Minnesota Center for Book Art’s twenty-sixth Winter Book features poetry and prose exploring the complex conversations between artists and viewers. every-blest-thing-seeing-eye imagines the varied experiences of viewing artworks in a gallery. Curation is meant to direct viewers, but every viewer comes to each artwork in a physically distinct manner– from myriad intellectual, emotional, and spiritual starting points. When an Ojibwe poet acts as curator, her statements on the work of indigenous artists become part of a larger telling, a non-linear narrative in which characters and emblems, just like the artists who create them, cannot be fully fathomed. And yet, we must look. We must see every blest thing.
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The twenty-fourth in MCBA’s perennial Winter Book series celebrating the handmade book, The War Between the Water and the Road is a modern parable regarding justice through the eyes of a young boy, full of cautionary tales, humor and elements of fantasy.
Author William Alexander studied theatre and folklore at Oberlin College and English at the University of Vermont. He currently lives, writes, and teaches in Minneapolis. His short stories have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies; his debut novel, Goblin Secrets, received the 2012 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
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As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. These two aspects of identity combine in Kimmerer’s recent book of essays, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. In a special partnership with publisher Milkweed Editions, MCBA’s 2013 Winter Book Minidewak reproduces four selected readings from Braiding Sweetgrass in a limited edition, handmade artist’s book.
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Lessons for Our Time, published by Minnesota Center for Book Arts on December 15, 2012, is the twenty-second in a series celebrating the handmade book. Under the direction of MCBA Artist and Adult Programs Director Sara R. Parr, two editions were produced, all letterpress printed by master printer Erin Maurelli and members of MCBA’s artistic community.
The Chapbook Edition (300 numbered copies) was bound by volunteers working under the direction of Erin Maurelli and Sara R. Parr. The Deluxe Edition (26 lettered copies) was bound by master binder Jana Pullman.
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Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is proud to announce the 2011 Winter Book, Come and Get It by beloved humorist Kevin Kling, with illustrations by Michael Sommers. Come and Get It becomes the twenty-first in MCBA’s perennial series celebrating the handmade book; the book will be released on December 10, 2011 at a special publication party at MCBA’s gallery and studios in downtown Minneapolis.
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Minnesota Center for Book Arts is proud to announce the publication of Winter Ink, MCBA’s twentieth annual Winter Book. Winter Ink is a contemporary take on traditional Asian book arts of woodblock printing, binding, papermaking, Sumi-e ink drawing and calligraphy, featuring the work of Laotian-American writer and poet Bryan Thao Worra, with contributions by numerous local artists.
One of the most widely published Laotian writers, Thao Worra’s work frequently explores a wide range of social and cultural themes such as the transient nature of identity and home. His style is frequently experimental and draws from a variety of modern and contemporary influences. His work has appeared in many anthologies and journals including Bamboo Among the Oaks, Paj Ntaub Voice, Whistling Shade, Urban Pioneer, Unarmed, the Asian Pacific Journal and the Journal of the Asian American Renaissance, among many others. Full-length collections include The Tuk-Tuk Diaries: My Dinner With Clusterbombs (2003) and On The Other Side Of The Eye (2007). He was a 2002 Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellow and is an active member of the SatJaDham Lao Literary Project, working actively to promote the work of Laotian and Hmong artists and writers.
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vispoeologee is an eclectic amalgamation of visual literature — a broad term for the disciplines of visual poetry, concrete poetry and post-language writing. In the spirit of Fluxus publications, vispoelogee is a hands-on, gloves-off experience. Inside a utilitarian shell lies a rich array of colors, printing techniques, papers and visual interpretations. MCBA’s nineteenth annual Winter Book publication is more than a collectible. It’s also an adventure not soon to be forgotten.
