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Companion: Krupskaya Artist Books

In November 2019 we visited Rebeca Bollinger’s studio in the Mission to discuss drafts of the four book projects presented here, which are collected in one box set produced by Companion-Platform. We remember messing around with a pair of pinking shears that produced all kinds of interesting cuts in paper, with names like Scallop, Flash, Wave, and Heartbeat. Doing things together with our hands. Talking. Eating. At the time, we thought we were months or even weeks away from the books emerging into the world.

In some perverse, retrospective way, those meetings helped to condition us for what followed. On one hand, the adrenaline and pheromones — whatever they are — of in-person collaborative work offered a lasting memory of effervescence, a deep contrast to the largely solitary, grim year of 2020. On another, more logistical hand, the first time any of us experienced Zoom was in Rebeca’s studio, as Sofía visited us virtually from Emeryville. We couldn’t have known it then, but working on these books was part of what prepared us for life as it is now.

The idea of a box set collecting projects by Rebeca Bollinger, Sofía Córdova, Pam Martin, and Yedda Morrison emerged in an editorial conversation early in 2019. From the outset, we hoped to participate in the development of the works: The generosity and expansive imaginations of these four artists helped make that vision a reality. From meetings at the editors’ houses, where we ate tamales and shared ideas, to visiting the San Francisco Arts Book Fair for inspiration, to longer sessions in the studio, the seven of us had the pleasure of witnessing each project take shape in relation to the cohort’s practices. The seven of us served as sounding boards, offering encouragement and constructive criticism for and with each other as the project progressed; when Lexi Visco and Calvin Rocchio of Companion-Platform came on board to design the books and box, these conversations widened and deepened.

Each of these artists’ practices spans multiple genres and media. And the concept for the boxed set is grounded in our press’s longstanding practice of working beyond the boundaries of conventional poetry volumes. From Norma Cole’s CD-ROM Scout to Michelle Rollman’s illustrated Book of Practical Pussies, Krupskaya books have long sought to walk the line between written and graphic works. To a large extent, perhaps, that interest mirrors the multiple poetry scenes the semi-rotating cast of editors has trafficked in for more than two decades.  

Now that these works really are on the cusp of appearing, they feel vital and fresh all over again as they make their way to new readers. It turns out, in the third year of this pandemic, that we are still learning from these books: their wisdom, backward glances, humor, weirdness, and revolutionary vision. We deeply hope you’ll enjoy the following glimpses of each book and consider inviting the box into your home. Perhaps you’ll think of it, as we do, like a new friend, or the key to a secret room; a sprightly wild animal, even, traveling companion through another world.

— Krupskaya editors Brandon Brown, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Stephanie Young

Rebeca Bollinger

Sofía Córdova

Pam Martin

Yedda Morrison

Krupskaya Books

Dedicated to publishing experimental poetry and prose KRUPSKAYA is structured as a collective body comprised of writer-editors who have equal responsibility for the reading, selection, editing, and support of the books that are produced. The collective works toward a consensus.
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