I recently encountered a European outfit that printed only chapbooks. Until that moment, I had considered the chapbook – a small, up to forty page book usually dealing with one subject – a rather rustic but delicate and precious conceit by poets who had nothing better to do. They often have a hand-made, temporary, recycled feel to them.
That is totally wrong, an opinion brought about, I can only say, by appalling ignorance on my part. I apologize to any chapbook creator out there.
These little European books were amazing (to coin a phrase). They were beautiful, with real spines despite their forty-odd pages, the covers in boldly-hued cardstock, with beautiful typesetting both outside and in, and interior paper your fingers wanted to fondle. The illustrations or artwork were completely in sync with content…in short, exquisite.
While traditionally used mostly by poets, there is no reason why a chapbook couldn’t have a collection of travel anecdotes, a compilation of treasured recipes, notes by an elder to the next generation, a selection of favorite mixed drinks, erotic thoughts to a loved one (or to the world), aphorisms, or even jokes. Don’t let the poetry aspect stop you. Prose is perfect, too.
Want to venture into something small, beautiful, and rewarding? Consider tthe chapbook!