Dear Friends of Norbert Blei,
I am Norbert Blei’s publisher, recently returned from the memorial in Fish Creek to 40 cartons of the newly reprinted, revised, paperback edition of Door Way waiting for me on the loading dock. I certainly wish the printer had delivered them a week ago, so that I could have brought some with me to Door for the memorial, but they were not done in time. Sooner or later, I will get paperback Door Ways to Door.
Meanwhile, should you be interested, Door Way is back in print, paperback, $18 sticker price, $15 on prepaid orders to the publisher: Ellis Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241. Or you can e-mail me an order, and I will send a bill with the books. Media mail shipping is free.
Norb and I did most of the work on this book back in 2010. We edited all chapters, and he added a new piece on “Going to Gordy’s for Milk.” He argued for another hard-bound book; I argued for a paperback to underbid the used copies of Door Bay already out there in the world. Finally he agreed to paper, as long as the book had (a) a cover stock that looks like watercolor paper, and (b) a new preface which he would write.
Unfortunately that preface never got written. When I visited Norb a week before he died, he asked me to go ahead with the reprint, paper was okay, but please add a “Note from the Publisher.” I went ahead with the reprint—distracted by the end of the school year and a long-planned trip to Mongolia—and now we have books.
Should you be interested, I also have (sometimes limited) supplies of the following Norbert Blei books at the publisher-direct prices indicated:
- Door Way, cloth, signed and numbered 9 copies remaining from the first printing: $40 (they are a little brown around the trim edges, but they are autographed)
- Door Way, third cloth printing, signed: $25 (7 copies, all in new condition)
- Door Steps, cloth, unsigned: $20 (44 copies remain)
- Chi Town, cloth, unsigned: $25 (I have 26 copies of this original printing of Chi Town)
- The Ghost of Sandburg’s Phizzog, cloth, unsigned, $15 (I have ample supplies of this book)
- The Ghost of Sandburg’s Phizzog, paper, unsigned, $10 (I have ample supplies of this book)
- Meditations on a Small Lake, paper, first printing, $10 (I have 15 copies of this book and 3 copies of the reprinted edition)
- Neighborhood cloth, $25 (I have 7 copies of the cloth edition left)
- Neighborhood paperback, $18 (I have 21 copies of this book left)
- Chronicles of a Rural Journalist, paper $15 (for some reason I find myself with 4 copies of this book)
- Winter Book, cloth $15 (I have ample supplies of this book, and many are stored in Ellison Bay)
- Paint Me a Picture/Make Me a Poem, $10 (I have 12 of these paperback books of Norb’s paste-pot poems and painting poems, but many are storied in Ellison Bay)
- Adventures in an American’s Literature, paper $8 (I have ample supplies, and many copies of this book are stored in Ellison Bay) BUT
- Adventures in an American’s Literature, special edition, 100 copies originally bound in water-color paper, which Norb water-colored individually and signed; each book is different, $50 (I have 8 of these books, and I am told that 3 more showed up on the floor of the coop, all in pretty bad shape)
- The Second Novel, $15 (for some reason I find myself with 4 copies of this book, which December Press published in 1978).
For hard-core Blei fans, I also have 4 copies of the journal Studies in American Fiction (autumn 2004) which contains my article on Norbert Blei; 12 copies of Crossing Borders: American Literature and Other Artistic Media (printed in Poland) with my article “Kenneth Patchen, Norbert Blei: Literary Text as Graphic Icon”; and 6 copies of my book Rooted: Seven Midwest Writers of Place (University of Iowa Press, 2006) which contains a chapter on Blei. ($25 each, and I’ll autograph them for you)
Should you order a book which is sold out by the time I receive your order, I will either not cash the check or—in the case of a multiple-title order—refund you the price of the unavailable book. And I will e-mail you to this effect.
Spoon River Press
was founded in 1976 at Western Illinois University to publish The Spoon River Quarterly and poetry chapbooks. Two years later the press, and the Quarterly, moved from Macomb to Peoria, Illinois, and incorporated as a State of Illinois not-for-profit corporation, assuming the name Spoon River Poetry Press to differentiate itself from another Spoon River Poetry Press, also operating out of Peoria. With growing financial assistance from the Illinois Arts Council (and at times from the National Endowment for the Arts), Spoon River Quarterly became a prefect-bound journal, and Spoon River Poetry Press began publishing perfect-bound paperbacks. Publication of hardbacks began with Norbert Blei’s Door Way (1981).
The imprint of Ellis Press was used to avoid the contradiction of a Poetry Press publishing prose work. In 1980 Spoon River Poetry Press absorbed Kickapoo Press, founded in Peoria in a failed attempt to attract Illinois Humanities Council funding, which had lived just long enough to publish two Jerry Klein titles. During the 1980s the combined Spoon River Poetry Press-Ellis Press-Kickapoo Press continued in Peoria, Illinois, as a house built on Illinois Arts Council support. The Press remains grateful for Council support from those years.
Reviews quoted in this catalog attest to the critical success of the separate presses. Meanwhile, the editor of Spoon River Poetry Press-Ellis Press had moved to Minnesota, founding there, with support from the Otto Bremer Foundation, a Minnesota NFP, Plains Press. Gradually both editor and presses solidified their positions in Minnesota. Spoon River could no longer in good conscience call itself an Illinois press or accept Illinois Arts Council funding, and the success, at the time, of Bookslinger and ILPA distributors suggested that literary presses, properly managed, could break the grant addiction and sustain themselves.The Spoon River Quarterly split from the Press and moved, with the Illinois incorporation, to Illinois State University.
In 1993 Spoon River Poetry Press, Ellis Press, and Kickapoo Press officially merged with Plains Press, absorbing in a few cases stock of titles from bankrupt or foreign publishers, and settling in Granite Falls, Minnesota.