Women's Work

Two weeks ago, I began a collaborative chapbook project with my super talented poet-printer friend, Emma Sovich. We're both letterpress printersshe's actually close to finishing her MFA in Book Arts at the University of Alabamaand as evidenced by our letterpress-centric Asheville vacation a year ago, we're pretty passionate about it. For such an industrial art, the letterpress printing renaissance that we're living right now is also largely populated by women. And all of these awesome women in the print shop has us feeling like the proper granddaughters of Rosie the Riveterat home amid the smells of lead type and rubber-based ink, working to the hum of the motorized proof or platen press. 

Image by Emma Sovich

Our collaborative chapbooktentatively titled Women's Workwill attempt to use the cast-iron imagery of the print shop to create a contrast with the traditional notion of softer, domestic tasks as "women's work." As relatively straightforward as this prompt sounds in concept, it does become a bit more tangled and difficult when you get down to the minutiae. The first poem I have written for this project casts a platen press in the role of clothes iron and ironing board, a housewife using a platen press to iron her family's clothes. This poem in particular plays on two definitions of the word "press": 
  1. to press clothes; to smooth out wrinkles in the fabric;
  2. a machine that prints text on paper by creating an impression of the metal type.
The end result is a poem that discusses the dehumanizing desire for one-dimensionality. A flatness of character created by stereotypes of domestic womanhood. Emma and I hope that, in the end, the fifteen to twenty poems we write for this chapbook manage to construct a kind of printers' feminist manifesto (or even a feminists' printing manifesto). Establishing through poetry the noble motto of the Ladies of Letterpress

"Dedicated to the Proposition that 
a Woman's Place is in the Print Shop."


And in other poetry news:
  • Poet Sandra Marchetti recorded her reading of my poem "Foxwife," published in Midway Journal this past October. I love her sensuous interpretation and her deep, lush voice. 
  • A new review by April Jones of Fairy Tale Review's Emerald Issue has been published on The Review Review. "It is a collection of insanely skilled authors and artists who take Dorothy's magical journey to a more modern audience." And I am so honored to have my poem amongst their pieces! 
  • And in just 4 days, Cherry Tree (on which I serve as managing editor) will open for its first reading period for general submissions. Even though this is my first time at the helm, I feel ready to manage this mischief. So send your best work our way, beginning August 15!


  1. Wonderful idea, with a very real sense of history.

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Charles! I am particularly excited about this project and I have high hopes for how it will develop and deepen with each new poem.


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