The work of 27 international poets was selected by editors John Bennett, Thomas Cassidy and Scott Helmes. All three poets, who met via mail art, have corresponded with one another for decades. They are not only scholars of the literary art form, but also practitioners with international reputations. The 2007 Winter Book is available in three editions (Deluxe, Standard and Chapbook), each designed by MCBA Artistic Director Jeff Rathermel. Master printers Allison Chapman and Monica Edwards Larson used a variety of methods to reproduce the work, including letterpress, digital printing and relief printmaking. Helpers arrived from across the artistic community to assist in binding and assembling the editions, fulfilling the tradition of involving volunteers for the final touches of the annual Winter Book project.
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MCBA’s eighteenth Winter Book publication, The Grammarian’s Five Daughters, dotes lovingly on language through the story of a grammarian too poor to give her daughters a dowry. Instead, she sends each one into the world with a bag of words. Each daughter, embarking upon her life’s journey, soon discovers the winning ways of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions. Taking the reader through unusual twists and turns, the story reveals how having the right word for the occasion can lead to unexpected fortune.
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MCBA’s seventeenth Winter Book publication, There Is No Other Way to Speak, is an anthology edited by critically acclaimed author Bill Holm and features twelve Minnesota writers: Adrian Louis, Susan Steger Welsh, Tom Hennen, Wang Ping, Phebe Hanson, Leo Dangel, Philip S. Bryant, Anna Meek, John Rezmerski, Freya Manfred, Thomas R. Smith and Robert Bly.
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Distance From the Sun is a retrospective collection of thirty prose poems from the past thirty years of Jenkins’ writing career. The poems provide the foundation for this collaborative artists’ book featuring letterpress printed text, hand-drawn illustrations and fine binding.
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MCBA’s fifteenth annual Winter Book publication is entitled Winter Reader 2003 – 2004 and features five meditative texts by Louise Erdrich.
“. . . Writing on a bus through Pennsylvania as the deer graze, slim on black wire legs, the green pastures and the stone barns. Writing in the women’s bathroom of a bar, a restaurant, a train station. Writing stupidly, with gratitude, the day’s events on an outbound plane delayed and de-icing. Writing to shut out the prayerful thoughts, the pilot’s voice, writing for the joy of seeing words fill neat lines physically traveling the page. Writing for the texture of the handwriting and the feel of the pen, writing for my sanity. For truly, without writing, I would be lost and diminished. I would be empty. I really don’t know how else I would bear the joy of living.”
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Larry Millett’s fictional St. Paul saloon-keeper, Shadwell Rafferty, makes his solo debut in “The Mystery of the Jeweled Cross,” the Minnesota Center for Book Arts’ 14th Winter Book.
“The Mystery of the Jeweled Cross” is the first Winter Book to feauture a series character and the first in which Rafferty dissects a mystery on his own. Set at the turn of the century, the story centers on the theft of a valuable cross from the old St. Paul Cathedral, which stood at Sixth and St. Peter. “Rafferty reads about this mystery in the newspaper, suspicious things happen, he inserts himself into the action and delivers a Christmas present,” says Millett, who had never written short story fiction. “I designed it to be a holiday story with a Victorian, Dickensian sort of feel.”
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“My father is gone and BooBoo is here. And I stand somewhere in the middle, between them both.” writes Guest, recalling her father’s illness and death as she accompanies her young granddaughter on an ordinary wintry outing. Slipping and sliding over sidewalks layered with thick ice, this bright day — still a month from spring — offers opportunity for deeper contemplation of existence and loss. Ice Walk brings expression and solace, through its simple sentient narrative, to the mysterious journey of life.
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The titular house, located in Minnesota’s beautiful St. Croix River valley, provides more than a honeymoon cottage for the recently married Bruce and Elaine who have rented it for the first fragile season of their reconciliation. The story is a dramatic meditation on the possibilities of forgiveness and the indelible claims of memory.
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The 1999 Minnesota Center for Book Arts winter publication opens with the warm sentience of a summer night: the sibilant echo of grass swaying at night, the aroma of burnt grass, the dark translucence of trees in full leaf. “Summer 1961,” in which these images appear, is the first of fifteen new poems collected in Saturday Nights in Marietta, MCBA’s eleventh Winter Book.
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