Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange

September 15, 2014

  A Project of the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University

When it comes to chapbooks, the definition seems as variable as the poetry they contain. Here’s what Brian A. Klems at Writer’s Digest has to say about chapbooks. (The term chapbook apparently comes from chap(man) book, because such publications were once peddled by an itinerant tradesman known as a chapman, with word origins related to cheap.)

However you describe them, chapbooks offer a window into a poet’s most recent, and sometimes most experimental, work. The challenge, unless you live in a city large enough to support a bookstore that stocks a wide selection of poetry chapbooks, such as City Lights in San Francisco or Open Books in Seattle, is to see chapbooks outside the context of poetry readings.

Melissa Eleftherion Carr, a Mendocino County (CA) librarian, and Elise Ficarra, associate director of the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University, are starting to meet that challenge with the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange. A digital repository for “emerging print poetry chapbook collections,” the Exchange is, according to Melissa, “community-curated, which essentially means that contributors are invited to each invite another poet to join. We are always open to new contributors, and strive for a diverse collection.”

The Exchange is growing slowly, with about 40 chapbooks currently listed. Each publication is carefully documented and reproduced in PDF, viewable online.

To learn more, visit the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange
and see Melissa Eleftherion Carr’s description of the Exchange and a transcript of her presentation on the Exchange from AWP 2014.

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One Response to “Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange”


  1. Reblogged this on cjprinceauthor and commented:
    What do you say?


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