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Ephemera, Efficiency, Excess: The Chapbook in 21st Century North America

Where did chapbooks come from and where are they going? Matvei Yankelevich sketches the chapbook’s trajectory from populist pamphlet in the early days of print and its role in the spread of literacy and printing, to today’s varieties of design, production, and small-press economy, leading to a discussion of the effect of chapbook contests, festivals, and other types of institutionalization on this ephemeral, efficient, and sometimes excessive book form.

Matvei Yankelevich is the author of the poetry collection Alpha Donut (United Artists Books) and the novella-in-fragments Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books), and several chapbooks. He is the translator of Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook/Ardis). He is one of the founding editors of Ugly Duckling Presse, where he curates the Eastern European Poets Series, co-edits 6×6 magazine, and designs various books and chapbooks. He has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (Naropa), Hunter College, and Colorado College, and is a member of Writing Faculty of the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.

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