Saturday, March 20, 2010

River Rock Press Broadsides

Well, I have spent the last couple of days printing broadsides in the basement and after solving a myriad of technical issues, I think they turned out quite nice. Printing on a Kelsey Excelsior is very labour intensive and quite a fitness workout—look for my new video “Rock Solid Abs Through Table-top Letterpress Printing“ (marketed towards late thirty-something middle-aging poets who are sagging around the middle) coming to a store near you! Anyways, these broadsides signal the completion of all my printing projects for the near future as it is time for me to get back to writing poems. On another note, Paul Vermeersch has conducted a little interview with me about being a novice printer over at Open Book Toronto. Enjoy the photos below!

This is a broadside I did for Carleton Wilson who is the editor of both of my books and who published my first chapbook Form Letters under his Junction Books imprint so it was with great pleasure that I was able to return the favour. I cannot take any credit for the design of the broadside as Carleton is a graphic designer by trade and the poem itself is about typography amongst other things so it was natural that he also do the design. For whatever reason, this poem was difficult to print all at once so I ended up having to cut up the plate and print it in separate runs. The typeface is Garamond PremrPro printed 8½x11 on Canson Edition paper and limited to an edition of 50 copies.

This is a broadside of Adam Getty's poem "Cain's Song" which appeared in his poetry collection Repose by Junction Books, and imprint of Nightwood Editions. Adam is one of my closest friends and I value his opinions on all things poetry. I found myself deep in the weeds with this one and really struggled which might have been the type-face I chose as some digital type-faces do not lend themselves to photopolymer printing as well as others, but also the rollers would not meet the areas of the plate I wanted to ink in red without lots of extra fiddling with the taping on my rails. For whatever reason, the printing gods were not smiling on me. The typeface is Granjon-SC on Canson Edition paper and limited to an edition of 50 copies.

This is a broadside of a poem I did for my best friend Paul Vermeersch which will appear in his upcoming fourth collection of poems The Reinvention of the Human Hand out with M&S this Spring. This was the easiest time I've had with a printing project thus far which I'm thinking had to do with the paper I used which was Rives - it prints like butter! I had only a slight problem with getting the title to align properly with the rest of the poem but my wife Teresa came to the rescue. I had to do three seperate runs with this one which took about five hours. The typeface is BaskervilleOldFacSCD printed on Rives paper and limited to an edition of 50 copies.


  1. Beautful work, Chris. I'm passing along your observations about the Rives papers to my husband John Pass who does most of the hard work at our High Ground Press. Old presses, old rollers, a press-bed used in the past for die-cutting (though not by us...)...Good to have others doing this work.
    Theresa Kishkan

  2. Thanks Theresa for stopping by. Printing is definately a struggle and sometimes frustrating but it is also rewarding. I'm still leaning as I go. The Rives paper worked well for me and I ordered it from Dick Blick art supplies and then had it cut down once I received it here.