A Good Hammer

A Good Hammer, is now available from Timberline Press. Timberline produces beautiful hand-made, limited-edition, letterpress art books.

Beyond the art and craft of the poetry, A Good Hammer is a limited edition, signed and numbered, collectible. Because there will be no “second print run,” and due to the financial limitations of small press enterprises, you have this opportunity to order your copy of A Good Hammer while the supply lasts.

Praise for A Good Hammer

From Kathleen Driskell, associate director Spalding University MFA in Writing program, associate editor of The Louisville Review, and author of the national bestseller Seed Across Snow: Poems

Albert DeGenova’s new poetry in A Good Hammer is full of musical moments that leap from the page, calling us to consider the complicated whole of a man’s life. Exploring “fatherblood,” “divorce’s rough cut hole,” and the many lessons a man might learn from his growing sons, this collection unfolds like a fugue, interweaving poems that are honest and accomplished, strains that lament, soothe, and rejoice. A Good Hammer reminds the reader that though a modern-day family might inhabit many households, its ties are never fully unraveled.

From Ralph Hamilton, poet and editor of RHINO magazine:

Perhaps it’s in “pockets stuffed / with brown paper bags that / smell of Swiss cheese / and peanut butter and limp garlic pickles.” Perhaps in the cool moonglow touch of each finger on a saxophone’s keys, or three young women in black bikinis riding bikes in the rain, or in the “baby finding her toes.” Or maybe in “splinters, the little / cuts that never bleed.” Even, the simple wine-rich romance of how “she washed my back, / I combed her hair.” Whatever, wherever, the transcendental catalyst that makes a book of poems come fully alive—take breath, aching, literally begin pulsing on the page, grow more vital, more necessary with each poem—Al DeGenova’s A Good Hammer has it in spades. Skillfully crafted and deeply humane, Hammer celebrates the lasting, sonorous bond between fathers and sons, husbands and wives, the power of families, the simple joys of ordinary life, of music and dance; but also the fact of failure, of loss, of disease, divorce, the need for forgiveness, the sad fortunate gift of what the Portuguese sumptuously call saudade (and we, meagerly, longing). For DeGenova love is corporeal. And it lives at the center of this moving collection: not love as easy sentiment, but as blood and gossamer air, as beat and beauty, as hunger and bliss. DeGenova finds this link even in long forgotten words written on a yellowed cocktail napkin discovered “inside his father’s black fisherman’s cap – / a jagged sweat line, dry salt; a wiry / white hair caught / in a seam…” It’s no wonder the collection begins with a quote from Basho, the Japanese master of the brief, brilliant, firefly moment. Like its namesake poem, A Good Hammer delights in the living legacy of everything that binds us to each other and to the world, the one true thing, finally, “you can hold in [your] hand.”

About Timberline Press

Since Timberline Press was founded in 1975 by Clarence Wolfshohl, authors and readers had come to depend on Clarence and the press to produce beautiful books at reasonable prices. When Clarence announced that the press would cease operation at the end of 2010, the Virtual Artists Collective put its collective heads together to think about how to keep it alive — with the same commitment to beautiful books at reasonable prices.

Now the fine press imprint of the Virtual Artists Collective, Timberline continues under the master efforts of Regina Schroeder to produce hand made books in the long tradition of its founder — beautiful books of fine poetry that readers can afford.

During his thirty-five years running Timberline, Wolfshohl developed his craft of letterpress printing. Although he was willing to use other processes if justified by the book’s need, his original economic decision to use letterpress became an aesthetic one. The full involvement of our senses with a well-crafted letterpress book became his goal equal to the presentation of well-crafted and sincere poetry. It is this attention to the literary art and book-making craft that Timberline Press continues into the future.


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