Susan Bee on Segue and Roof Books

Photo by Mel Nichols at ROOF Books celebration, Zinc Bar, NYC, Nov. 17, 2012.

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.

I also designed the Segue catalogs for the Distributing Service, Asylum's Press books, and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine, during this same period. I went on to design my own magazine, codited with Mira Schor, M/E/A/N/I/N/G, starting in 1986, till the present. I am happy that I had the opportunity to work on these books with all these wonderful (and sometimes difficult) poets and with the other designers, Lee Sherry, Diane Ward, Brita Bergland, Deborah Thomas, and especially with James Sherry, who made it all possible.

I am credited with production and/or design of all these Roof and Segue books.

Controlling Interests, by Charles Bernstein, 1980
Little Books/ Indians, by Hannah Weiner, 1980
Wobbling by Bruce Andrews, 1981
Ninety-Six Tears by Michael Gottlieb, 1981
The Occurrence of Tune, Charles Bernstein and Susan Bee, Segue, 1981
Active 24 Hours by Alan Davies, 1982
The Son Master, by Peter Seaton, 1982
Never Without One by Diane Ward, 1984
Popular Fiction, by James Sherry, 1985
The White Museum, by Lynne Dreyer, 1986
North of Intention, Steve McCaffery, 1986
Making Money, Henry Hills, 1986
The Age of Huts, Ron Silliman, 1986
Representative Works, Jackson Mac Low, 1986
The New Sentence, Ron Silliman, 1987
Signage, Alan Davies, 1987
Ice Cubes
, by Kit Robinson, 1987
Face Value,
by Bob Perelman, 1988
Red Shift
by P. Inman, 1988
A Young Recruit
, by Jean Day, 1988
Candles Burn in Memory Town,
edited by Janine Pommy Vega, 1988
Getting Ready to Have Been Frightened
, by Bruce Andrews, 1988
by Diane Ward, 1989
The Politics of Poetic Form,
edited by Charles Bernstein, 1990
, Laura Moriarty, 1990
Continental Harmony
, Michael Gizzi, 1991
Civil Noir
, by Melanie Neilson, 1991
, by Hank Lazar, 1992.


Presented at the ROOF 25th anniversary celebrarion at the Zinc Bar in New York, Nov. 17, 2012
James Sherry's remarks at the event were published yesterday at Sybil.