Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Morning by Roger Snell

Plein Air Editions (A Bootstrap series edited by Tom Morgan and Tyler Doherty) is pleased to announce the
publication of The Morning by Roger Snell

Light torn spathe

caught the up-

ward drift

of sun splay--

a blue flux

in the eye

$12.00. Available from Bootstrap Press

Saturday, October 25, 2008

11/15/08 Bootstrap Book Release Party

November 15, 2008
P.A. 's Lounge
Doors @ 9:00 pm

Coming Soon---I NO LONGER BELIEVE IN THE SUN: Love Letters to Katie Couric

Love Letters to Katie Couric

Derek Fenner

November 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Coming Soon---PARISH KREWES by Micah Ballard

Micah Ballard

November 2008

Cover Art by David Meltzer

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Join us in Lowell this weekend...

for THE MASSACHUSETTS POETRY FESTIVAL (click here for website.)

Here is where Bootstrap will be:


(curated by Ryan Gallagher and Derek Fenner of Bootstrap Productions)

10 − 5 PM

ALL Arts Gallery

246 Market Street

Meet the editors and publishers of 30 different presses and magazines, purchase their books and journals and “talk shop”. Many of the presses will be offering dis­counts and deals.


(curated by Ryan Gallagher and Derek Fenner of Bootstrap Productions)

11 AM − 12 Noon

ALL Arts Gallery

246 Market Street

The Small Press panel will examine the following two areas:

1. Investigating histories and lineages in the small press world.

2. The future of Small Press Publishing in the 21st Century.

Panelists to include: Ed Sanders (Blake Route, and many other past ventures) Geoffrey Young (The Figures), Anna Moschovakis (Ugly Duckling Presse), Re­becca Wolff (Fence Books), Kyle Schlesinger (Cuneiform Press). Moderated by Joseph Torra (Pressed Wafer).

Marjorie Agosín & Ed Sanders

Emceed by Ryan Gallagher

Saturday, October 11

1:30 – 2:30 PM

Lowell High School Freshman Academy

43 French Street (please use John Street side entrance)

Urban Village Arts Series (UVAS): MUSIC & POETRY

featuring Joe Torra, Eileen Myles & music by Frank Morey

Emceed by Derek Fenner and David Robinson

Saturday, October 11

4 − 5:30 PM

Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center Theater

246 Market Street

There are some other gems in the schedule--details below:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

from "Consider the Lobster"

February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Sketch; Dr. Dre" by Ryan Gallagher

"Sketch; Dr. Dre". graphite and ink on paper. 6.5 x 7'. 2008. Ryan Gallagher.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On Lullaby: Speculations on the First Active Sense with text by Christine Hume and music by James Marks

“Uncle Charles and Dante clapped. They were older than his father and mother but uncle Charles was older than Dante.” (Joyce)

When I was a senior at Boston College, knowing that writing (specifically poetry) was as much my life as any of my other loves, and after having devoured Kerouac in high school while living in Lowell (where I was born) and after a detailed study of canonical English, Irish, and American Literature (and also plenty of School of Quietude contemporary poets,) I went to hear Robert Pinsky give a reading and a talk after he had been nominated to be the Poet Laureate. This was also the year, or roughly the same time (If my memory serves me correctly) that Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize in Literature and gave a reading in Saint Ignatius Church on campus, escorted in by three or four bagpipers. There had to be close to a thousand people there to listen to him read, which he did for quite some time. I was moved by how quiet and forgettable it all seemed. I thought time actually slowed down. Though this is an interesting effect that language can have on human experience, I was bored by it. I like when my mind races and wants to devour. On a side note, I was married in that church in 2004.

Pinsky talked a bit about his process and reasons for translating Dante, most of which were about his attempt to try and fit Dante’s Italian into slant rhyme—his way, I assume, of making Dante’s language more like his own than learning from the intricate rhyme patterns and grammatical constructions of this Romance Language to rejuvenate and experiment with his own linguistic experience.[1] (Fortunately, a few years later, I was able to sit under the tent on the Naropa lawn (when they still had a tent during the Summer Program and Naropa was still an Institute, not a University) and listen to Robin Blazer’s lecture “Where’s Hell…?” on Dante on 6.29.99 and experience this opera of human imagination as antidote.) Pinsky also made a snide remark to a student’s question about his taste for Dylan Thomas, to which Pinsky replied something to the effect (I’m paraphrasing here, of course) that Thomas has great lines, but none of his writing was able to come together in any cohesive way to make a unified poem. This was the moment that I decided I needed to leave East Coast Academia and see what was out there in another world (any other world) of Contemporary Writing. I knew there had to be more writing after the Modernists that I liked and the Beats and the New York School of the 50s and 60s (literature that could only be taught at Boston College under the guise of “The Whitman Tradition”—which was a course that probably would not have even been approved a decade before I took it.) Eventually I found my way to the writers who were working at Naropa at the time and made my way out there. (I keep meaning to catalog who was there at the time and what classes were being taught by whom, because I think it was such an interesting collection of minds—.) I don’t mean to disparage this “classical” education though—I enjoyed it, actually, and felt quite humbled to be there, but was ready to move on.

