Thursday, February 6, 2014

The "&" Club

The Ampersand Club (of Minneapolis & Saint Paul) offered three programs this fall, beginning with that delivered at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) by the fine-press printer & letterman extraordinaire, Russell Maret of New York City, who came to the Twin Cities in advance of a much heralded fishing trip with the wood engraver & naturalist, Gaylord Schanilec; David Esslemont, the proprietor of the Solemnities Press, Decorah Iowa; & Dan DeSimone, Lessing Rosenwald Curator at Library of Congress (& starting in January, head of rare books just across the street at the Folger Shakespeare Library); plus another straggler.  While the fishing was not so rewarding for the rest, it was quite fine for the master (dare I say it…? No!) angler Maret, just as fine as his delightful talk which focused largely on his upcoming edition of Euclid. Maret also printed a very handsome invitation for the event—soon, if not already, an ephemeral rarity in the canon.

In October, the straggler himself presented an illustrated lecture at his old home, 212 N. Second Street, Minneapolis, & the home of the Campbell-Logan Bindery (Greg Campbell, prop. & landlord). His subject was long-time Ampersand member Terrence Williams, publisher of Xerox & mimeograph poetry (broadsides & chapbooks) at Lawrence, Kansas in the mid-1960s. Williams, a one-time employee of the antiquarian bookseller William P. Wreden in Palo Alto, published many notable poets before they achieved their lasting fame, including the Nobel Prize winner Tomas Transtromer (his first appearance in print in the Western Hemisphere), Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, the Eds Dorn & Sanders (the latter of Fugs fame) & most notably, Allen Ginsberg with whom he had a life-long friendship.

Ampersand’s November meeting was hosted by Greg & Luana Campbell & was presented by Eric Lorberer, founder & editor of Rain Taxi, a quarterly review for contemporary literary fiction, non-fiction, & poetry, & the founder of the semi-annual Twin Cities Book Festival. Eric has also been a behind-the-scenes consultant for the Twin Cities Book Fair which is sponsored annually by the Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association the last weekend of every June. As is tradition, Ampersand will not have a December meeting, opting instead for a wild & raucous holiday bacchanal in early January celebrating the bitter depths of the Minnesota winter & all things inky & wise. Future programs include those on the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art, an artist cooperative located in the historic warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis; John James Audubon; & the Red Dragon Press.

Thanks and cheers!, as always, to our hard-working board, Peggy Korsmo-Kennon (president), Jim Wicklatz (secretary); John Moriarty (treasurer); Duncan Campbell (web officer); Greg Campbell (mail officer), Pat Coleman (archives officer), Rob Rulon-Miller (publications officer), Richard Stephens (printing officer); Jody Williams (house officer), Paulette Myers-Rich, & Jana Pullman.

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