In honor of the Day of the Dead, here is a digital facsimile of another NewLights Press classic, 99 Ways to Die.

We’re calling this a digital facsimile, as opposed to a digitally archived version of the book, because it is not composed of scans of the actual printed pages, as most of our digital books are. The real book is a little more than 200 pages (100+ sheets of paper with the versos unprinted) and that thick spine plus a shoddy hand “perfect binding” means that the book is extremely fragile, and does not open anywhere near flat enough to scan. [I wonder if there any copies of this still out in the world, still mostly intact.] Hence the digital “facsimile,” meaning that the book, with all of its wobbling and inconsistency, has been rebuilt on the computer. Perhaps it is effective, perhaps not. But here it is. & in a way, this is the third version of the book.

99 Ways to Die is, unofficially, the first NewLights Press book. The very first version predates the press, predates even the idea of the NewLights Press. Or perhaps the idea of the press emerged with the book. Although the thing itself was terrible, barely a book at all.

I’ve written before, on this blog & elsewhere, about how NewLights was started during/after a zine/bookmaking class my sophomore year of college. The text of 99 Ways to Die is from an assignment in that class, given by the poet John Yau, to write three poems: “10 Things to Do in Baltimore,” “10 Things Not to Do in Baltimore” and a list poem of our choice. My choice, because my roommate and I listened to a lot of metal, was “99 Ways to Die.”

I had so much fun writing the poem (with input from a few friends) that I wanted to try making it into a little book. I bought some Oaktag [yes!] paper for the covers, carved a tiny linoleum block image of the grim reaper and set up and printed the pages at quarter-sheet size to be saddle stapled. I’m not sure how many copies I tried to do, but not a lot. I hand printed the linoleum with the Speedball brand of water-based block printing ink, which, as some of you cringing readers might know, essentially never dries. So the prints came out okay, but quickly disintegrated into clouds of black fingerprints after repeated viewings. (The grim reaper used on the cover reproduced above is a screenprinted version pulled directly from one of those original block prints.) & the binding, oh the binding. One of the first things I learned about bookbinding was that a normal stapler is not long enough to reach the spine of even a quarter-sheet size book. In tandem with that I also learned not to wait until right before class to try to bind. [Current & future students of mine, this is solid advice.] So I just cut all of the pages down the spine and stapled them to the top of the back cover, clipboard style. It was not pretty.

But it worked. & the enthusiasm about that “prototype” version among my peers & friends & professors led me to maybe get more serious about this bookmaking thing. & after that, my life was quickly & wonderfully ruined.

Oh, & in case you’re wondering about the title and the epigraph:




UPDATE: The full sale of all NewLights Press items ended on Monday, 10/14/13, but the flood broadsides shown below will continue to be sold, and all of the money from those will continue to be donated. The sale has been successful. Thank you to everyone who participated & supported.

The floods that ravaged the state of Colorado a few weeks ago were widely reported in the news. The waters have since receded, and the headlines are focused on other matters. But the work of rebuilding and mitigating future disasters is long and arduous, and help is still needed. The recent, massive wildfires across the state have left many areas extremely vulnerable to flooding, and it will likely be decades until the burn scars return to normal, with vegetation that can hold the soil together and ground that can absorb water.

Always the question: What can we do? Always the answer: What we do. 

So in that spirit the NewLights Press is excited to announce the 2013 DELUGE OF AWESOMENESS SALE. For the next four days, until 12 AM on Monday, 10/14/13, all money from the sales of any NewLights Press item will be donated to flood relief and mitigation efforts in Colorado, both up north in the Boulder area and here in the Pikes Peak Region.

And of course there is a new, featured item in the sale: a limited edition letterpress printed broadside, written, designed and printed by a group of students at The Press at Colorado College.

2013 Colorado Flood Broadside
by Ashley Johnson, Patrick Lofgren and Katie Smith

Letterpress from lead type, collagraph and linoleum 

Edition of 90 

10.75” x 14.75”



You can view the rest of the available books here and broadsides here.

Thank you for reading, thank you for your help.



About a year ago, I wrote about how happy I was that Noel Black & I started a reading series here in the Springs. Now, I am even happier to announce that we are also doing a chapbook series in conjunction with those readings, and the first one is out.