This is a rather long and personal way of getting around to the pleasure of my Ugly Duckling subscription (the best and most pleasurable deal going right now)[2] and my amusement in reading and listening to Lullaby: Speculations on the First Active Sense with text by Christine Hume and an accompanying CD of ethereal music by James Marks. The book is beautiful, as many of the UDP books are—hand made and “printed with love on Fabrino paper” as it states about the cover in the colophon which includes a CD placed inside the front flap. It is hand-stitched with transparent fly leafs and has a text design that is crisp and flows down the tall page-size of the book. But on to the text, of which this is mainly about and which is a delight to read with the music behind it—

It is precisely because there is great line after great line, any and all of which are quotable, that Christine Hume’s writing (which I read for the first time tonight) immediately interests me. She doesn’t try to come to any “cohesion.” Cohesion in poetry too often creates entropy, which stops motion (and also stifles emotion,) rather than offers up eternal possibility within structure. When the book ends, there is a feeling that the language is still changing, shifting, searching for connections. I’d much prefer this as a reader of poetry than to be left with a thing or an idea that can be explained or described afterwards as a “cohesive” unit. So, thank you Robert Pinsky, I guess…

I’m reminded of the opening of Joyce’s A Portrait…, where Stephen hides under the table and hears the lullabies of the “moocow” and the “tralalas” and the loaded “Pull out his eyes, / Apologise, / Apologise, / Pull out his eyes.” The connection of language to experience and the experience of language as chance within structure (both time and the page) is so immediate and intoxicating to me when I come across it as a reader. Hume’s opening lines, which are each their own stanzas and mostly continue this way for the full eleven pages, begin “Affection of your waking hours breaks into rhythmic blinks // Breathing is the shock of your initiation here // Is and is and is, pulse is prehistory // Even before you listen your body hears itself”(1-4, p.1).

The poem begins with the noun “affection”, which as a verb denotes active change, but as an idea describes a feeling or a sentiment which can really only be experienced as something that is in constant becoming. The next two words are part of a prepositional phrase which asks the reader to be an active participant in the making of the poem, and which also generalizes the experience for all humans because of the malleability of the second person in English. The “your” also acts as an adjective to time personified, which is also “waking up” with and because of language. Affection then “breaks,” showing that possibility is also created through discord, since discord also needs at least two entities to create a relationship. (Discord also threw the Golden Apple in Greek mythology.) The last prepositional phrase returns to rhythm—rhythm experienced visually as “blinks” (language is also visual) as well as completes the near iambic beats that end the line.

The music makes the line stop, or the breath stop, and without punctuation Hume moves the second line to the body, which experiences language as much as the mind does, with the word “[b]reathing” and then makes a metaphor out of it, preceded by a definite article, making the metaphor even less tangible than the noun “shock.” The rhythm of line two is abruptly more jazz-like, with four quick beats before the “shock” hits and is followed by an inviting and eerie “of your initiation” and then an italicized and an uncertain “here”. The italicized adverb leaves the reader with the question of whether the effect of the “here” is to make the reader aware of the experience of reading in the space of the poem, or to pun on the word “hear”, or to force an enjambment with the beginning of the third line which consists of a linking verb and a conjunction, “Is and is and is,” showing that there is a connection between everything. This short phrase could just as easily have been written “To be is to be is to be,” since the function of the linking verb and the conjunction is essentially the same thing.

To exist is to be in relation.

And then comes the comma in the middle of the third line.

