Recorded on February 23, 2020
Aaron asks about the design and format of PGP microchapbooks and zines. Dessa talks about keeping them small for mailing, poetry socks, sticker broadsides. Amanda mentions Warren Dean Fulton’s photo booth poetry project through Pooka Press.
Dessa Bayrock lives in Ottawa with two cats and a variety of succulents, one of which occasionally blooms. She used to fold and unfold paper for a living at Library and Archives Canada, and is currently a PhD student in English, where she continues to fold and unfold paper. Her work has appeared in Funicular, PRISM, and Poetry Is Dead, among others, and her work was recently shortlisted for the Metatron Prize for Rising Authors. She is the editor of post ghost press. You can find her, or at least more about her, at dessabayrock.com, or on Twitter at @yodessa.
We speak to Dessa about her press, postghostpress, an Ottawa-based micropress, the joys of being able to carry poetry in a pocket and how that inspired her to create the press. We discuss pockets and Venn diagrams. Aaron asks about the difference between digital poetry and poems in the pocket.
Aaron asks what inspired the name “Post Ghost Press”? Dessa talks about her experience working at Library and Archives Canada, sorting World War I soldiers’ files for a digitization project, and a nightmare she had about a soldier.
We discuss the need to inform authors before posting their work on line as a publisher. We talk about creative non fiction and short forms.
Dessa talks about the meditative nature of putting together the chapbooks and the zine, old magazines and textbooks she uses for the backgrounds, and how the work inspires the choice of background. Work that doesn’t lend itself well to this type of design isn’t published. Amanda talks about writing with visual in mind. Dessa will ask writers what they envision for the design. Amanda mentions her loathing of Arial font.
Aaron asks about using media other than paper for the press. Dessa talks about seeing poetry in surprising places. The press’s mantra is that it can put poems everywhere. Amanda mentions needing collaborations between artists. Dessa talks about a project relating to tarot cards.
Aaron wants local coffee shops to put poems on their take out cups. Dessa wants to put short stories on beer cans and urges brewers to get in on it. Amanda reminds listeners that she writes about tea a lot and would have a few poems that aren’t P.G. available.
We talk about Small Poems for the Masses, a zine with 5 issues so far. Dessa talks about the zine being like a poem house party. Amanda asks for someone to do anthologies with contributions unbound. Dessa quotes Alice Munro. Dessa talks about the tarot project and how different cards with poem fragments would interact to form different poems.
Dessa talks about Kanika Lawton’s Monster (Girl) Theory, one of the microchapbooks published by PGP.
Dessa talks about how receptive and delighted people are about the press and the work.
Aaron tries to unfold Monster (Girl) Theory and we listen. We discuss ASMR?, initialisms vs acronyms.
We ask Dessa what the challenges of running PGP are. She mentions not having enough time.
Meanwhile Aaron keeps trying to fold up the chapbook.
Dessa talks about her Patreon subscribers and how patient they are.
Dessa has been inspired by The Blasted Tree, Kyle Flemmer. Amanda mentions her Vispo Bible chapbook, John, which she loves. Amanda also mentions Puddles of Sky and Michael Casteels.
Amanda mentions the Ottawa Zine Off and zines. Dessa talks about her dream projects and wishes she had more time to work on them. We talk about how great the poetry socks were. Amanda reminisces about how much everyone loved the socks at the John Newlove Poetry Award. Other possibilities: t-shirts, tea bag tags. Amanda mentions Alixandra Bamford’s Tasseomancy: http://www.krikri.be/festivals/infusoria/alixandrabamford.html
Dessa mentions resin casting for words to make dice. We discuss materiality and digital vs physical creation. Dessa is more comfortable with tactile form.
Aaron asks how publishing others inspires Dessa’s own writing. She says she writes less but better. We all talk about how being an editor affected our own writing. Aaron asks about current projects. Dessa talks about a collaborative project with a friend. Amanda asks about small press fairs. Dessa mentions the Magical Girl Market at the Shaw Centre on June 27. https://www.facebook.com/events/2507053306180679/
Thanks to Dessa, to Charles for the processing, to Jennifer Pederson for the intro and outro and to you for listening. Stay tuned for a new episode soon!