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Chap*Books

Chap*Books

Chap*Books is a space dedicated to the under-appreciated art form of the chapbook which has been of significant importance in the launching of many fine authors.

This excellent blog reviews and promotes the chapbooks and small collections published by small presses that the contributors have purchased, found or been given along the way. A few of the many featured are pictured above and below.

Recently, the good people at Chap*Books wrote a piece about Spring Wanderings by J. H. Martin and we would like to say thank you, not just for the kind words about the book, but for the solidarity shown by Chap*Books in promoting and supporting the work of lesser known writers and small press publications not only on their blog but also by posting reviews on Amazon and other on-line retail outlets.

“I found this book in an antique shop in rural PA about a month ago. It’s a beautifully made book that by my calculations ought to be a “chapbook” but isn’t. …

The poetry itself is beautiful and mysterious. It reflects the country that the work is about (China).” Read more


“Each chapbook is a story in itself – the publisher, the poet/author, the designer/illustrator – each has a story and a history. Along the way, I have found many tales and yarns. Some fascinating and others truly pitiful. Part of the reason I write this admittedly infrequent blog is that these authors – these publishers – these people need to be remembered in some fashion. Their chapbooks alone acknowledge their existence as people. Their names live on, however delicately, through their “thin slivers of nothing” (the weight of a chapbook when stacked on a shelf with various TOMES between)” Read more



An informative article on the chapbook appeared in Jacket Magazine a few years back: Considering Chapbooks: A Brief History of the Little Book

“Distanced from its historical roots, the form of the chapbook found new life in the burgeoning world of modern poetry, in which pamphlets from the international Dada movement and beautifully designed works of Russian avant-garde poets set a new standard. Continuing through Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, the mimeo revolution of the 60s, the advent of photocopying and desktop publishing, and the production of PDF files containing the online equivalent, the chapbook now thrives in the esoteric though open space of contemporary poetry. … Whether comprised of an extended sequence, a series of short poems, or a single, longer work, the chapbook, in its momentary focusing and sculpting of the reader’s attention, is the perfect vehicle for poetry.”

Read the rest of this excellent article at Jacket Magazine



We strongly encourage those interested in literature, poetry and the arts to support their local poets and independent bookshops by picking up one of these collectable pieces of ephemera from time to time. In the words of one memorable review, chapbooks are “well worth a look, and at less than the price of a pint, what have you got to lose?”

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Our friend Shan Li has written a fascinating series of articles on daily Zen practice which will be published regularly over the coming months on the Dutch website – Bodhitv.

You can read the first of these articles here, and the second here.

They are highly recommended reading for anybody with an interest in Buddhism, Chan, Zen, the Shaolin Temple, China or Shaolin Kung Fu.

Enjoy.

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Mutants, Beasties And Spare Parts

Mike Turner is an artist, metalsmith, mutant lover and sculptor, who’s career has spanned 16 years, 4 galaxies and 3 continents.l_77f4f04e4a3a4ed8b406d43767cf7cb4

His career started in the UK where, after completing a degree in jewellery design in 1993 , he began by supplying London’s growing population of pierced and tattooed with his own unique style of jewellery. Here his work was selected for inclusion in the Victoria and Albert museum’s ‘Street Style’ exhibition in 1994, and was also included in the book – ‘Unclasped- British Contemporary Jewellery'(1996). His work has also appeared in a number of magazine publications, including ‘Time Out London’ and ‘Dazed and Confused’.

In 2000 he moved to Australia where during a stint in the film industry he learned the skills to work on a larger scale and with an array of new and interesting materials. In 2002 he helped set up the ‘Mekanarky’ artist run initiative in Sydney , where he lived and worked for the next 6 years, exhibiting his work regularly in Australia and occasionally overseas.

In January 2008 he moved to Chengdu , China where he has set up a studio and now concentrates wholly on making his larger sculptural works.

His work is held in private collections throughout the UK, Europe, Australia, Japan and China and 2009 has seen his work included in the books – ‘The Compendium Finale of Contemporary Jewellery‘ and ‘Short Story # 1

His fantastic and surreal work really needs to be seen to be understood, which you can do by visiting his website here – www.miketurner-art.com.

Admirers of all things mutant will not be disappointed.

The Editor (riversandlakespess@gmail.com)

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A Man Named Shan

We would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the tale and works of a good friend named Shan Li (山力).

Shan Li was born in Leipzig in 1981. At the age of seven he went to study music at the Johann Sebastian Bach School of Music in Leipzig where he studied for ten years. In 1998 Shan Li went to the Shaolin monastery in Henan province in China, where he became an apprentice of Shi Yanlu, who made him a grand-disciple of Shi Yongxin, the venerable abbot of the Shaolin monastery, and he was given the religious name Shi Hengjin.

Some years later he became the Buddhist disciple of Dharma master Shi Yongliao, who is the monk in charge of the Shaolin Chan hall, and was initiated in to the Dharma, and was also taught by Shi Yanlin, another senior monk at the Shaolin monastery.

Shan Li was then introduced by his master of traditional southern style Shaolin boxing Jiang Junbo to Shi Yongqun, a man extremely advanced in the practice of the Dharma and its healing methods, who then gave him further initiations. He was subsequently initiated by the Xiaga Living Buddha and by Dawa Jiangzuo, the abbot of the Tangxia monastery in Tibet.

Shan Li has been in Shaolin since 1998. Mainly leading a secluded life, he practices Chan and Wu till this day. In the year 2007 his first book – The Discovery (发现) was published by the world famous Shaolin monastery, followed by the publication of The Prohibitionist (highly recommended) and his first German book – Das Geschenk (The Gift) in 2008.

We would encourage anybody with an interest in Buddhism, or literature with more than a dash or two of Chan, to read Shan Li’s works, details of which, extracts and how to order them, can be found here.

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