“ You’ve received a book in the mail, no it’s too small to be a book- it’s a very big letter.”
“It’s my chapbook!”
“It’s a what?”
I wouldn’t let my mother open it, so she had to wait to see just what a chapbook is. As I drove home, eagerly anticipating the feel of the paper, the words inside-waiting for me to devour them, I imagined an 8 by 11 printed book, laying dormant in a large envelope, possibly squished by the harsh happenings of the mailroom. When I entered the kitchen, there was a white bubble-wrapped envelope ready for opening. A “thank-you” was sharpied across the seal. It was reassurance that the chapbook-culture is alive and personal.
The book was small, a half inch smaller than my hand. The paper felt like a mash up of toilet paper and yarn. It opened to a cardboard cover for structure, computer paper, and black ink. I removed the textured cover and held it up to the light. Fuchsia leaves and mossy greens showed their outlines. I’m sure I’ll try to copy the cover one day- if I ever find the tools. When I began to read, I let the words wash over me. It was simply written, and well spaced. The phrase “the boat will stay afloat as long as you pretend to row” has stuck with me. The dream like quality of the work is expressed in the cloudlike cover and texture.
Reviewed by Rebecca Cape