A Pocket Book of Forms

A Pocket Book of Forms, fancy edition


“This book is the best reason to go out and buy anything with pockets—especially if you are a poet. Elegantly designed and printed, it is a portable prompt and expander of your repertoire of poetic forms.”

—Thomas Cable, author of A History of the English Language

A Pocket Book of Forms is a letterpress-printed, travel-sized guide to poetic forms. What began as a hand-written foldup minibook, created to help me remember the workings of poetic forms in my travels, is now a pocket-sized, pamphlet-stitched book. It was printed at Penland School of Crafts in winter 2013, using a combination of hand-set type and photopolymer plates. The finished book is in two editions: a standard edition of 225, and a fancy edition of 48, with faux-gold-leaf title type, lokta endpapers, and a cloth slipcase printed with the text never be caught formless.

The standard edition is sold out as of December 2017. A few remaining copies may be available for sale at these fine independent bookstores:

Pomegranate Books, Wilmington, NC
So & So Books, Raleigh, NC
Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

The fancy edition was on view from January 29 to March 4, 2015, at Abecedarian Gallery’s Artists’ Books Cornucopia VI. It remains available in limited numbers. If you’re interested in acquiring a copy for a collection or for personal use, you can purchase it from Abecedarian, or contact me here to purchase directly.

Thanks to everyone who has ordered this little book! I am seeking a publisher for a new, expanded edition, to include meter. If you’d like to hear news about this project, drop me a line and I’ll keep you posted.


The printing was finished during the early hours of February 14, 2013 (during which, around 3 a.m., the inestimable Rory Sparks and I applied the aforementioned faux gold leaf to the freshly printed, hot-pink title text of the fancy edition). Binding and trimming have been ongoing from late 2013 to the present. The book was available for preorder through April 15, 2014, at Indiegogo. Preordered copies were mailed in late May 2014.


Abecedarian Gallery’s Artists’ Book Cornucopia VI, January 29 to March 14, 2015 (fancy edition)
BookOpolis 2014: Printmade Artist Books, the biannual exhibition of artist books at Asheville Bookworks, September 19 to November 30, 2014 (fancy edition)
—Fall 2014 Rensing Center show at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts Lipscomb Gallery (standard edition)


Thanks to the many people who helped in the making of the book, especially: Lesley WheelerAnnie Finch, Carolyn Beard Whitlow, Erin Hammeke, Emma Skurnick, Dave Wofford, and Rory Sparks for guidance on content, book structures, design, and printing. Brian Hayes, whose March 2013 Computing Science column serendipitously alerted me to an omission in the text, which has now been corrected. My fellow winter residents in print and letterpress at Penland, whose cheer and encouragement helped the book. And special thanks to those who offered their pockets in service of ensuring that the final book is truly pocket sized. (With the exception of small, oddly shaped, decorative pockets, it is.)


About Pricing
The standard edition was available at three pricing levels. I’m indebted to Bread Uprising, a cooperative bakery, for its founders’ and members’ thinking about money, pricing, and the exchange of goods. A sliding scale, although not a perfect solution to the problem of exchange, allows people to pay what they feel best matches their resource level and their enthusiasm for the project. At the lower end of the scale, the price covers some of the cost of material, mailing, and studio rental for the book. At the upper end, it covers the materials, mailing, and studio rental, and offers support for future, similar projects.

A Pocket Book of Forms, standard edition, was available here for $12, $15, or $20, with $2 added during checkout for postage and packing. To order, folks could select the PayPal payment option they preferred, and choose a color, brown, dusty pink, or deep blue. (Brown was sold out as of February 2015; the last orders for deep blue and dusty pink were placed in December 2017.)

Never be caught formless!