Sunday, February 17, 2008

Small Sharp Jests: The Chuckwagon

A new little book of laughter arrived in January from The Chuckwagon. That's the Southampton, Mass., press of Sean Casey. This one, #13, is seven inches wide, eight and a half tall, stapled into off-white wraps decorated with a comical graphic from the pen of William (Wm.) Bolger, and titled SUPPOSITORY WRITING, by Loren Goodman.

There should be a pause here, while you search for the word you were expecting there -- expository, if you've plowed through college English classes -- and now review what's different about the meaning of "suppository." Got it? Good --

In fact, once you've caught the joke in the title, each page is a belly laugh in the making. There are "supposed" to be teacher evaluations of performance in a lit class. The first one evaluates the work by student Ophelia Montague-Capulet. Need I say more? Many of the others mention characteristics of classmates as well, most of whom could have had their own reality TV series named for them. I am still aching for some poor houseguest who will sit still long enough for me to read these all aloud, between wet chuckles and eye-watering guffaws.

Last I heard, Sean was charging "about a dollar" each for his books. Number 12 was a set of Henny Youngman-style riffs on marriage. Here's the list so far:

1. The Mystical Exercycle, Gerald Locklin
2. Assorted Fictions, Carso Cistulli
3. Cindi's Fur Coat, Michael Casey
4. Damon, Damon (out of print)
5. Glass Ceiling, Julie Lechevsky
6. Scalars Depths and Crackles, Isabelle Pelissier (trans. Bill Sylvester) (out of print)
7. Health Pack, Brad Flis
8. Midnight, Dave Newman
9. Did You Know That You Could Heal Yourself?, Sean O'Keefe
10. The Prostituesdays Anthology
11. Wonder of the World: Recite, Madeline ffitch & Donna Selinger
12. The Once Over
13. Suppository Writing

By way of background: Sean is the son of poet Michael Casey, took his MFA from U. Mass. Amherst last year, and issued his first book from The Chuckwagon in 2001 -- a "perfect-bound" volume of Gerald Locklin's poetry. His other books have been stapled into bright-colored wraps. Reasons he mentions for starting the press range from his love of the small press; to growing up in a house full of books and magazines; his father's influence; "a lecture by Amiri Baraka during which he called for more independent presses"; and "a desire to disseminate work I admire."

I've got two sets here of numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, and 13 ($25 postpaid for the set). Or get in touch with Sean directly at -- this is a lively way to let a fresh gust of laughter clear out any lingering romantic leanings from earlier in the week!

No comments: