From 1980 to 1992, I worked extensively on most of the Roof and Segue Books produced during that period. I worked with the publisher James Sherry and the authors and the typesetters and cover artists. The work consisted of getting the manuscript from James and the authors, which was often very hard to procure, making sure it was proofed and edited and ready, then bringing it to Skeezo, the typesetters on 27th Street. They set the galleys on their machines. Then I’d come and pick up the Xeroxes of the galleys, proofread them, and then bring the galleys back for corrections with author’s corrections too. When the final galleys were ready. I would lay out the book by hand. I made an initial dummy for the book and then pasted up the final mechanical on boards with glue or wax. Often as in the case of Hannah Weiner’s and Bruce Andrews’ books, I would be moving around single words or letters or lines of type with an exacto knife to create shapes or odd spacing. The cover was also done by me, but with various artist’s works on them. Then the book would go to the printer and come back by US mail for blues. It was a lengthy and detailed process of production in those days without e-mail or computers to speed things along.
Down with a cold in grey Kelowna, I’m thinking of Pliny the Younger’s (AD 62-113) advice for idle periods in his letters, Epistularum Libri Decem - letter LXXVI to Tuscus:
Quaeris quemadmodum in secessu, quo iam diu frueris, putem te studere oportere. Utile in primis, et multi praecipiunt, vel ex Graeco in Latinum vel ex Latino vertere in Graecum. Quo genere exercitationis proprietas splendorque verborum, copia figurarum, vis explicandi, praeterea imitatione optimorum similia inveniendi facultas paratur; simul quae legentem fefellissent, transferentem fugere non possunt. Intellegentia ex hoc et iudicium adquiritur.
Ben – Maybe Not: Ben Yarmolinsky Hank Eats the Shell ("The Shrimp is a poem in itself" Marjorie & Joe: Marjorie Perloff Claude's Prepositions: Claude Royet-Journoud Alan's Print Performance: Alan Loney Li: The Snow of Yesteryear: Li Zhimin