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The Press and the Printshop

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Story of the Goat

Running the Goat Books & Broadsides is a micro press that specializes in books, chapbooks, broadsides and poemphlets by Newfoundlanders and Newfoundland-based writers. Many of our publications are letterpress printed, using moveable lead type, and sewn by hand; however, our list of commercially printed books is rapidly expanding, and we hope soon to welcome writers from other parts of Atlantic Canada into the fold.

The press began because of the encouragement of book artist and painter Tara Bryan, who invited me to visit her at walking bird press, and to use her Vandercook SP15 printing press. One visit became two and then three, and soon I was tackling “the Goat’s” first chapbook.

Each publication is a collaboration of sorts—authors are consulted about papers and design, and artists are approached for illustrations. Conversation, coffee, and the occasional batch of cookies ensure that everyone involved in a publication has the opportunity to offer thoughts and suggestions. Although the press’s “staff” is limited in number, its spirit is collective. Occasionally my daughter and other friends are lured into temporary service cranking the press, collating and folding pages, or sewing books. I am grateful to all who have helped, in whatever way.

The press’s name comes from a traditional set dance, often associated with Harbour Deep on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula; Harbour Deep has been resettled, but the dance remains a distinct testament to the spirit and culture of Newfoundland. In its publications, Running the Goat tries to capture something of the beauty and spontaneity, the joy and the intensity of that dance, and to celebrate the uniqueness of the writers who continue to live on, and write in response to, this island. Focusing on the work of Newfoundlanders is a way of thanking this remarkable community for the great reach of its embrace and acknowledging the richness and variety of its culture. I can recommend no other place so highly as a home for heart and mind, body and soul.

I have worked in libraries and bookstores, have studied, taught and reviewed literature, and continue to edit it, as well as print it. At almost every stage of my life, my work has grown out of a love of, and delight in, books and language. It is my great hope that Running the Goat’s publications are further expressions of that love and delight.

Advisors to the press:
Chris Brookes
Boyd Chislett
Don McKay
Sandy Newton