Coracle Press

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Coracle is a small publishing press directed by artist and writer Erica Van Horn and poet and editor Simon Cutts from what was a small farm in between the hills of South Tipperary Ireland. Before that time it was based in London from the nineteen seventies culminating in its last bookshop project workfortheeyetodo : the issue of the small bookshop has never been far from such production as a means of warehousing and distribution.

Since 1996, in this more remote form, it continues as printer-publisher, editor of spaces, employing many of the devices and formats of hypothetical publishing inherent in the small press. Inevitably, the content of much of the publishing is the nature of the book itself, in both playful and critical dimensions. At the same time there is always poetry and other books by artists and writers, and an extensive arena of criticism.

The books themselves are not so much concerned with craft-traditions of limitedness of edition, hand-made papers and elaborate binding, as with the plain-ness of the simple case-bound book and sewn paperback, and their availability. Most years, Coracle undertakes on editorial and productional project beyond its own programme, but utilising the same approach to both the book and publishing.

A little bit of butter. Cork Butter Museum, 2007


Erica Van Horn. 4 book spines 1993 – 2007

Simon Cutts has developed Coracle over the last thirty years in its many publicational forms, to occupy a position more fundamental than that of the artists book, and one concerned with its clear space as a primary form.

Richard Tuttle and Simon Cutts. loophole, 1987

Coracle books seek the generality of the occasion for a publication, which may arrive from its particularity : the observation and recording of a singular phenomenon, the seemingly obsessive classification, the identification of genres. Often these books sublimate the notion of illustration, of the separable parts of text and image, into something trying to be more pure and essential. Then the attempt to synthesise text, image, material, method of production, and context, may result in a unified single work. When this succeeds, the book functions as a primary form.

Simon Cutts. An English Dictionary of French Place Names, 2004

The poem’s manifestation becomes the book itself, the particular bookform the physical metaphor of the poem.

Simon Cutts. The Waterfalls of New Hampshire in Winter, 1994

(Click on any image for a larger view)


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