Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ugly Duckling Presse

Half the pleasure of reading poems, is holding the book that carries them. Lately, I've been enjoying works from Ugly Duckling Presse simply for that reason. All of their books have that hand-made feel, boasting the appearance that each was carefully crafted in a book arts class or an artist's studio. Many titles are limited editions printed on vintage paper, and these gems are built with such beauty, it is clear that whoever did the pressing, cutting and sewing, took great pride in doing so. I tell you, a book from UDP is designed with hands (not just reading eyes) in mind, making it feel as good as it reads.

When the presentation of a book is as thoughtful as the words inside, one cannot help but do more than just "read" its pages. Poems are such delicate objects, it only makes sense that one must handle with care. When I feel their texture in my palm, it is like holding a vessel of inspiration. Inspiration to write poems, read new books and support small presses. When it comes to UDP, I would like to add every title to my personal library, building upwards and from within a collection already squeezed to its limit on shelves. I can see it now: their spines side by side, some stitched with soft thread of a vibrant hue and some thinly adorned with design carried over from the cover. Now, only deciding on which to read...as we mustn't forget there are words inside everything.

I first heard of the press in October of 2008, when one of the founding editors, Matvei Yankelevich, read at CCA. Since then, I have benefited from exposure to the press because it continually motivates me to write more and more, so that one day my work might fit, gloriously, inside a book, like art. Below is a glimpse into some of their titles. Enjoy and, please, feel free to judge by the covers. I do.

All book images from the Ugly Duckling Presse library archive on their website.


  1. I would be delighted to make a book for you

  2. these books are so beautiful. thanks for sharing!

  3. so beautiful. i'm really wanting to take a bookmaking class right now. i think when/if i head to buenos aires i will do it fo sho. love.

  4. LOVE! specially the blue bird one.

  5. gorgeous! can't wait to see you. xox

  6. what beauties!
    ps bright star is shines so bright! love that we love it so much together. sooo much about it is just so indescribably perfect. xo.