The middle of the third line returns to the body with “pulse”, and like the beginning of the second line, connects the physical experience of language to rhythm, a seemingly transient quality that is continually becoming, which Hume then metaphorically connects to “prehistory”, or a time that all humans both share and experience, but can not remember because it is not recorded with language—language being both a way to universalize and individualize experience. The beginning of fourth line “[e]ven” forces another enjambment and then continues “before you listen your body hears itself”, stressing the pun on “here”, or even “hair”—a sign of the body both maturing and perishing. The word “Even”, besides forcing an enjambment, simultaneously implies both possibility and balance. And like the opening of Joyce’s A Portrait…, Hume uses language to invite the reader to experience the language as well as to experience with language. Or, in Hume’s fifth line and stanza, indented and in parentheticals for an extra pause in breath, she writes “(Rhythm is an intelligence activated by being)”.

At this point in the poem, again like Joyce’s opening but with more staccato, Hume has repeated “rhythm” twice, “you(r)” four times, strings lines together with the consonance of “b”s and “p”s, the assonance of “s”s, and the guttural bass of the second person. She also puns on “here”, all creating connections, not through the logic or comprehension offered in sentences that construct definite meaning, but with a lyric grace that understands emotion and the immediacy of experience through language.

Besides the technical deftness that Hume exhibits in the poem, I am also interested in the fact that this poem is not a fixed entity—it does not exist in a vacuum separate from life. Maybe because she weaves in the sense of lullaby with meta-cognitive thought and beautiful language, I was given permission to notice what my mind was noticing and be aware of it—sometimes this was my reaction to the language and other times I was struck with memory. Never were these experiences happening separate from the poem; they were part of my experience of the poem and what also made me want to write during and after reading the poem—hence, my overindulgence with the personal to preface my impressions of Hume’s craft.

“Dante had two brushes in her press. The brush with the maroon velvet back was for Michael Davitt and the brush with the green velvet back was for Parnell. Dante gave him a cachou every time he brought her a piece of tissue paper.” (Joyce)

[1] Heaney’s Beowulf, on the other hand, seems completely successful at producing a lyric and readable translation.

[2] And probably worthy of a separate post…

Ryan Gallagher

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bootscription 2008

Bootscription - Upload a Document to Scribd

If you would like to print these double sided and have them be aligned correctly use the PDF you can find here.
Read this document on Scribd: Bootscription

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On the 5:10 to Dreamland---R.I.P. Bruce Conner

"A rewarding experience for me is a narrative structure where you are not told what to think and what to do. Otherwise, that's what you get in jail. That's what you get with government. And when you get it in art, it can put you to sleep."

Bruce Conner

see you on the other side . . .

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lisa Jarnot's NIGHT SCENES

It may be no surprise to our readers that our dear friend, Lisa Jarnot, has written yet another remarkable book NIGHT SCENES. Our feelings can best be described as reverential jealousy—jealous in how tight, beautiful and sincere these poems are. We are also jealous at how gorgeous the book is—Flood Editions has produced its second beautiful book of poems by Lisa and should also be lauded for its craftsmanship.

Make sure you get a first edition of this one.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Who was Catullus, anyway?

Catullus was born in 84 B.C. in Verona, said to have moved to Rome around 62 B.C. and probably died around 54 B.C. The manuscript that I translated, known now as The Complete Poems of Catullus was rediscovered in Catullus’ hometown around the 14th century. There is even a myth that the manuscript was found in an empty wine cask—after centuries of soaking up the spirits. In just three decades, Catullus fondled Venus herself, licked the sweat off the upper lip of Bacchus, and gave birth to a blues lyric that has battled time.

Catullus was a young, brash, salacious, and semi-famous celebrity at a time when most poetry was probably performed. Think Shelley mixed with Eminem (at his most vulgar moments) as well as political and mythological and sometimes absurd. In a great little prefatory description, Rabinowitz asks us to imagine Catullus as a “playboy in the midst of a collapsing republic—roughly the Roman equivalent of a rockstar. He could terrify a general or win a woman (or boy) just by inviting him to be the hero of a poem. Caesar begged for his friendship, and, what’s even more remarkable, Cicero shut up when he spoke.”

