Here we are in the summer of 2010, and the iPad, Kindle, Nook, Kobo—and heaven knows what other e-reader that has launched between the time these words were written and the time you are seeing them—are all supposedly wooing readers away from paper and ink. And yet the world’s books have yet to crumble to dust under our uninterested noses. For those who appreciate the fine art of bookmaking—the readers of letterpress chapbooks, the connoisseurs of handcrafted broadsides—the reason is simple: The fancy digital devices can’t replicate the physical pleasures of a well-made book. Be that as it may, you have to hand it to Blue Hour Press (www.bluehourpress.com), an independent poetry publisher in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that is “dedicated to bridging the gap between the beauty and tradition of print and the accessibility and possibility of the Web, releasing digital chapbooks that are satisfying, respectable, and innovative.” The free chapbooks are published using Issuu, a digital-publishing platform that allows readers to view documents through a Web browser as well as to download and save them. Blue Hour accepts submissions—via e-mail, obviously—from May 1 to August 1. Although editor Justin Runge says he doesn’t publish a specific kind of poetry, he adds that poets would do well to read a few of the chapbooks, including Elegy for the Builder’s Wife by Nick Courtright, Lumièrethèque by Andrew Zawacki, and Airport by Emily Kendal Frey, before submitting their work.
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