The idea to form Red Bird Chapbooks started during a 2007 class on bookmaking through Hamline University’s MFA program. The instructor, Regula Russell, insisted that each student come up with a name for a personal press. The founder, Dana Hoeschen, chose the name Red Bird for its simplicity, its generic nature, its slightly whimsical appeal, and the constant presence of red birds at the feeder outside the window of her workspace.
A few years passed… Dana let the idea settle in while she experimented with forms and honed her bookmaking skills until one day she approached a couple friends with the idea of starting a chapbook press. With their support, encouragement and a poetry manuscript Red Bird published its first chapbook in 2010.
Red Bird has grown in the years since – publishing numerous chapbooks, pamphlets and broadsides and expanding our flock from one to a team of many.
In our sixth year we have published over 90 chapbooks, a handful of pamphlets and over a dozen broadsides. During our reading periods we receive manuscripts from the world over and our community of authors, which initially drew from the Hamline University MFA community, now represents authors residing in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific.
Dana continues to experiment and innovate with book design, ensuring that each Red Bird title is truly unique. We have chapbooks and map books, pamphlet stitch and stab binding, a star book and a whole host of forms in between. There are talk of scrolls and micro chaps in the future. Each new possibility we accept has its own possibilities in terms of form.
Dana’s dedication to the book arts is not only exemplified in the variety of our publications, but also in her willingness to mentor the Red Bird team. It is not uncommon for our team of editors to get together for bookmaking and chapbook assembly sessions. And all of our editors are encouraged to consider and experiment with book design.
What started as one person’s prompt in a classroom has evolved to a flock of talented writers and artists – all volunteers – all dedicated to making Red Bird Chapbooks publications beautiful representations of the writing and art they contain. More information on this team can be found here, on our Flock page, and on each of the Editors Pages located in the Community section.