JackPine Press launches three new chapbooks

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Literary press thrives despite celebrating (what might be) a dying art

JackPine Press, a locally-based chapbook publisher, is celebrating the release of three new works on Saturday, Nov. 24 at Paved Art Gallery in Saskatoon.

The chapbooks come from several local writers and designers, including Mari-Lou Rowley, Tammy Lu, Taylor Leedahl, Cassidy McFadzean and Jonah McFadzean.

In addition to hosting short readings, drinks and hors d’oeuvres, JackPine Press administrator Lisa Johnson says that the event is the end result of a massive labour of love for all those involved.

“Even if you don’t buy any books, you’ll be supporting people who stuck to (what might be) a dying art – just for the sake of making art,” says Johnson. “In the end, making stuff is just plain awesome.”

Johnson says that once the written material is collected the chapbooks are then assembled, saying that the book designers “lock themselves in a room for hours on end with a needle and thread to fold or stitch a pile of books the old fashioned way.”

It sounds a bit like craft night for adults, but that’s sort of the point says Johnson.

“If I had to describe the three chapbooks we are launching on Saturday, it would be that they are what happens when you give grown-up artists this same kind of license to play, collaborate, and push boundaries a little bit.”

Founded as a collective in 2002, JackPine has published around 50 limited edition, hand-bound chapbooks, giving a small, albeit distinctive, voice to local and national literary artists.

“Small presses, and presses with a unique model like ours, provide an avenue for artists and poets to do it themselves,” says Johnson. “Chapbooks, ‘zines, and punk poetry projects – these are things we publish on a very small-scale with a simple focus on creating and sharing. What that does is it creates an atmosphere that is totally conducive to artistic play.

“We can play with materials, designs, and concepts that major publishers simply don’t have the mandate to play with.”

The reception begins at 7pm this Saturday, with the reading beginning at 8pm.