Vendor Interview: Least Weasel / Propolis

It’s hard not to be excited every day for the fact that PHILALALIA is less than a month away, especially when we have such great readers– and such great vendors. For today, we spoke with Karen Pava Randall, who is the the proprietrix of Propolis Press and the midwife of the Least Weasel Chapbook series. While we’ve enjoyed everyone’s answers so far, hers have, perhaps, made us the most excited about our impending event– if it was possible to be any more excited than we already are. Read up:
1. What should attendees of PHILALALIA expect from your table at the art/lit fair?
Is there a way to prepare yourself for the poetic efflorescence that is not an Instagram, but could be your twitterfeed? Or the flesh-suit euphorics of strong pink adrenaline? Let alone the prophetic cultivars of snow globes and turkish delight? You may find yourself petting the letterpress covers of the weasels. You may find yourself nodding knowingly at a peculiarly apt turn of phrase. You may find yourself in a wind storm of words holding onto your hat. You may enter via a familiar author’s text only to find yourself lost in the labyrinth with the minotaur breathing down the back of your neck. Text is both a way in and a way out; it is Ariadne’s red thread.

2. What has Least Weasel/Propolis achieved this past year that you’re most proud of?
We’ve achieved a particular stasis at this moment: a fine balance between dry and uncouth, between sentimental and lacustrine, between things which we can lean on and things which we can use to propel ourselves forward. Moreover, we are thrilled as always to be a part of the vitality of contemporary poetry.
photo credit: Amanda Deutsch.

Least Weasel at a previous chapbook fair / photo credit: Amanda Deutsch

3. What is something people might not know about Least Weasel/Propolis? 
That least weasels are very tiny predators? That propolis is an amazing cure for canker sores? That’s probably the most useful aspect of propolis; it is very healing. I like to the think that any grapheme I have printed could have a similar effect on a reader’s brain. Also, Propolis Press is currently engaged in top secret research involving a computer program, a roll of aluminum foil, and an over-large lab rat.4. What spurred Propolis to launch the Least Weasel series?
The Propolis imprint has been focused on doing limited editions, really more what one would call artist’s books, which are time consuming to produce and hence expensive. The idea behind launching the Least Weasel series was to make something much more accessible & yet aesthetically appealing. [And also to be able to print more poetry by more poets. even so, I can’t publish nearly as much as I would like to.] As I design the text layouts, I am always keen to have as much white space as possible.
Poetry needs room to breathe. I find it good to pause and savor as I read.


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