It’s a small, dos-a-dos book with new poems by Anna Moschovakis and Anselm Berrigan. The poems in the book were written sort-of-collaboratively by the two poets: they came up with a list of titles and then chose to write poems using titles from that list. The book itself is simple, rough & ready, and in many ways marks a return to the fast, ephemeral productions that took place in the early years of the NewLights Press.

From the colophon(s):

The interior pages were printed on a home laser printer and the covers were letterpress printed from vinyl collagraph blocks and lead type. All of the paper is from the French Paper Company, 100% recycled and hydroelectric. The text was set in Adobe and ATF Garamonds, and the titling type is a modular face designed by NewLights. 100 copies of the book were made.

This book was made for a reading by Anna Moschovakis and Anselm Berrigan on Friday, July 5, 2013, as part of the Say Hello to Your Last Poem reading series. The book was folded, collated & bound by the Say Hello to Your Last Poem 3rd Battalion, 22nd Armored Division: Marina Eckler, Noel Black, Corie Cole and Aaron Cohick, stationed in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.

About the authors:

Anna Moschovakis writes and translates from the mountains of upstate New York and sometimes from Brooklyn. Her most recent books are You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake and The Jokers by Albert Cossery, which she translated from the French. She teaches at Pratt Institute and is on faculty at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. She is also a long-time member of the Brooklyn-based publishing collective Ugly Duckling Presse.

Anselm Berrigan is the author of six books of poetry, including Notes from Irrelevance, and Skasers (with John Coletti). A new chapbook, Sure Shot, has just been published as a little magenta thing by Overpass Books. He is the poetry editor for The Brooklyn Rail & lives in New York City, where he was supposedly raised.

Anna’s Half / Anselm’s Half
Say Hello to Your Last Chapbook! 2013, No. 1

Poems by Anna Moschovakis & Anselm Berrigan

36 pages, saddle stapled dos-a-dos binding

7” x 5.25” (closed)

Laser printed interior, cover letterpress printed from lead type and vinyl collagraph

Edition of 100 


$5 (plus shipping)

[Editor’s Note: You may notice that the colors in the images look a little strange. You are correct. The covers of the book were printed in fluorescent pink ink on pink paper, which caused the automatic color correction on the scanner to do strange things. But I decided to keep those strange effects, because they seemed more “accurate” than the muted pinks resulting from removing the color “correction.” They’re hot pink—that’s all you really need to know.]



After just about two years of hard labor, we are so, so excited to announce that the new book of poems by long-time NewLights author Justin Sirois, The Heads of My Family, My Friends, My Colleagues, is out & available for purchase. Here is what some of our favorite writers have to say about The Heads:

Mike Young:

When you realize the new Old Spice ads might be working on you, when you're trying to split the difference between desk jobs and shoulder licks, when you're old enough for raunch to go holy but still young enough for GIFs to go infinite—that's when you know you're in the LoS of Justin Sirois's barking and bounding poems. The Heads are singing to the super ugly animals that pace the medians. They are twitching to put back some magic. They are winking that the word "okay" is the most useful word in the room, and they are hoping to be together with you because the only way a head gets a name is when another takes it in.

Dorothea Lasky:

The poems in The Heads by Justin Sirois make me feel so many things. They are not “temples,” but “squishy” things that “I love to put my face in.” I like it that way. These are poems that are part of life, constantly affirming and reaffirming it. A life that greets you with its magic. As when "What fits in the hand/ grows into armfuls." Or when you "sex this bathroom until the bathroom ain't for/ bathing no more." Everywhere is the “imagery” of life that “repeats in heaps of beauty." These are also poems that are part of the digital America we live in now and so they make that alternate existence beautiful. I hear echoes of Walt Whitman, Eileen Myles, and Blake Butler in these poems. I hear echoes of old folk songs. Most importantly, I hear the breathing of an indefatigable I in these lines. One that is living and listening. Let's follow it.

CA Conrad:

“The tattoo / underneath the tattoo / speaks the language I want to learn.” Justin Sirois has always been one of my favorite living poets. “You have / everything you need / when you’re naked”, I trust, I trust ALL his discourse with our throbbing excitement for communion. His poems are our best possible use for ears. If I don’t know you and you LOVE these poems as much as I do, let’s get together to read them out loud over a delicious slice of something. “Lick the window / & your reflection licks back” is a delicious something we all love. It’s important they know to have a copy of this book resting on my heart when they cremate me.