Catullus wrote many love poems, and he wrote many hate poems. He wrote mythology. He translated Greek poets like Sappho and Callimachus. He has a short, absurd play with two characters, one of which is the front door to a house, who tells us that the father-in-law knocked up his son’s wife in a famous political family because his son is impotent. He writes heart-wrenching poems about his brother’s death, and people that have died at war. He belittles men (mostly ex-friends and politicians) for the small size of their—well, manhood. He has poems about waking up with prostitutes and many more poems about the tumultuous relationship with his lover, or his main lover, who he names Lesbia, but is known to be the historical character Clodia, who just so happens to be the wife of a conservative consul.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Karen Hagen

Haven't been this engaged since the SHOCK DOCTRINE. Behold the Long Emergency. Hard to believe LE has been out since 2005. Currently tackling PEAK EVERYTHING by Richard Heinberg. Check out him out below.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tyler Doherty

Bootstrap is proud to announce the addition of Tyler Doherty to our posting team here on the blog. We think that Tyler is one of the greatest living poets around. We are also going to print a new book of poems by Tyler (we also published his first book--Bodhidharma Never Came to Hatboro (of which we only have about 30 copies left.)) We would love to print all 1,000 pages of his various manuscripts. But, we imagine it would cost about $10,000. We would be happy to accept a donation to do this--are you an angel? Until then, you are going to have to wait for his book and read his blog posts here--poetic haibun spontaneous Buddhist improvisational jazz Philly poems...everything he writes is gold.
Peace people.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ryan's collarbone is not connected to his...


A Separated Shoulder XRay modified to easily show bones. Notice the separation between the end of the collarbone and the scapula. This is what my x-ray looked like.

Type III

In a Type III AC separation both acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments are torn. A significant bump is formed by the lateral end of the clavicle. This bump is permanent. The clavicle can be moved in and out of place on the shoulder. It may take 12 weeks to heal, and physical therapy can be beneficial. It may take even longer for the shoulder strength to approach feeling normal. The injured shoulder may not be able to take the abuse that it could previously, but for most purposes it will be quite usable and sufficient. However, there still is controversy as to whether or not surgery may be necessary for optimal shoulder use in sport. (photo of x-ray and info from Wikipedia)

What does this mean? It means it hurts like hell--much more than when I broke my left clavicle in high school (playing hockey). I am eating pain pills like skittles. I think I'll be able to type with two hands pretty soon (as long as I stand with the keyboard properly positioned)--but no painting. And when I stop taking pills, I'll probably be able to read more effectively.

How did this happen? I forgot I was 32, terribly out-of-shape, and as I dove for a basketball and landed awkwardly, my body fell apart. This solidifies my platonic leanings that my body is a prison.

Peace People.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Visiting d.a. levy

Memorial Day 2008

d.a. levy's grave

Whitehaven Cemetery

Mayfield Heights, OH

R. E. Vision #8 / part II - for art kleps

an exodus in autumn/the white tiger has returned
the thunder & lightening is a shock for 100 miles

AK of the AdriondAKs : the SPINing concepts frighten me
it is sad to be a dreamer,unable to dream
a lover unable to love
a builder denied materials
ALL Three rowed out to sea in a seive
gone,gone,gone to the other shore/
landed on the other shore, SVAHA!


oh well/ if the government wants to live on a war economy
i guess we can give them a war---------i feel a dream
death approaching, the anxiety is a bitch.
if you knew the price you will pay for this small
Worse than worshiping the golden calf you
are killing for it
consider the weight of yr possessions
america, twice this weight you will
carry when you die
for the innocent and pure of heart
i am raising the flags/ a warning of storms
Be Prepared to GO HOME LAMBS

i do not have the courage to say
this may be your last sacrifice

they will not weep on wall street
until it is too late & the tears have no meaning

there is no reason to play with death
this is not your country
when i smelled love burning/ i cried
& NOW i smell the horse of the Angel of Death

go home lambs

you are trying to build
a temple in a graveyard
YOU/have years to plan, my days are numbered
LAUGH at my fears and ignore my love
yet love & fear are the only wings to move on

when you have visited your own death
everyday is the last
let yr children be born in the sun
"this country is insane"
in the world of the spirit one does not
lose what he has gained.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

5.27.08 Bill Berkson & Bill Corbett

Don't miss this event!

