Vendor Interview: Bloof Books

Today, we’re featuring our brief interview with Bloof Books, a collective micro-press from nearby New Jersey, the Garden State. Shanna Compton, Bloof Poet & Publisher helps us to better understand what that means and also get ready for what they’ll be showcasing at our upcoming book fair! Be on the lookout– we may be posting more than one Vendor Interview per day now that our book fair & lit/art event is within reach!
1. What should attendees of PHILALALIA expect from Bloof Books?
We’re bringing our full catalog of books and chapbooks—so, expect really good poems—plus a few special ephemeral things. The Sonnets by Sandra Simonds will be on display (it’s not out till November) and available for a preorder discount. We’ll have mini broadsides not available elsewhere, and a limited-edition handmade poster created exclusively for the fair.
I’ll be giving a chapbook-making workshop on Friday at noon, so bring your questions. I’ll have examples of materials, demo some binding styles, and talk about how you can start a press at your kitchen table. That night, we’re co-hosting a reading at Snockey’s with Coconut.
2. What has Bloof Books achieved this past year that you’re most proud of?
We seem to be reaching new readers with every book and chapbook. It’s great to hear from people how they heard of Bloof and which book got their attention first.

three recent Bloof chapbooks, as they were in progress: Amanda Montei’s The Failure Age, Natalie Eilbert’s Conversation with the Stone Wife, and Dawn Sueoka’s Little Uglies.

3. What is something people might not know about Bloof Books?
We’re a collective. When people ask about our “business model” I can explain it, but I prefer to think of what we do as a group art project.
4. Bloof Books is not quite a small press but a micropress– and a collective micropress at that. Why are these designations important to what Bloof does and aims to continue to do?
Before founding Bloof, I worked for one of the largest trade publishers as well as a good-sized independent. One thing that became clear in both situations is that poetry is different from other genres, in terms of the best way to publish and promote it, so I decided to specialize. Bloof is tiny by design, not only because we’re trying to specialize, but also because that allows us (the poets) to be really involved with all the decisions about a book. There’s nothing remotely impersonal or corporate about the way we work together, and it feels really satisfying to be working this way. We do as many books and chapbooks as we can each year, but I never want to do so many that any of them get lost in the noise, or to burn through our (growing) readership’s attention. Our small size and friendly relationships also allow us to be flexible and experiment, as we come up with new ideas, or as various technologies change.

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