The Heads of My Family, My Friends, My Colleagues

Poems by Justin Sirois
84 pages, double signature pamphlet stitch with folded jacket

8” x 6.25” (closed)

Laser printing, letterpress from lead type, lead spacing material and linoleum

Variable edition of 150 (three different jacket/cover/endsheet color combinations)


$20 (plus shipping)

Please note that we will not be able to accommodate individual requests for colors. The books will be shipped as orders are received—red, green, blue….



The NewLights Press is currently compiling a new analog mailing list. If you'd like to receive some free ephemera (and maybe the occasional book &or other interesting things), send us an email with your name & mailing address to newlightspressATgmailDOTcom.



The Second Iteration of The New Manifesto of the NewLights Press is now officially out & available for purchase.

From the actual text:

[…] Now that the book is dead we can begin to divide up its remains. There is much work to be done. They used to say that the function of the book was to transmit information. Now they say that books are no longer the best way to do that, that computers and their strange, wireless spawn are the best way. They are right: a handheld device that can access any text from any place does a better job of delivering information. They are wrong: books and the writing-designing-printing-binding-distributing-reading of them have never been solely about delivering &or receiving information. They would also have you believe that you are, first and foremost, a consumer.

But the reader is both a consumer and a producer. The reader receives the text-book-art-object, and her reading takes it in, uses it up. At the same time she produces the text-book-art-object, putting its paths of meanings into play and driving them outward. The text-book-art-object is a unit of light, both particle & wave, energy transmitted, expended & still potential, waiting to be absorbed & re-produced in the reading. Energy creates energy. Production creates production. Production creates our shape in the world, is our shape-in-the-world in the movement-between of the world.

Our existence is a constant generating of text. We radiate text, reflect text, shed text like skin. We speak, we write. We send emails, text messages & memos. We fill in forms, we get a receipt with every purchase. Our world is bounded by, covered in, channeled through, text. The text-book-art-object is our sublime vision of the turbulent sea of language. It will be the death of us. It is our light-filled life.

We are only beginning to see. Let the book-in-the-world sit strangely in your consciousness, let it dissolve and disperse everything that they said you are. In this world you will be disciplined or you will be destroyed. But you have the choice: be disciplined by the tasks of what you produce, or by the tasks of the things that are being sold to you.

What has already begun is the New Manifesto of the NewLights Press. It is a collection of thoughts on and of the book, of what it can mean to make books, to produce the book, now. […]

The New Manifesto of the NewLights Press (second iteration)
20 pages, saddle-stapled
6.5” x 5.5” (closed)
Letterpress printed from photopolymer plates and collagraph
Unlimited, iterative edition
$5 (plus shipping)

UPDATE ON 2/13/15: The second iteration of the New Manifesto is now OUT OF PRINT. The third iteration is forthcoming in 2015.



As is not uncommon for NewLights books, the cover was the last part of the second iteration of The New Manifesto of the NewLights Press to be printed. The cover is almost always the last thing designed as well, and I always have to be careful not to rush through it. I’m always so much more interested in the interior (that’s where most of the work, where most of the book, is after all) and always in a hurry to get to production by the time the interior is designed. But the cover is important—it sets the stage for the reader’s initial interaction with the book.

The cover to the second iteration is set up similarly to the pages. The title uses the modular titling type (this time printed as negative space, off-white paper/letterforms against a bright medium-blue block) and a palimpsested-pentimento image printed by layering a hand-cut, vinyl collagraph over a halftone image printed from photopolymer. And, silly me, I expected the printing to actually go like the printing of the pages—simply, smoothly. Fortunately, when it came time to print the collagraphs, it didn’t work out that way.

There were, actually, some minor incidents when printing the collagraphs in the pages. I was using two kinds of blocks. One type had the adhesive vinyl applied directly to the MDF block. Those all held up beautifully. The second type, where I needed large open negative spaces and thus much higher relief on the block, used vinyl over thick chipboard, which was then attached to the MDF base. The problem with the chipboard is that it tends to come apart while printing—the layers just peel away. (One way to prevent the separation is to seal the sides of the chipboard with some kind of adhesive—I neglected to do that on these blocks.) I managed to keep the separation of the chipboard under control on the page blocks—the design of those blocks, with large, flat areas made it possible. The cover collagraph, however, had the small, repeating Stella stripes—the densest pattern in the book as a whole. It was a pain to make.

& it started to peel apart after about 6 or 7 impressions.