Bill Berkson

Bill Corbett

Tuesday, May 27
7 pm
Pierre Menard Gallery
10 Arrow Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge. MA

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 15, 2008, at Max Protetch Gallery, 511 W. 22nd, NYC, from 6-8 PM

United Artists, Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, Granary, Roof,
Cuneiform, Bootstrap, The Figures & Ugly Duckling invite you
to a small press party, May 15, 2008, at Max Protetch
Gallery, 511 W. 22nd, NYC, from 6-8 PM, to celebrate the
publication of the following books:

Phyllis Wat, The Influence of Paintings Hung in Bedrooms
Barbara Henning, My Autobiography
Gloria Frym, Solution Simulacra
Reed Bye, Join the Planets
Barbara Jane Reyes, Cherry
Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Mental Commitment Robots
Julie Patton, Notes for Some (Nominally) Awake

Jennifer Firestone, Waves
Geoffrey Young, The Riot Act & Pockets of Wheat
Catullus, The Complete Poems (trans. Ryan Gallagher)
John Wieners, A Book of Prophecies
Tom Morgan, On Going
Jen Bervin, The Desert
Lewis Warsh, Inseparable : Poems 1995-2005

Francesco Clemente & Vincent Katz, Alcuni Telefonini
Clark Coolidge, Space & The Book of During
Bill Berkson, Sudden Address
Ted Greenwald, Two Wrongs
Dan Featherston, The Clock Maker's Memoir
Mimeo Mimeo, edited by Jed Birmingham & Kyle Schlesinger
Nada Gordon, Folly

The Consequence of Innovation: 21st. C. Poetics, ed. Craig Dworkin
Marc Nasdor, Sonnetailia
Gary Sullivan, PPL in a Depot
Christine Hume, Lullaby
Sam Truitt, Vertical Elegies
Jack Micheline, One of a Kind
Aleksandr Skidan, Red Shifting

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Death of Ophelia # 2: Ryan Gallagher

Oil on Canvas, 16 x 20 in., "The Death of Ophelia # 2"

Thursday, May 8, 2008

5.10.08 Matt Hart / Amanda Nadelberg & Nora Almeida / Kate Jaeger

reading starts at 6:00. come early for a drink at the bar if you want. readings occasionally start on time.

from Forklift Ohio: MATT HART

from Isa the Truck Named Isadore: Amanda Nadelberg

from Bootstrap's favorite magazine They Are Flying Planes:

Nora Almeida & Kate Jaeger

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ryan Gallagher reads from his Catullus translations

@ the Revolving Museum on 22 Shattuck Street in downtown Lowell on Thursday, May 8th, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Click here for Map. Click here for directions.

The Urban Village Arts Series (UVAS) will celebrate the release of its first CD, "The Best of UVAS," with a free party. The double CD features live recordings of poets, musicians, authors, singers and other artists of varying specialties who have performed at UVAS over the last year and will be available for $10. All proceeds will go toward funding the UVAS 2008-2009 season. We will be celebrating the event which has grown into a community with free food from a local restaurant and entertainment from Lowell poet, Ryan Gallagher, and local UVAS veterans, Hot Day at the Zoo.

Admission is free, and we hope you'll join us to celebrate the talent of these wonderful local and regional artists as well as the hard work of the UMass Lowell students from the English, Art, and Sound Recording Technology programs who spent the last several months producing the CD.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Derek Fenner @ Poetry Project

April 28, 2008
8:00 p.m.

Derek Fenner

Ara Shirinyan

The Poetry Project at St. Marks Church

131 E. 10th St. New York NY 10003

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Non-traditional Thangka Painting by Ryan Gallagher

"Western Buddha with letter to Bernadette and a page from a pocket Walden." Mixed media on paper. 2005. Cared for by Andrew Schelling.

Thoughts on "Small Press Publishing": from the Archives

Interview with Denny Ludvino (circa 2006?)

DL: I personally love the freedom that independent organizations bring to the world of print. Publishing companies can be so predictable because it’s safe to be predictable, independent companies don’t care about safe, it’s like the exact opposite of what we’re trying to do. I guess in a round about way, what I’m trying to get to is this: since you both run and operate Bootstrap Productions, do either of you feel that there is a certain role the small press plays in the broad scheme of the publishing industry?

Well, we secretly have always desired world domination, or at least a coup of American culture, but we are also realistic—experimental writing and art and music seems most intriguing when it’s hermetic, a little hard to find, something that makes you feel like you have discovered something that not everyone else has caught up to yet—music has always done a better job at this that writing. Or maybe that’s just a creative way of saying that very few people actually read poetry anyway. We just publish what we love, which isn’t limited to poetry—we try not to concern ourselves too much past that.

We do have our mission, which we guess is worth stating, but it reads like a mission. It’s not the most inspirational writing we’ve ever done,

Bootstrap Productions is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit publishing company that promotes the integration of multi-dimensional art forms and experiments into fine press publishing.

The organization seeks to introduce the general public to experimental and contemporary art and writing; to stimulate public interest in the work of new, struggling and relatively unknown artists; and to benefit the community generally by promoting the appreciation of contemporary art and writing.

