Thursday, January 31, 2008

letter press

Don Emblen offered to make a chapbook for me on his letter press, the big one in his garage, a massive metal thing with type you set by hand. In Marcel Proust’s Within a Budding Grove (C.K. Scott Moncrieff translation) the narrator contemplates his ambitions:

“As an author becomes alarmed when he sees the fruits of his own meditation, which do not appear to him to be of great value since he does not separate them from himself, oblige a publisher to choose a kind of paper, to employ a fount of type finer, perhaps, than they deserve, I asked myself whether my desire to write was of sufficient importance …”

Am I that humble? I remember Don describing a poet who came and helped set type for her book. After experiencing what work goes into making the thing she decided, Don said, in the future she would use fewer words.

2 comments:

David Lee said...

I wonder if I'd use fewer lines if I had to carve them into a plate in order to publish them?






Nah.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Imagine how much less you'd write if you had to do it all in blood!