Initially, I fought it, tried to save it. (I was, also, of course, right up against the absolute deadline to get the covers printed & the books done for an exhibition.) It quickly became clear that it was a losing battle—as soon as one stripe was secured, another broke away.

One of the really interesting things about collagraphs is that, generally, they are made from objects-in-the-world, real things with both 2D & 3D qualities, and all of those qualities carry through into the print. Printed collagraphs become a record of a 3D object. (All printing from a physical matrix is a similar record, but most matrices are constructed to minimize their “interference” in the printed image.)

That 3D record was exactly what I saw in the prints from the degrading block. The piece of detached vinyl had moved & crumpled—it was literally printed on top of the rest of the image, and held all of its 3D properties. In the print, it looked as if the stripes in the Stella “image” were coming loose and hanging from the surface (which they were). The print oscillated between the intended, 2D articulation of the cover surface/picture plane by the stripes that were well-behaved, and the unintended, anarchic pictoriality of the peeling stripes. It was, for this book, better than I could have planned. AND because the vinyl stripes were detached, they would move with every pass of the press and print differently every time—the record would be 4 dimensional as well, spread over the edition. The only question was: would the block hold up enough, as in not peel completely away, for the entire press run?

The loose vinyl stripes were remarkably resilient (aided by a single piece of painter’s tape applied at the base of the block). They eventually would break & get stuck in the rollers:

but overall, the block both broke apart & held up beautifully for the entire run of 250+ impressions. & I was so much happier with these new, crazy, variable, unplanned covers.

& then the next day I destroyed exactly half of those covers by carelessly cutting with the guillotine.

So now I will try to reprint that second half, and hopefully the new collagraph block will fall apart just as effectively as the first….



The other big question that emerged during the construction of the second iteration of The New Manifesto of the NewLights Press (other than the minor details of text-content, the overall design, and the titling type) was how to handle the visual elements. I wouldn’t really call them images. The non-text text, perhaps. The writing-design of the book was a kind of palimpsest of the first iteration—using the same size, shape, and the same basic visual/formal structure, the idea being that this second iteration would exist as a kind of layer over the first iteration. Not an obliteration, but more of a pentimento. The book should always show its scars.

The first iteration used rotated and flipped pieces of Jan van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait as images. Thinking through how and why those images were used, how they function in the first iteration, I decided that a new “image” seemed appropriate, but one that would bring different complications into the construction. I settled on appropriating & distorting pieces of Frank Stella’s black painting, The Marriage of Reason and Squalor II, (1959). The reasons for this choice were multiple & shifting, and I don’t want to go into a specific, limiting description here. But the painting’s title is one of my all-time favorites, and in & of itself fits nicely with the NewLights Press aesthetic.

Frank Stella, The Marriage of Reason and Squalor II, enamel on canvas, 1959

The digital mock-up of the pages with the Stella images looked like this:

But always the questions: how to print them, should that printing be related to the van Eyck images of the first iteration, and if so, how? My initial idea was to print the Stella images straight from photopolymer, but to cut the films with rubylith by hand, without a straight edge, in order to make the edges less rigid as in the original painting. But that didn’t seem to be enough—simply relying on the title of the paintings and the reader’s knowledge to make the connection would be too tenuous & wouldn’t actualize the layering of the text/books. I decided that both images should be printed, the original van Eycks and the new Stella, right over top of the other. The van Eycks would be printed as halftone photographs directly from the photopolymer:

And the Stella images would be printed from hand-cut, vinyl collagraph blocks, which would give the stripes the edges that I wanted, but would also print with a different surface quality and thus bring the physical material of the printed pages more to the reader’s attention. Obviously, printing the images from collagraphs would mean more labor: making the blocks, and then printing them in separate runs/lock-ups. My hope was that the transformation of the printed surface, and the legibility/attention to the material that would bring, would make it worthwhile. But isn’t that always the hope with these things. Here are some images from the construction of the collagraph blocks:

Most of the printing of the collagraphs went very smoothly, as expected from earlier tests. The cover block did not behave as planned—it fell apart while printing—but that was actually better & more on that in the next post.

The layering (printed in two slightly different blacks, one rubber-based, one oil-based) was subtle but effective. The images, with their heavy, messy, physical black are enjoyable to touch and look at closely. They are difficult to read, but still very legible.

Also, the second iteration of The New Manifesto of the NewLights Press will be officially released on this coming Monday, April 22, 2013.