The organization’s goal is to provide a venue that affords the benefits and aesthetics of a quality small press to committed and brilliant writers, visual artists, and musicians who may not otherwise have the opportunity and freedom to display their work as they envision it.

The organization creates the opportunity for the public to experience and learn about such art and writing that might otherwise never have a public forum.

So yes. In one sense, we’d be pretty psyched if some of our authors and artists find publishers who will pay them money for their art. We never got the “I will never sell out” manifestos from artists and writers. We’ve been trying to sell out for years—who wouldn’t want to make his or her livelihood from a daily artistic practice. (We realize this is an unfairly simplistic criticism).

As far as the “freedoms” we have because of our independence from any sort of major corporate influence—well, we’d love the press to experience some discretionary income, see how it feels to quit our day jobs. Send our writer and artist friends cash to go to the Kentucky Derby or quit their jobs and write books to “rid the world of illiteracy, soporific poetry, and sentimental art”—our unofficial mission.

DL: I know from my own experience running an independent literary journal that the challenges awaiting any independent publisher are numerous. Have there been any areas that have been particularly trying for you guys?

One thing to note before getting to the issue of obstacles is that it is far easier today to keep a small-press afloat than it ever has been. Technology makes it easier each day on a number of fronts. Typesetting can be done on computers, (though letterpress is a beautiful art and should never die.) It’s also easier to locate hard-to-find books through the internet. And generally there are connections happening between artistic/literary communities with common aesthetic principles.

We faced many obstacles when we first started Bootstrap fresh out of grad school. We made a lot of mistakes along the way, from typos to getting gouged by printers who knew we were green. Even when we started in 2001, how to make and print a book was almost this sacred Gnostic process that only a few people knew well. We don’t think that’s fair—that’s one of the reasons we started to take on imprints at Bootstrap, so other people going through the painstaking process of printing books could have some kind of resource.

That said, the avant-garde literature circle is a small community, largely existing outside of the Academy and Universities (where it always has and should remain), and is about these little hidden niches. We recently published Gavin Pate’s first novel, The Way to Get Here, and we sort of cherish his farcical description of us, “when I say small press I mean extra bedrooms, oompa-loompas on leave from Wonka, guys who sweat too much, have tongues covered in postal glue. . . . but you can get it straight from the publisher with paypal. . . . they're at least that high tech (but I still think, somehow, there is an old fashion cash register or abacus involved and a guy with a green visor in the back personally checking things off).” We’re okay with that perception— the word bootstrap has connotations of making something out of nothing, a little modern-day alchemy.

The biggest obstacle always was and is money, in some form or another, whether it’s the money to print a book or store it (almost $100 a month now that we have over ten thousand copies books)—things cost a lot. And sure, being a non-profit helps, but that was a lengthy process to go through to print some books—it was three years of legal paperwork. It has, however, allowed us to accept donations from people we deem saints (and who can receive tax breaks for their contributions). Our profits from book sales take care of our operating costs, but we still have to raise money every time we print a book. We also have been selling our art (we’re both visual artists) and give all that money to the press. We’re waiting for our own version of Ruth Lily, the woman who gave Poetry Magazine 100 million dollars, or for someone to hand us the keys to a Lowell mill and say, “have at it.” Can you imagine what 100 presses could have done with a million dollars each—that seems like it would have been a healthier investment in American culture.

Anyway, this is a long-winded way of getting to something that Bob Creeley said when he taught one summer at our grad school, “Poetry is a team sport.” We firmly believe that team would not be the Yankees.

DL: You guys said, tongue in cheek, that you secretly seek world domination, it seems a good way to begin going about that is by acquiring imprints, which you also touched upon. It seems there is a symbiotic relationship between the imprint and the larger publishing company. The benefits to the smaller publisher seem obvious (greater visibility, nonprofit status under your umbrella, and a wealth of knowledge at their disposal), but in what ways do you see Bootstrap benefiting from this type of relationship? I'd also like to know what do you look for when considering someone or some organization to partner with Bootstrap?

Actually, this is more of a genuine effort at being altruistic. There are so many manuscripts that deserve to be in print, but we are only human. We also get some exposure from a new community and take a small percentage of sales so that we break even distributing, acquiring ISBN numbers, helping with the printing, etc. This is part of our non-profit mission that we do because we believe it is the right thing to do, just as we plan to establish outreach programs for at-risk youth in the near future. We don’t really see art and literature as being separate from life. This is why we spent three years filling out 80 pages of legal paperwork to become a 501(c)3 not-for-profit. Because people can give us donations and receive tax-breaks for their contributions, we also have a duty, legally and morally, to help the community somehow.

