Better days

For a week at the end of November/beginning of December 2021, the Red Rover Reading Series invited us* to take part in their “Reading Experiment in Progress,” described as “a 6-day experiment in community and generosity”. We* put out some fliers with a prompt for this zine and then came in one afternoon for an hour with all our glue sticks and typewriters and scraps of paper to put something together together.

*us! who is us: me, you, all of us. specifically, a variety of chicago artists and writers, generally, everyone who wandered through the cultural center during that week and came in contact with the readings and performances and installations going on

*we! here is some people from meekling press

Here was the prompt we proposed:
Write, doodle, draw, paint, sketch, collage, compose, collaborate, collect, communicate your vision of the world you are working towards. What does it look like? How do we take care of each other? What do we eat? Where do we live?

And here are the responses. It’s weird, it’s messy, it’s 2021, baby. Scraps of paper with wishes written on them and tossed to the wind.

Love,
meekling press

P.S.: The Red Rover Reading Experiment (the theme of which was “how can we create change in the world right now?”*) took place within the Lumpen exhibit called “Successful Failures” at the Chicago Cultural Center.

*and the world is changing right now whether we create it or not! big, powerful, necessary, painful, beautiful, and terrible changes, every which way.

a meekling press zine project – pages due december 15th

come make a zine with us

Hi friends! Long time, no blog. We’re going to be participating in a great event at the Chicago Cultural Center this week, and we’d like you to join us if you can! We’ll be there on Saturday, December 4th from 1-2pm working on a zine project, and if you’re there too, we’ll have some typewriters and gluesticks and collage stuff to cut up and some other things probably, and we can make some pages together. (If you can’t make it this weekend, send us something through email or drop something off in a drop box we’ll leave down there at the exhibition site later this week.)This is part of the Red Rover Reading Series’s event “Reading Experiment in Progress”, a whole week of events at the Cultural Center — which is also part of Lumpen’s “Successful Failures” exhibit — featuring lots of artists from around Chicago. I’ll put more info from them about that below, but first some details about our project and how you can participate:

the prompt/theme of the zine!

Write, doodle, draw, paint, sketch, collage, compose, collaborate, collect, communicate your vision of the world you are working towards. What does it look like? How do we take care of each other? What do we eat? Where do we live?

a few guidelines

  • Your page should be 4.25 inches by 5.5 inches (a quarter of a letter-size sheet of paper), or if it’s not, we’ll resize it to fit
  • If you don’t want to be anonymous, please include your name on your page somewhere. If you do want to be anonymouse, that’s perfectly fine too.
  • Have fun. We’ll probably reproduce the zine in only one or two colors and your page might end up looking a little different because of that.

how to submit a page to the zine project:

Here are your options:

1) Come join us on Saturday afternoon 1-2 pm to work on it in person together

2) Email a page that’s 4.25 x 5.5 inches big to meeklingpress@gmail.com (that’s a quarter of a letter-size paper)

3) Pick up a submission sheet at the Cultural Center XPO site (where all the performances are happening). We’ll have sheets and set up a box to drop them in by this Wednesday afternoon. Sort of a scavenger-hunt/wild goose chase option for you adventurous ones.

Red Rover Series presents
“Reading Experiment in Progress”

Mini live free events
November 30th-December 5th
at the Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street
in the NFO XPO of the Michigan Ave galleries
**covid protocols in full effect so please mask up**
https://tinyurl.com/redroverseries <<< Click here for the full lineup

Readings, performances, talks, rehearsals,
improvisations, meditations, writing sessions
+ more featuring Chicago writers & artists
as part of the Lumpen exhibit “Successful Failures”
https://tinyurl.com/successfail

Curated by Jennifer Karmin
& inspired by Red Rover’s ongoing collaboration
with 100 Thousand Poets for Change, our focus is:
How can we create change in the world right now?
https://100tpcmedia.org/

Meekling Presents: Spring Reading Party!

Saturday, May 11th, 7PM, @ Cafe Mustache

Come help us celebrate the fancy & fabulous new books by Meekling friends Evelyn Hampton and Julia Madsen, who are coming through town, by way of Denver!

w/////

Evelyn Hampton is the author of Famous Children and Famished Adults, which won the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction contest and was published by FC2 in 2019; The Aleatory Abyss (Publishing Genius 2017); Discomfort (Ellipsis Press 2015); and the chapbooks We Were Eternal and Gigantic (Magic Helicopter Press), MADAM (Meekling Press), and Seven Touches of Music (alice blue books).

Julia Madsen is a multimedia poet and educator. She received an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and is a PhD candidate in English/Creative Writing at the University of Denver. Her first book, The Boneyard, The Birth Manual, A Burial: Investigations into the Heartland, was recently published with Trembling Pillow Press and was listed on Entropy’s Best Poetry Books of 2018.

