It is important the chapbook be seen as immediate; it is possible with a few pages, needle and thread to create a book. Q Ave Press embodies (or attempts to) this immediacy through:
- a group of friends getting together to talk about writing they admire,
- a printer,
- more friends getting together to make books that can be produced on short notice for an event.
We like to think of Q Ave Press chapbooks as half way between a reading and a book. They are closer to the immediate. A reading or event in context. Made quickly and inexpensively. This is much like an epigram, the short poem written in response to a recent event or situation. Martial, the Roman poet (40-104 AD…Spanish/Roman), spoke often of his “cheap, little books” of epigrams. Here is one from his Book MOTTOS #XIII
The entire assembly of Mottos in this slender little book will cost you four sesterces to buy. Is four too much? It could cost two, and bookseller Trypho still make a profit. You can send these couplets to your guests instead of a gift, if sesterces are as scarce with you as they are with me. You will find each item identified by its title; if anything is not to your taste, just pass it by.
One of Martial’s “little books” was titled Xenia. The Greek word Xenia, as you may know, can mean either the gifts given or the gifts received. Somewhere, deep within the writer, within or behind our work, we understand this act of giving and receiving.
Chapbook publishing, for Q Ave Press, has a foundation in the concept of a gift giving and receiving relationship. We read or hear (receive) a poem, story, essay…writing, and as publishers we respond with a collection of that writing….which is a gift back to the author, which the authors can then potentially pass on, extending the gift, to future readers.