DL: I read on the Peregrine (a literary journal out of Western Mass) Web site that their name, stemming from an endangered species of bird, came about because of the transitory nature of literary publications. They said publications lasted on the average of 3 years. As a production company that publishes experimental work in both literature and art, I'd imagine that your survival is continually threatened (we know ours is). As you say that you'd like to have some money to quit your day job and focus on Bootstrap, does this sword of Damocles fuel you guys in any way?

It is not uncommon for us to receive more manuscript submissions in a month than orders for books. Well, I guess that doesn’t happen so much anymore now that we have built up a catalogue and have a distributor and can sell with Paypal on our website, but three or four years ago, it was certainly true. We’re going on our sixth year, projecting it to be our most productive yet—this is partly due to the fact that our books are selling a bit and being reviewed. But the fact that people are realizing that they can give us large sums of money and “write-it-off” on their taxes helps tremendously. Personally, our visual art has been getting some attention as well, and when that sells, we donate the money to the press. The donations and art sales are what have been really keeping the press afloat; I’m not sure we’d still be in it if we were relying solely on book sales.

I’m also not so sure we see it as the sword of Damocles; we’d be loafing around under the psychedelic sky during some ancient psilocybin pagan festival while the suits and slugs sit around the table staring at each other. We’re artist first. We live by Wallace Berman’s “Art is Love is God.” If we were ever invited to the table, it would be because the table walked up to us and formed into a fantastic Beckett novella.

DL: How old are you guys?

Ryan: I was born in Lowell, MA on April 29th, 1976. That makes me 30, a bicentennial baby and a Taurus. Roger Clemens hurled 20 strikeouts on my tenth birthday.
Derek: I’m two years older than Ryan. I’m from Kentucky, then Ohio. I like getting gifts.

DL: How old were you when you started?

Started Bootstrap? It was 2001, though we experimented a bit before that on some projects for a year or two before.

DL: I know you said that you have 10,000 books in storage, but how many individual books have you published in total?

Our first perfect bound full length book was LOVELAND by Steven Taylor. We printed 300 copies and have sold out. Since then, we usually print in runs of 1,000. The rest of our books are on the website. If you include ORGANIC FURNITURE CELLAR: WORKS ON PAPER 2002-2004 by Jessica Smith from our Imprint Press Outside Voices, we’ve published 8 full-length perfect bound books and 2 anthologies: the @tched documents 1 & 2. We also have a few copies of the five staple-bound chapbooks we did way back in the day and enough manuscript submissions to fill a small Uhaul truck. Our distributor in Berkeley, CA
Small Press Distribution, stores a box or two of each title.

§ §

Since this interview, we have published For The Time Being: The Bootstrap Book of Poetic Journals edited by Tom Morgan and Tyler Doherty, Tom Morgan's On Going, Michele Naka Pierce's Beloved Integer (imprint book with Pub Lush), John Wiener's A Book of Prophecies, Geoffrey Young's Riot Act, Ryan Gallagher's The Complete Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus (translations from the Latin). That brings us to 14 full length books (3 of which are anthologies of sorts) and two more imprint books. We have a bunch of projects on the way.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Available Now !

The Complete Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus

Available now from Bootstrap Press: Translated from the Latin by Ryan Gallagher: a bluesy, contemporary, fun and salacious version of this ancient lyric poet-it is blues from ancient Rome. Latin and essays included.

Gaius Valerius Catullus is distinguished from all the other writers of antiquity by his vulnerability. He is the most personal of Latin poets, and more personal than any Greek poet including Sappho.... if his love poems could only be duplicated in English they would be popular at every level of society and might be sung in night clubs or by rock groups.

Kenneth Rexroth

Purchase here or here.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Assemblage Sketch by Ryan Gallagher: Ska With Ham

Ska With Ham
for Scott Pierce

about us—
elbows. The
door, no

forest, for


into stones, lined up
multitextured dwelling
art with the authority
riotous despair


on me
they count
their bones,


Jeffrey Lewis "Anti Folk Complete History of Punk Rock"

Friday, March 21, 2008

Derek's cousin "Derek Fener"

from our first Boston "fun"draiser. Derek's cousin spells his name with one n because it's easier.