Popahna Brandes is the author of In An I, (Sidebrow Books, 2015); The Sea In Me/The Riddle We Heard (The Corresponding Society); and Reading Tests, in collaboration with Jack Henrie Fisher and a machinic interlocutor (Jan Van Eyck Academie). Works of translation, prose, film and music have been published by Belladonna*, The Encyclopedia Project, Sleepingfish, Ein Magazin über Orte, Tarpaulin Sky, and Pocket Myth. She has led classes in lyrical and impossible narrative forms for many years, runs an annual writing workshop in the book village of Montolieu, France, and has collected a few sticks in Chicago where she now lives.

Anne K. Yoder’s work has appeared in Fence, Bomb, and Tin House, among other publications, and was recently included in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing. She is the author of two chapbooks — Jungfrau Happy AHHHHH (Meekling Press) and Sigil & Sigh, with Megan Kaminski (Dusie Kollektiv). She is a staff writer for The Millions and is a member of Meekling Press. An excerpt of her novel, The Enhancers, is forthcoming in MAKE Lit’s Weird Science issue.

Summer Blog Series

Hey all! You might want to keep an eye on our blog in the upcoming weeks — in addition to our writings about various projects & new releases, you can expect a bi-weekly foray into Chicago’s vast selection of library archives (microfilm, bound periodicals, rare books, old news, etc.), a series of short essays on the different methods of collating the alphabet, an iPhone app available for download; plus various exaggerations, mic-droppers, flights of fancy, etc.

In the meantime, here is an image of the sky above Meekling Press, courtesy of Google Earth.

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 3.52.00 PM

What is Letterpress?

Benjamin Franklin, printing his newspaper  “Franklin the printer” by Charles E. Mills – Library of Congress reproduction # LC-USZC4-7217 [1].

Letterpress printing is basically using a press to print raised type and images. Traditionally, this is done with movable type, a technology that started in the west with Gutenberg in the 1440s, and around 400 years earlier than that in China – each letter is a piece of metal or wood, arranged together to make words, sentences, paragraphs. Even the white space between words and lines has to be accounted for with a little piece of metal (slightly under type high*, so it won’t ink & print). In the late 19th Century, commercial printers and newspapers moved away from hand-set type to linotype, in which entire lines of type are cast from hot metal using a linotype machine – much faster than setting them letter by letter! It wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that newspapers moved from letterpress printing to offset lithography and digital typesetting.

Letterpress type is backwards – leading to the caution to mind your p’s & q’s (also your b’s & d’s, and since it’s set upside down, you should also watch out for your n’s & u’s). This is from The Jury of Sudden Hands

We do most of our letterpress printing with hand-set type and linoleum cuts, but sometimes we’ll also take advantage the new high-tech letterpress method in wide use today of photopolymer plates – where a plastic plate is made from a computer file and then mounted on a base and printed on the press. We used polymer plates to print the covers of On the Stairs, for example.

There are different types of presses, but ours is a floor-standing platen press made by Shniedewind & Lee in Chicago in the 1880s. Before it came to us, it lived for thirty years or so in the back of a bookshop, and before that it belonged to a Baptist church where it was used to make programs and newsletters. Most of the metal type we have comes from that church, too. At some point in its lifetime, the press was hooked up to a motor, probably in a situation something like this one, with several presses connected to a motor by belts going up to the ceiling:

The industrialization of printing. Compare this photograph to the artist’s rendition of a serene Benjamin Franklin at the beginning of this post. “Fitzwilliam Press Room 1917” photograph by Covert via LSU Digital Library, Louisiana State Museum [1].

We don’t have a motor for our press – instead we use a treadle to power it by foot, which is a great workout, and probably makes us really good at biking or kicking. When a design calls for more than one color, the colors have to be printed one at a time, the press cleaned off and re-inked for each new color, and the paper fed through again, by hand. It’s a slow process, and meticulous, but I find it totally addicting & wonderful, a tactile expression of something abstract as language, thought, poetry.

Let me know if you have any questions & I’ll do my best to answer them. I love learning & talking about letterpress! Also check out the following websites for lots more information:

Briar Press
Five Roses
Letterpress Commons

-Rebecca

Matchbooks

Today, we printed and put together these matchbooks. John disassembled 100 matchbooks – pried open the staples and cut out the phosphorus strips, and then I printed “meekling press” onto some marbled paper and, on the inside, quotes from a few of the books we’ve published in the past. Marbling paper is my new obsession, and I’ll have to write a post on here soon about how to do it because it is truly so enjoyable. Then we put the matchbooks back together – stapled in the matches and glued the phosphorus strips onto the back. A good day’s work! (We also ate pizza.)