April 4th, 2013 / 5:42 pm
Web Hype

The Small Press Book Review

The beautiful lumberjack Mel Bosworth—with Christy “Peach Cinnamon” Crutchfield—has started a terrific archive of small press reviews from over the years, with new ones to come, elegantly called The Small Press Book Review. The blog is retro and easy to navigate, and the reviews are clear and concise. A great new resource if you’re curious about some of those books you’ve heard about but haven’t yet plucked.

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  1. Richard Grayson

      I wonder if anyone else here is aware of Len Fulton’s Dustbooks, which began publishing The Small Press Review in 1967: http://www.abebooks.com/Small-Press-Review-V.1-%231-Fulton/3113649515/bd It continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s, publishing monthly with reviews of small press books. Printed on newsprint (I think later on stiffer, whiter paper) and stapled, it would run from 12-36 pages, I think. It was, along with Dustbooks’ International Directory of Literary Magazines and Small Presses, the bible for most of us in the 1970s/1980s/early 1990s small press/little magazine scene. It had columns, small press publishers and little magazine editors listing their needs, announced anthologies seeking submissions, for a while a Small Press Book Club similar to the Literary Guild/Book-of-the-Month Club with monthly selections (one of my books was selected in 1982). Fulton died a couple of years ago, and I would hope someone in academia is doing work on what he and his friends accomplished. By today’s standards, of course, it was probably very ragged. We only had postal mail to communicate with each other when we weren’t having a few small press book fairs to meet each other, but somehow, through the mail, and organizations like CCLM, we managed to create a community something like today’s online literary communities. Good luck to the Small Press Book Review, and I hope they will be around as long as the eclectic and necessary Small Press Review, really one of the few things small press/little mag people had back then.

  2. Mike Young

      That’s awesome—I know Dustbooks, and I grew up in Northern California, right outside Paradise, CA where Fulton lived. Never knew him, as I was too young when I was there to be aware of that scene, but it’s sweet that such a cool thing was based in that genuinely dusty area.

  3. Richard Grayson

      Mike, Len loved that area so much, real California wilderness. Active in politics too, he was a Butte County Supervisor for about 4 terms while he was doing so much of this literary stuff.

      (By the way, I meant COSMEP, not CCLM, above. COSMEP was based in San Francisco, I’m pretty sure, the Committee of Small Magazine Editors and Publishers.)

      The best tribute to Len Fulton I’ve come across came from the great Hugh Fox, who died not all that long afterwards: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2011/07/california-small-press-publisher-len-fulton-passes-away-at-77/

  4. Mike Young

      Yeah, I read Hugh Fox’s remembrance after you posted. They both seemed like really devoted dudes.

      Paradise is also Raymond Carver country to the core. That’s where he lived while going to Chico State. Sad and golden and dusty and digger pine!

  5. Richard Grayson

      Yeah, of course, Gardner was his teacher at Chico State and mentioned Carver as his best student when I knew him in the late 70s.

      People like Len Fulton and Hugh Fox were like giants to me when I was starting to write and publish. Len Fulton was the first actual human being I met who seemed to be a real cowboy. (See his novel “The Grassman,” which I liked a lot at the time I read it in the mid-70s.)

      I did an appreciation of Hugh when he died just a few months after Len: