I have recently developed a new appreciation for an old art form. Hand-stitched chapbooks are a beautiful way to express creative works. I love knowing that someone once touched pages, marked with familiar words, and wondered what kind of hands would touch the same pages in the future. I wonder the same thing when I press pages with a whale bone and bind the spine with a needle and thread.
Today, I am holding a Projective Industries chapbook. It arrived in a sandpaper-colored cd mailer. Inside the mailer, the chapbook had been wrapped in turquoise tissue paper and finished off with a pastel green inch-wide paper closure. I would have felt the need to unwrap it delicately; however, my husband was the one to open it. I just watched blankly because neither of us realized that it was intended for me. He unceremoniously ripped off the little closure and crumpled the tissue paper in one hand before throwing it to the floor. He flipped through the book briefly with a confused look on his face.
“Ah. This must be yours,” he said, before handing it over.
I felt slightly robbed of the opportunity to open something, but I got over that quickly at the prospect of inspecting my new book.
The cover is 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches and gray-scaled. Tiny horizontal lines overlay a sketch of what I believe to be a map, or clouds. The title, displayed on the cover, reads Novel. It turns out to be a dust jacket. Nice. The flip side of the jacket is a bigger version of the map/cloud cover design sans title. The interior cover is black. Two sections are stitched together with a dark reddish-brown thread in a simple stitch with two loops per section. The jacket is glued to the edge of the back interior cover. The fact that it was glued bothered me at first, but I convinced myself that this is for my own good. This will prevent me from losing the dust jacket, which I will inevitably do otherwise.Well played Projective Industries- well played.
Lucy Ives is the author of Novel. The work begins with a quote from George Oppen. “Written structure /Shape of art /More formal” led me to believe that the intentions would be evident in the format of the poems. The format was inconsistent throughout, but purposeful within each respective section. I am assuming this was a stylistic choice by Ives and not an error by the chapbook editors.
Ives writes with an aversion to cohesion. However, she doesn’t seem to thrive on chaos like some of her contemporaries. The language is soft, yet unromantic. Her overall approach is confusing, but there is something simple and intriguing in the delivery. I would recommend this chapbook if you like more abstract poetry.
For this chapbook, or to view an array of other hand-stitched chapbooks by Projective Industries, please visit www.projectiveindustries.com.