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September 26, 2013

Hydeout Press brings old world sensibility to print

By Travis Raymond

Cleveland State graduate students Marissa Hyde and Alex Nielsen look to revitalize Cleveland’s poetry scene with the debut of Hydeout Press on Oct., 5.

Nielsen and Hyde are not new to poetry. Both are poets themselves. Hyde has been associated with the Cleveland poetry scene in numerous capacities for years, as performer, an author, and a sponsor, while Nielsen was a touring poet for a decade and operated Inkstained Dagger Press out of Toledo.

The two have now teamed up to publish handcrafted, limited-run books that showcase the work of select poets on an invitation-only basis.

First, they had to rescue a 19th century printing press from a scrapheap in Brunswick. Operating out of Nielsen’s garage, Hyde and Nielsen now intend to pay due deference to art in ways that laser printing never could.

“We’re doing chemical transfers for the prints instead of your standard laser toner,” Nielsen said. “So we’re actually printing the entire book in reverse and then painting it onto the paper using acetone, which gives us artistic opportunities you don’t get with a printer.”

The poet selected for such specialized publication as Hydeout’s premier run will be John Dorsey. Hyde and Nielsen indicated that Dorsey was easily their first choice.

“There is no question that John has blown me away every time that I’ve ever heard him read his poetry,” Nielsen said.

Hyde and Nielsen will print 500 high-quality standard editions, hand-stitched chapbooks on canvas paper, and only 20 collectors’ editions of Dorsey’s new book of poetry, “Twenty Poems about Girls.” Each of the 20 collectors’ editions will feature custom artwork, painted wooden covers made from actual skateboard decks, and different sequencing, layout, and themes which will correspond uniquely to one of the 20 poems in the book. No two copies of the collectors’ editions will be alike.

The process is highly labor intensive. Each of the 20 collectors’ editions required from 20 to 25 hours to assemble, but the publishers consider that extensive process to be essential to their goal of making real art.

“I want the book to reflect the content and the author more than our aesthetic,” Hyde said.

After graduation, Nielsen intends to pursue his doctorate and plans ultimately to teach English composition and modern American poetry at the university level. Hyde also aims to teach higher education after graduation while continuing with her scholarly publishing, literary criticism, and creative endeavors.

With almost 60 copies of their first run preordered already, Hyde and Nielsen plan for Hydeout Press to continue showcasing some of the top talent in poetry. The two have already named California’s D.R. Wagner as the second poet to be published by the budding new press and expect to announce the third when they release Dorsey’s “Twenty Poems about Girls” Oct. 5.