Category Archives: Articles

Poetica~Place articles are informative as well as promotional in support of chapbooks and Middle Island Press.

Middle Island Press: Poetry Publishing

Middle Island Press

The early days of Middle Island Press looked a lot like this relaxing picture: lots of collating, folding, trimming that I took pride in and hope to return to soon, but for now, I’m enjoying the benefits of perfect-bound poetry publishing. I’m focusing on layout and design, feeling a bit less like a hands-on craft-person and a bit more like a publisher, but it’s all good.

It wasn’t so long ago that I reached timidly out to my first “stranger” who has become one of my greatest supporters over the years, and a fantastic poet and flash-fiction author (Salvatore Buttaci). One referral led to another and projects grew from quarterly to monthly, and sometimes two or more in a month, but one thing that hasn’t changed over these past seven years is the gratitude that I feel for the poets who have trusted me with their words, built me up with their praise until my head was swelling and my heart was glowing, and – I’ll say it again – kept the coffee flowing in this house.

Thank You, Poets. Your words are both my business and my pleasure!

Christina Anne Taylor


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Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Articles


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There’s Nothing Quite Like a Chapbook.

The tech craze saddens me. Everyone wants to buy more, more, more; to upgrade more, more, more, even when it results in faulty communication of programs inserting the wrong words and making a mess of the sender’s thoughts and intentions. I hope to continue to get by without even a basic cellular phone. I also hope to continue to get by without a Kindle or any other reader of e-books. I’m just fine with paper. I don’t think Mother Earth takes quite the loss in paper production that she suffers with waves of technology bouncing all over her surface.

It is possible that Middle Island Press will offer e-book publishing up the timeline, but I just don’t see that yet. I enjoy specializing in chapbooks. There’s a certain sense of nostalgia in “sticking to the old ways” – ways that remain superior in many ways…

There’s nothing like actually holding a book and turning pages.
There’s little as personal as receiving a book as a gift.
There’s nothing like the look, smell, and feel of a library of books both old and new.

The only thing that I find missing in chapbooks is a sort of hollowness, an emptiness, a “lack of” that I can only imagine would be present in reading from an electronic pocket device of some sort. In that, I miss nothing and gain everything in my craft of setting words to paper, in publishing and printing actual books that don’t require frequent “recharges” to guarantee a good read.


(Middle Island Press specializes in chapbook publishing. We make some of the finest chapbooks in America.)

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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Articles


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Book Promotion: Success Is Not Measured in Numbers

(by Christina Anne Taylor)

I just read an article about book promotion that got me thinking. It was an encouraging article overall, but I got hung up on the word “failure.” Let’s consider this:

Firstly, failure and success are relative and subjective measures, and while dreaming big draws the blueprint of possibility, dreaming big more often than not results in disappointment. If we always measure ourselves against the nearly impossible, then where is contentment? Take that dream property, for instance. We can fill in the visual details and hope that wishful thinking (perhaps “The Secret”) really does bring results, or we can spend life wanting that which the Fates have not woven into our life tapestry.

Secondly, is it about winning the race, or getting the prize? I suppose it depends on where our heads are. Materialists or people in need of money or recognition want the prize. Others are contented with simply winning their own personal “race” which is just fine at any pace. We can do extraordinary things without someone handing us a prize for it.

Thirdly, many of us feel the impulse to strive toward both quantity and quality in deeds, but we cannot always expect quantity or quality in results. Stuff happens. Life has its own zillions of agendas. An author might be doing a book-signing at one store when there is a big book sale down the street that swallows the crowd, or perhaps an author chooses a genre that isn’t popular and writes not for sales but for the love of expressive imagination. Maybe we just smile at the wrong people sometimes. There are countless external factors involved in all of life, and that includes book “success” (again, success being relative)…

Let’s try and settle more often for simply getting words in print, because “success” might come a hundred years from now when “the right person” is dusting an old library or sorting through boxes of books. Regardless, a published author’s mama is always proud.


Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Articles


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The Fine Qualities of Chapbooks

Writers focus on BOOKS—period. They can go on writing for years without ever having heard the word “chapbook,” one of those specialty words that every writer and reader should know, because it has both practical purposes and special qualities.

Speaking of practicality, chapbooks are a charmingly effective way for poets to organize their hoards of poetry by theme or by time-frame. Many “major” poetry books are of poems sectioned according to which “minor” collection they originally belonged in. This contributes to the charm of chapbooks and bolsters their value as early editions of poets’ work.

There are also many readers who appreciate being able to sit with a beverage in a cozy nook and read an entire collection in one sitting. (Gratification in an hour, and then over to or a reader’s favorite blog to pen a book review!)

Furthermore, publishing costs through chapbook publishers are remarkably reasonable considering the quality—hundreds less than standard book publishers; perhaps thousands less if one is not expecting a thousand books. There are a few very low-cost chapbook publishers, but I don’t recommend that route for anyone. I can only assume that they use standard copy paper and manage to take enough shortcuts to make a not-so-impressive presentation.

