Ninja Press at Twenty-four 1984 – 2008
Ninja Press was inaugurated in 1984 by Carolee Campbell who is its sole proprietor.
While there was no specific literary agenda governing the selection of works to be published by the press at the outset, the abiding interest had been, in the main, contemporary poetry. The decision to embark on the path of bookmaking came from Carolee Campbell’s extensive experience as a photographer working in the darkroom using both nineteenth and twentieth century photographic processes. Turning photographic sequences into bound books led the way into bookbinding, followed by experimental book structures. Eventually, she expanded her work into letterpress printing, thereby opening the way into contemporary poetry—confronting it for the first time with a directness and penetration she had seldom experienced as a reader.
* * *
All the books, broadsides and keepsakes are handset in type and printed letterpress on a Vandercook Universal I flatbed cylinder proof press. She has designed, printed and bound each of the editions at the press.
* * *
Some of the institutions which hold all or significant Ninja Press books are The British Library, Brown University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Diego, University of California, Santa Barbara, California Polytechnic State University, Dartmouth College, The Getty Research Center Library, University of Iowa, Lafayette College, Occidental College, University of Pennsylvania, University of San Francisco, San Francisco Public Library, Scripps College, Smith College, University of Utah, University of Vermont, University of Washington, Wellesley College, Western Michigan University and University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The entire Ninja Press archive is held at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
A selection of images of Ninja Press books (click on any image for a larger view)