Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to Fetch a Shilling Out of a Handerkerchief

You are all such patient people. I am sure you will receive your book soon, but I don’t know when!!! Hang in there, and perhaps by the 4th?!

In the meantime, let’s continue our trek through chapbook land…

Remember Samuel Pepys from high school English days? He had an interesting collection of 114 chapbooks, which he called "Penny Merriments"--ballads bound into volumes, under these categories:
1. Devotion and Morality
2. History – true and fabulous
3. Tragedy: viz. Murders, executions, and judgments of God
4. State and Times
5. Love – pleasant
6. Ditto – unpleasant
7. Marriage, Cuckoldry, &c.
8. Sea – love, gallantry & actions
9. Drinking and good fellowship
10. Humour, frollicks and mixt.

Wikipedia tells me that “other examples from the Pepys collection include The Countryman's Counsellor, or Everyman his own Lawyer, and Sports and Pastimes, written for schoolboys, including magic tricks, like how to "fetch a shilling out of a handkerchief", write invisibly, make roses out of paper, snare wild duck, and make a maid-servant fart uncontrollably.”

Any ideas on how to fetch a shilling out of a handkerchief?!

And I sincerely hope my chapbook does not have the same affect on you as the schoolboys’ tricks on the handmaiden!!!

Chapbooks continue to charm collectors and wordsmiths: “They can be held in the hand, tucked graciously into a bag, slipped safely into a pocket. They can be read in one sitting. They are inexpensive to produce and purchase, and thus provide a perfect means for getting more new poetry into the world. Their compressed form encourages innovation. Their established relationship with the fine letter press makes them a vehicle for collaboration between artists and writers. They are so easy to read and pass around that conversations and communities are build around them.” (In Praise of the Humble Chapbook, Vivé Griffith, Poet’s Market, 2004)

May your patience pay off, and may you soon fall under the charm of chapbooks as you receive your copy!

PS: the chapbook is now available on Amazon, for those of you who have not ordered yet.

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