ground press poem broadside #286) and “Untether : Unhinge” (AngelHousePress Broadside #002), that appear in the collection. Sandra has a new collection out from BookThug that you should be tracking down to read as well. Three great collections since 2010 have quickly established Sandra across the country.
Ross, Stuart. I Have Come To Talk About Manners. Ottawa: Apt. 9 Press, February 2010.
–. You Exist. Details Follow. Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2012.
I Have Come To Talk About Manners was a real joy to publish. Stuart Ross was coming to Ottawa to read in the Tree Reading Series, and I approached him about publishing a chapbook to mark the occasion. True to his generous form, Stuart agreed and we got the book together quickly. 14 or so poems appear in both. The chapbook cover still makes me laugh with its subtly-twisted picture.
Nash, Leigh. Landforms. Ottawa: Apt. 9 Press, May 2010.
–. Goodbye, Ukelele. Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2010.
Leigh Nash and Andrew Faulkner’s The Emergency Response Unit is a touchstone of design and poetics for Apt. 9. I was motivated when they brought their books to Ottawa in 2008 (or 2007?) and it brought me great joy to publish a book of Leigh’s in 2010. Landforms, a series of eleven excellent minimalist poems, was rewritten in Goodbye, Ukelele, as a single prose-poem. This remains one of the best Apt. 9 covers, in my opinion. I would love to see some new poetry from Leigh, and hope there is something in the works. People-in-the-know: have I missed anything recently from Leigh?
Smith, Jim. Exit Interviews. Ottawa: Apt. 9 Press, June 2011.
–. Happy Birthday, Nicanor Parra. Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2012.
I’ve written about Jim on this blog previously. Exit Interviews was enormously fun to produce. I love Jim’s list poems, and a set that so consciously and lovingly worked with the materials of his peers and influences was a very welcome surprise when the manuscript appeared. We even produced a broadside, “Postscript to Exit Interviews,” to tuck into the chapbook that appears in a slightly different form in the trade collection. Everything that is great about Jim as a poet can be found in Happy Birthday, Nicanor Parra.
Hall, Phil. A Rural Pen. Ottawa: Apt. 9 Press, October 2012.
–. The Small Nouns Crying Faith. Toronto: Bookthug, 2013.
I have long admired Phil Hall as a poet. I first met Phil at the Tree Reading Series in Ottawa. I had been recruited to present the dead poet reading, and chose Kenneth Patchen to focus on. I found out after the reading that Phil and I had an admiration of Patchen in common. When Phil generously provided me with a manuscript, we decided to try to include Patchen in the project somehow. The cover image is a drawing of Patchen’s from his book We Meet (1960). I wrote to New Directions and, much to my surprise, they gave us the rights to use it. I couldn’t be happier with this book.
Brockwell, Stephen. Excerpts from Improbable Books: The Apt. 9 Installment. Ottawa: Apt. 9 Press, June 2013.
–. Complete Surprising Fragments of Improbable Books. Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2013.
This past Friday, Stephen Brockwell launched his unbelievably good new collection at the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival, the books apparently arriving direct from the printer mere hours before the event (so new, in fact, it doesn’t appear on the publisher’s website yet). I’ve discussed the project before. I think this is an important book, one that deserves to bring Stephen greater respect than he already receives. It’s idea seems to simple and clear now that it exists, but it took someone with Stephen’s combinations of poetic curiosity and scientific/technical knowledge to realize it. I feel very lucky to have helped bring a small part of it into print before the trade collection.
So there you go. If you missed any of these, you can at least track down the writing in these books. You should be buying these six books regardless.