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Book Burning/Book Arts

Richard Minsky's description of his book burning, and his actions which I 
take to be a noble history of the book artist as social/political activist, 
make me ask a question which has been on my mind for some time. That is, 
how do people on this list consider themselves and their work in the book 
arts? Are you "book artists" or "bookmakers?" Are you publishers, literary 
or otherwise, who employ hands-on or other bookmaking techniques? Are you 
practitioners of traditional art forms? Are you practitioners of 
non-traditional art forms? Is your book work part of a larger artistic 
work which goes beyond the book? Is it part of a larger sense of 
commitment/activism which goes beyond the arts altogether (I'm not certain 
there IS anything "beyond the arts," but perhaps many of you do, so I 
thought I'd throw this one in)? Is your work more narrowly defined as book 
conservation or bookbinding or papermaking or printing or something else? 

The answers to these questions may not be at all simple. As for myself, I 
think of myself as a poet/bookmaker/publisher, whose work in books is an 
exploration of the form as a conveyor of literary possibilities, but also 
part of the work of poet and part of a more widely realized work in this 
complex world. How it all issues into the world, and into books, is quite 

I apologize if this is a discussion carried out in this list many times in 
the past. I'm relatively new here. Also, as the director of Minnesota 
Center for Book Arts, the question has direct meaning to me as I try to 
develop a sense of the multiple communities a book arts center speaks to 
and with. So I appreciate all answers, and hope some lead to more focussed 

And thank you, Richard, for your moving description of your work related to 
book burning and the Thor decision.

all best wishes

charles alexander
chax press
minnesota center for book arts
phone & fax: 612-721-6063
e-mail: mcba@maroon.tc.umn.edu

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