Every year Poetry hosts a gathering for Chicago literary publishers called the Printers’ Ball. Over 100 local literary organizations showcase a diverse selection of print publications, available free of charge, including magazines, journals, weeklies, posters, and broadsides, plus a full night of live entertainment. See, hear, and read all about it, or get the gist from Poetry contributor Robert Archambeau’s blog post at samizdat.
Recently the editor of Sara Ranchouse Publishing, Sally Alatalo, stopped by the Foundation offices to collect the leftover books she exhibited at this year’s Ball…but we didn’t let her leave with them. Keep reading to see why.

You can find a short history of Sara Ranchouse at their website, but, for your convenience,…manifesto!

1. We aim to provide opportunities for interaction with art in everyday experience.
2. We therefore make art that takes the form of books and other printed objects that reside comfortably in venues as various as a tea house in Seoul, a dentist's waiting room, and GOFFO at NEXT at ART CHICAGO.
3. We co-opt the times and places of the publishing industry, such as signing and release events, as occasions for performative play.
4. We sustain our practice and the material world at large by recycling everything from extant texts, to paper cut-offs and make-ready sheets, to coffee grounds.
5. We still love and appreciate our audience.

Still love and appreciate their audience? I asked Sally to describe some of her recent publications, and here’s what she said:
“Between Clean,” by Sally Alatalo
“Between Clean” was made to accommodate placement of the poem on one long, narrow piece of paper to be read linearly and without the pause of a page break. I chose a nut and bolt as a scroll to reflect the source of the words—all culled from a car repair manual I inherited from my father, a mechanic. I observed in this book a rich vocabulary he must have used regularly in his everyday work life, but that I hitherto, had had little familiarity with. Though my interest lies predominantly in their sounds, the sense of the words has both enriched my vocabulary and enhanced my understanding of the process and labor of mechanical repair.
Love Takes Two/The Other Side, by Anita M-28 and Sal Clarke
As a challenge to William Carlos Williams’ pronouncement that, “the coining of similes is a past-time of a very low order,” this back-to-back book plays with the construction of genre fiction only by means of the simile. In the poem, “Like a storm gathering,” the structure of a typical romance novel is kept intact, but is written in free verse form, using as its text only similes collected from extant romance novels. The other side of the book, The Other Side, by the pseudonymous lesbian romance author Sal Clarke, features an essay, “A Comparative Analysis of the Simile in Heterosexual and Lesbian Romance Popular Romance Fiction.” Other pieces in the book examine the word “as”—as preposition, conjunction, pronoun and adverb.
Unforeseen Alliances, by Anita M-28
Unforeseen Alliances addresses romance readers’ compulsive dispositions, and bears witness to my own pleasure in collecting, arranging, and generally playing, with books. Titles of extant romance novels have been recycled into new love poetry—each line of each poem is the title of a novel. An appendix of those titles perused appears at the end of the book.
The cover image is adapted from an image I came across in an interior design book. I am drawn to images of situations in which people, especially women, are pictured reading. This image interested me because the woman is portrayed in black dress and pearls, as if dressed for a cocktail party, but a book, rather than a man, is her date for the evening. I subsequently recreated the environment as an actual space, styled myself in the persona of the woman, and performed a reading of the book as if to reproduce her experience.

Originally Published: October 17th, 2008