Lit House Publishes New Chapbook

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Lia Purpura

Washington College’s Literary House Press will launch a new letterpress chapbook titled Scream (or never minding), a Pushcart Prize-winning lyric essay by Baltimore writer Lia Purpura. A celebratory event will be held on Thursday, October 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, featuring a reading by the author. This event is free and open to the public.

In the LHP publication of Scream, Purpura’s essay is illustrated by Stuart Cawley, whose artistic renderings return both dimension and power to objects—exactly what Purpura enacts with her prose. Her essay explores the unsavory origins of our comfort and convenience—animals driven mad in industrial farms, art that had once been an intimate glimpse into a creator’s vision, objects mass-produced only to be thrown away. All of these are now a “gesture performed over and over, on coffee mugs, tote bags, key chains, and cards, it’s much reduced, quieted so as to be understood. Seeing the scream again and again, we agree not to.” Purpura forces the reader to breach the distance between the dignity of identity and the objectification inherent in a capitalist system, a cause that this publication embodies: every copy of Scream is handmade in the letterpress studio at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, where tools do indeed become “a hand’s extension.”

Purpura is the author of eight collections of essays, poems, and translations. She has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the Fulbright Foundation, in addition to four Pushcart Prizes, a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, and multiple residencies at several artists’ colonies including MacDowell. Her work has been published and anthologized widely. She lives in Baltimore, where she is currently the Writer in Residence at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She also teaches at the Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, WA.

Scream (or never minding) will be released in two unique editions. The deluxe letterpress edition ($185), which is letterpress-printed and hand-bound in hardcover, will be available at select independent bookstores and direct from the publisher. The standard paperback edition ($15), which is digitally-printed and perfect bound, will be available for purchase through Small Press Distribution, select independent bookstores, and direct from the publisher.

Please contact the Literary House Press (llusby2@washcoll.edu) if you are interested in a review copy.

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