Chris Tonelli gave an excellent talk on limited-run small press publication. Rather than attempting to expiate small presses in light of an overwhelmed marketplace for poetry, Chris instead focused on the community-building aspects of small press and book-arts projects. For example, his So And So Reading Series in Boston works in collaboration with Rope-a-Dope Collaborative to produce letterpress broadsides of featured poets’ poems, which they sell on the night of their reading.
Drawing on Lewis Hyde’s idea that art exists in both a gift economy and market economy, he pointed out how limited-run collaborative publications foster community by delivering a select number of high-quality works to artist, collectors, and aficionados who truly appreciate the work. This has been my own experience firsthand in rather serendipitously entering in to my first book arts collaboration–that the collaboration itself was a gift between artists that then extended out to appreciative communities. Thanks to Chris for flying out to the Pacific University campus to deliver his unique perspective on community publishing.