Finally, chapbooks have a “made with love” quality that is a must for poetry. It makes them more gift-suitable than standard books as they appear to be hand-made as opposed to machine-made. They are printed in very small runs, monitored closely for perfect alignment. They are folded and stapled individually, and then trimmed a few at a time. Overall presentation is very crafty.

Chapbooks have been made for hundreds of years, and they do seem to be arriving in fashion among poets as they educate themselves on the benefits of publishing via chapbook publishers.

Middle Island Press is the home of The Chapbook Queen,
Christina Anne Taylor.
(“Cats don’t sell their services; they sell themselves.” –Wm. Burroughs)

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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Articles


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Unique Layout & Presentation: How To Get It

Layout from a bird’s eye view has been one of my fortes in life, from landscaping to interior design to page design. As a maker of chapbooks I have realized and worked within what I would consider “the standard” for some time now, and I am anxious to play with design a bit more. Fortunately, today’s experimental style of poetry allows for this, so if you seek unique presentation, let your words speak not just to the ears, but to the eyes.

Just keep a few things in mind:

Chapbooks are generally no larger than 5.5” across x 8.5” down and, depending on the printer’s print capabilities, they are often smaller. What’s your preference? Keep it in mind as you mentally fill pages.

Shorter lines and shorter poems allow more design creativity. Haiku poems work great for flexibility, as do poems with just a few syllables per line.

Extreme variations in line length or poems with one or two very long lines will throw the margins way over to the sides of the page. It is to be avoided as the white space looks forced rather than creative.

Spaces that set thoughts out like distant clouds allow “zen space” (as one of my current clients puts it). Love it.

You may provide your own design with compatible files that can be pasted to each page. If it’s creative and unique, then I would be glad to package it.

Better yet (from my perspective), bring your words to me in a standard format but give me license to step outside—perhaps way outside—“the standard” so your words may be multi-sensory in an engaging sort of way.

Visit Middle Island Press.


Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Articles


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All Words Are Worthy

(by Christina Anne Taylor)

It’s a no-brainer to me that a publisher publishes books, but I was once accused of not being a publisher by a “real publisher” who told me that “real publishers” are very busy – too busy to promote, too busy to do anything but publish; also that they turn people away (as though this were a virtue). Yet I have indeed been hand-wringingly busy at times, and I have indeed had the displeasure of turning people away due to anthology “quality control” or simply because a poet’s choice of content isn’t what I publish.

I sense that the “real publishers” who were publishing before a new wave of publishers stepped in to assist with the demand might not be happy with being less busy because (according to the “real publisher” definition that I received) having time for coffee would bring their “real publisher” status into question. They also might not be happy with sharing opportunities to know the joy of publishing. Naturally in business we would prefer to be one of several rather than one of countless and counting… I understand that. It’s about power, prestige, greed, envy, all parts of the dark underbelly of humanity.

But let’s consider that there are countless (and counting…) poets out there with words to share who need not stand in line forever to be turned away, to be told that their words are “not ready.” I have come to believe that ALL words are worth printing, worth solidifying if the writer has a desire to share them (though editing might be necessary). It takes a certain open-mindedness and maturity to accept this, or perhaps rather an open heart that derives joy in making others happy. Is it selfish? Maybe a tiny bit, but when dealing with a “real publisher” with an open heart, everyone moves merrily along their life path and that’s what really matters.

Middle Island Press is proud to be a Real Publisher.

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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Articles



“At Home” with Middle Island Press

Green Room window view

Green Room window view

The morning’s coffee tastes of honey & cinnamon; the window is open and the birds are singing; a gentle breeze rustles a happy houseplant, ushers the outdoors in. Newly off the printer and into the sorter goes one of my projects. Shortly I’ll take a break from the table and slide over to the computer to continue layout of yet another project. I await word from a few poets who are almost ready to leap skyward, manuscripts gathered up and held securely within my promises.

Collating Chapbooks at Middle Island Press

Collating Chapbooks at Middle Island Press

Life is good and I am so fortunate to have settled into my literary niche which keeps my mind on poetry and the power of words. It’s great to be able to work from home yet be as professional as if I were sitting in an office. This “Absinthe Room” is my office of sorts, and it is the birth place of over fifty chapbooks between two presses. They began with my husband and me, then my daughter, my sister, and an area anthology which necessitated Middle Island Press, and it just keeps growing because growth is what I see. The more flowers that bloom in my meadow, the more
beautiful it will be, and more will gather
with me for coffee and the perennial scent
of spring and summer.

Charles Baudelaire by R. N. Taylor
Charles Baudelaire watches pensively from the West wall eight feet away. On the East wall near the window, George Bernard Shaw, both painted by my husband.

Much to do today.

I must return to the table and finish collating, then on to layout of another project, then back to folding and stapling. Eventually I’ll get out and enjoy some sunshine, thin the carrot bed a bit, and come back in for trimming; packaging tomorrow. Another gratified poet. Such is life and it is good!

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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Articles


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