Friday, July 08, 2011

Diversion: Collecting the Works of David R. Godine, Publisher

The Literary Tourist has just released a half-hour-long interview with publisher David R. Godine of Boston, on collecting the works of his press. What a delight! Too often, fine press leaders immerse themselves in their work so deeply, fiercely, and for so long that they don't take time to give the rest of us a perspective of their "list." But with a full bibliography of the press scheduled to release at the end of the year, Godine is giving presentations at various venues to mark 40 years of "DRG."

If I were to place the origins of the press, I'd call it a love child of The Stinehour Press and artist Leonard Baskin, with blessings from master printer Harold McGrath. Roderick (Rocky) Stinehour continues to influence the fine press work of the East Coast, and his friendship with Godine created a two-way path of influence between the presses.

Kingdom Books made a sorrowful choice when the recession arrived, releasing our fine press specialties and our enormous poetry collection (more than four thousand volumes between the two), in order to focus on mysteries. But of course we've gathered poetry again, and it turns out that we never did quite let go of our Godine and Janus Press work (also that of Dean Bornstein, who designed many a book for Godine and Stinehour). I just did a quick count and we have a dozen and a half of David Godine's books, including several of the ones mentioned in the Literary Tourist interview. I especially like an early elegant one by Joel Barlow called The Hasty-Pudding; the slender book (in boards) by Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Wreck of the Deutschland; and Mary Azarian's classic The Farmer's Alphabet.

Thank you, Nigel Beale, owner/publisher of and Host of The Biblio File Radio Show, for bringing us this wide-ranging and exciting interview. It's made a lovely morning interlude for me.

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