Giving a Shit, Vol I. is the result of a yearlong labour of love and reflection. Earlier in 2017, gobsmacked by the election of Donald Trump, and wrestling with my own intentions (namely, how to justify the space and time and effort art occupies in my life, often at the expense of my young family and my job as a doctor), I did what I always do when faced with uncertainty and questions: I plunged myself into a big project to think.
The call went out for original and unpublished poetry, prose or other brief statements on giving a shit — on the value of making things, making community, stopping to care, growing vegetables, why art matters, whatever. The deal was that each person selected would receive ten copies of their own broadside to do with what they pleased, plus a copy of each of the others. Dozens of submissions came in from around the world, and from those I chose twenty to typeset by hand and print, often with an original image I cobbled together from wood or metal type, or carved into linoleum.
Let me state the obvious: I am a novice printer. In 2015, I started collecting bits and pieces to fashion into a print shop. I am now the sometimes proud, sometime dubious, owner of a 21M Challenge proof press and a tabletop Chandler and Price. I have no idea of their dates or lineage, and while they do their job, they both have idiosyncrasies I do not fully understand. I have not named them. They are very heavy. I have a growing collection of wood and metal type, some vintage, some newly struck. I work alone and learn by trial and error; not on purpose, but because there are few people around to ask for help. I am likely responsible for the clear cut of several acres of forest with the paper I have recycled as I scale the learning curve. I look at the pieces and am blinded by errors.
And yet, I am very proud of them. Each came from someone who made the time to record an idea about why things matter. Each inspired in me a response, and while I have never claimed to be able to predict the outcome of my work, each has a kind of loveliness, and invites a kind of pause.
You may be asking yourself why there are ten broadsides in this collection, and not the twenty I mentioned above. Quite simply, I overestimated the time I had to invest, so last month I had the brainwave that instead of fretting about getting them all done according to my original timeline, I would allow myself to divide them into two and to print one volume in 2017, and one volume in 2018. Which means more broadside goodness next year!
Giving a Shit has been good for me. Art doesn’t necessarily provide the answers for how to fix the world; but it does do the harder work of asking the question.
Anonymous, “By listening to your story, my story can change.” Set in 24 pt Skyline Type Foundry Sans Serif Light and 12 line Gothic wood type. Feather linocut by Monica Kidd
Terry Ann Carter, “glow, or, the importance of making art.” Set in 14 pt Schoolbook. Dragon scissors linocut by Monica Kidd.
Poet and paper artist Terry Ann Carter has authored five collections of poetry, and five chapbooks of haiku. She is the founder of Haiku Arbutus Study Group and president of Haiku Canada. She lives in Victoria, BC.
Amada Earl, “Untitled.” Bird linocut by Monica Kidd. Set in 24 pt Sans Serif Light from Skyline Type Foundry.
Amanda Earl is an Ottawa writer and publisher. Her first book of poetry is Kiki (Chaudiere Books, 2014). More info is available at AmandaEarl.com. Or connect on Twitter @KikiFolle.
Kim Fahner, “Untitled.” Set in 14 pt Schoolbook, 6 line Gothic wood type and ornaments from Moore Wood Type.
Kim Fahner is the poet laureate for the City of Greater Sudbury. Her new book of poems, “Some Other Sky,” was published by Black Moss Press in Fall 2017.
Alamgir Hashmi, “What do you know?” Set in Garamond 12 pt with wood type margins.
Alamgir Hashmi has published numerous books of poetry and literary criticism, and has taught as a university professor in North America, Europe, and Asia. His work has appeared in many anthologies and journals. A Pushcart Prize nominee and a Rockefeller Fellow, he has won many honours and awards for his work
Amanda Jernigan, “Demeter.” Set in 18 pt Parisian. Wheat linocut by Monica Kidd.
Amanda Jernigan is the author of two books of poetry (Groundwork and All the Daylight Hours). She lives in Hamilton, Ontario. “Demeter” is from the series MetAMOrphoses.
Jonah Jones, “Bad feeling, good start.” Set in 36 pt mystery type (labeled “Cheltenham,” but I have my doubts) and 48 pt Brush Script.
Jonah Jones is a writer and film director based in Wales, UK. Nine stage plays, two radio plays and short films to his credit. A few short stories published.
Jana Kutarna, “Untitled.” Set in 12 pt Cochin Light with a vintage plate.
Jana Kutarna grew up in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, and attended St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She is an urban cyclist and activist, painter, poet, meditator and armchair psychologist.
rob mclennan, “On the value of making.” Set in 14 pt mystery type.
rob mclennan’s most recent titles include The Uncertainty Principle: stories, (Chaudiere Books, 2014) and the poetry collection A perimeter (New Star Books, 2016). He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com.
Nick Thurston and Soft Thanhauser, “Tongue t(r)ied.” Set in 6 line Gothic wood type with various wood blocks.
Nick Thurston is an author and visual artist, and teaches at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds.
Sofi Thanhauser is a writer, artist, and musician currently living in Brooklyn. She teaches at Pratt Institute and Baruch College.