By Richard Wade, WNYBAC intern blogger
As a society, we read books for a variety of reasons. To learn something new or to escape from the routine of everyday life are often why we pick up a new hardcover or paperback. All good and (sometimes bad) literature transports you to another place, away from your worries, allowing you to relax.
Upon reading Our Rarer Monsters by Neil Sloboda, the words contained on the 106 pages invoked a great sense of imagery. Each sentence gave me the feeling as if I was in another world. The first poem in the collection, Bequest Narrative, conjured up similarities of literary classic Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
One passage was particularly vivid. In the poem titled “Community Arts,” a group of young boys roams around the neighborhood, rearranging letters on mailboxes. The “new” act of vandalism was enacted, hoping chaos would ensue the following day. Much to their dismay, the residents hardly noticed the change. Within three days, all of the letters had been changed back to their original configurations. As his cohorts complained about a lack of results, the narrator opined that they shouldn’t have listened to him in the first place. He then added, “as if manipulating a bunch of letters ever really mattered.”
This manipulation of letters does matter, as Noel Sloboda so expertly crafts. His bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy is quite evident, as he splices in philosophical references. Linocut illustrations by Marc Snyder accompany the poems.
Our Rarer Monsters is one of the many exceptional titles published by Sunnyoutside Press since their official inception in 2005. To celebrate the small press’ ten-year anniversary, the WNY Book Arts Center will be holding a retrospective of their work opening this Friday, entitled Sunnyoutside: Ten Years of Good Books Done Well. A large number of Sunnyoutside titles will be available for purchase, as well as hand-printed ephemera & artwork, including Marc Snyder’s woodcuts commissioned for Our Rarer Monsters.
Join us for the opening reception this Friday, March 27th at the Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington Street, Buffalo, New York 14203 from 6-9pm. The event will feature short lectures on the bookmaking process by Sunnyoutside contributors & contemporaries Richard Kegler, Brian Mihok, Nathan Pritts, Kyle Butler, and David McNamara. Each of the speakers will touch on their expertise and experiences regarding design, publishing, bookbinding, and much more.
Sunnyoutside Press was first founded as an online literary journal by Publisher David McNamara in Seattle, Washington in November of 2000. Aching to reinvent themselves as a print medium, plans were made to reinvent Sunnyoutside as an independent press in Somerville, Massachusetts. More planning and preparations took place, with their first sale happening on May 5, 2005, marking the inception of the small press.
The opening event is free and open to the general public. A cash bar will be available throughout the night. Stop in and join us!
Richard Wade is the Intern Blogger at WNYBAC. He is a May 2009 graduate of Buffalo State College, earning his bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He has previously written for Sports Media 101 and Buffalo Rising. He enjoys collecting vinyl records and attending concerts.