It's an honor to be asked to do the February Picks as one of the incessant wallflowers of AAPA. Being that, I congratulate everyone who manages to get something into the bundle. For my many years in the organization, first in the early 1970s when I got my Kelsey from the factory, and then after a lapse of some decades starting again in 2012 when I got involved with a local museum with an 1850s press and print shop, I've failed to produce more than a handful of contributions to the bundle myself. I don't know why, because I'm inspired monthly by the bundle to do some writing and printing of my own.
As my interest, not necessarily my skill, is in letterpress type and design, my eyes are naturally attracted to a couple members' contributions each month. I'm a sucker for a clever motto on a nicely laid out card and many find their way to the museum print shop where I volunteer. The gems among the journals and longer writings I usually discover some months later as I decide I finally need to clear a pile of them from my desk. Both John Carvalho's printed items catch my eye first, Kent's Winter Curse and The Raven's "punny poetic pangram" on Poe-a-tree! I'd give Poe-a-tree the advantage since it addresses the Poe Theme. Both get extra credit for the hand made papers that never cease to amaze me.
You can always reel me in with a beautiful border or interesting font. Both of course are present on Gene and Lawrence's entry from Nine-18-Thousandths Press. Our historical society press is of the Victorian Era so naturally I love the ornate border and the initials which are cleverly used to print the title of the poem, Cycles, that appears on their contribution. I didn't immediately recognize the words as lyrics to a song famously sung by Ol' Blue Eyes or the author of them, Gayle Caldwell, so this piece did another thing I enjoy, sent me into an internet rabbit hole where I learned things I didn't know about the New Christy Minstrels and more when I really meant to look up the initials font in my specimen books. El Grito del Lobo Press also gets a mention for the Poetic Voices collection, but especially for the beautiful red border that frames the title page.
Lastly, a special mention goes to Covid - Never More from Hen Prints Press for being the most timely and original to speak to the Poe theme. I'm a big Poe fan and the other Poe related pieces are sure to find their way into my volume of The Complete Edgar Allen Poe, but the words by Suzanne Olsen marrying the horror of The Raven and Covid will by me be forgotten never more.
[Conestoga Press is the historic press where I volunteer when there's no pandemic. The Dancing Rainbow Press is my hobby press established in 1973.]
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