This was before we started digitally archiving our art. Many of the projects from 2006-2007 were funded from this live auction. This 1 of 7 bourbons Kentucky Derek drank on stage over 35 minutes. He was asked to leave later that night after the auction.

Paintings 5, 6, 9 and the Buddha are Ryan's. The Dali over shoulder is Derek's and there is just a glimpse of Derek's painting of Varitek punching A-Rod (better image below).

The photo in center is the work of Zippy Corning and below it is a photo-collage from Ariana Krantzite.

Monday, March 10, 2008

First Bootstrap Logo

This image was created late at night fueled by coffee, Tecate, and Wild Turkey in the Winter of 1999. We think.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

From the Archives--The Night Bootstrap Was Born

This was the night Bootstrap was born. Pictured Colonel Chester (with Tecate) and Colonel Fenner (with Turkey). Boulder, CO 1999.

Kid Koala - Moon River Remix Live (Boston)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

3.8.08 Pierre Joris & Christopher Rizzo

reading starts at 6:00. come early for a drink at the bar if you want. readings occasionally start on time.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Painting by Derek Fenner & Ryan Gallagher

a collaboration called "Duchamp & Picabia" 2006

Thursday, February 7, 2008

COMING SOON---The Complete Poems of Catullus

Bootstrap Press is proud to announce the imminent arrival of THE COMPLETE POEMS OF GAIUS VALERIUS CATULLUS, translated by our very own Ryan Gallagher. Here's what the critics are already saying:

Gaius Valerius Catullus is distinguished from all the other writers of antiquity by his vulnerability. He is the most personal of Latin poets, and more personal than any Greek poet including Sappho... if his love poems could only be duplicated in English they would be popular at every level of society and might be sung in night clubs or by rock groups.


I would much rather lie on what is left of Catullus’ parlour floor and speculate the azure beneath it and the hills off to Salo and Riva with their forgotten gods moving unhindered amongst them, than discuss any processes and theories of art whatsoever. I would rather play tennis. I shall not argue.


Catullus scarcely has a decent poem.


I pothered but
you’ll have bothered
Catullus played Bach.


Lord, what would they say
Did their Catullus walk
that way?


They Are Flying Planes Launch---February 16, 2008

We understand that the amazing Arlo Quint has been added to the lineup
and we can't wait to get to Brooklyn!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

2 non-traditional Thangka Paintings by Ryan Gallagher

Buddha with Tigse

Maitreya in a Thought Bubble

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Recommended: They are Flying Planes & The Shock Doctrine

They are Flying Planes 1, Winter 2007 / 2008

Editors: Nora Almeida, Kate Jaeger, Joe Robitaille, Will Sanders

email them at:

Here's what Lisa Jarnot thinks:

We'll start with flying planes. Joe, Kate, Nora, and Will (that's Robitaille, Jaeger, Almeida, and Sanders) have just published the first issue of their new magazine They Are Flying Planes. It's a beautiful production, based in form partly on the good old Angel Hair magazine edited by the Warsh/Waldman team, with a little bit of J or Open Space from that good old San Francisco Spicer scene. This is even a little bit more ambitious than Angel Hair in that you will find ephemera popping out of the pages as you open the issue up.

Writers and artists contributing to issue one include the editors, L. S. Asekoff, Andrew Hughes, Whit Griffin, Evan Kennedy, Sara Wintz, Ryan Gallagher, Derek Fenner, Corrine Fitzpatrick, Sean Mullin, LJ of Lisablog, Clint Krute, Scott Gallagher, Clark Jaeger, Matt Reeck, Andrew Bourne, Vincent Zompa, Carol Ann Davis, and Mary Millsap.

Let me say right now that the fluidity of this magazine and the attention to coterie poetics (in the best sense of coterie— as in the Round Table and its Knights) is amazing. There are a bunch of fabulous (and some very young) writers gathered here. Did we mention that it comes with a CD of poets and musicians and that there was an awful lot of hand sewing that went into this project? Did we mention that it's already a collectors item? (200 copies were made). Here's how you can get ahold of the good editors of They Are Flying Planes: 570 45th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220. Three cheers for Joe, Kate, Nora, and Will. It's not a magazine; it's a movement.

We agree. Write them asap.

* * * * * *

Also, before you vote or before you have another political thought, please read this book by Naomi Klein. Though her other books are fabulous, this may be the smartest book ever. Then watch all her video clips on youtube.

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine