Poetry and other documents in PDF format

The Portable Document Format (PDF) was invented by Adobe systems and is now an open standard for electronic document exchange maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These so-called 'portable document' files contain both text and detailed formatting information, including page size, fonts and typographical effects. PDF viewers are available for the downloading at many sites on the WEB, and many WEB browsers can be configured to launch the viewers automatically.

As a vanity project and word-processing challenge, I collected many of my early poems into a several volumes that were intended to be more inclusive than critical. Notes and commentary accompany the poems, which are presented more-or-less chronologically.

The history of the project reflects the history of my writing tools. I began writing mostly on a typewriter, an old Olympia manual I got as a High School graduation present. My first 'collections' were all typescript. As time went on I computerized my typing and writing. The XyWrite III version of 'Collected Poems' I don't think exists any more, but the output formatting was based on single-sided, 8½X11 sheets, like a typescript. XyWrite had a rather rich set of footnoting features, however, and I used them all.

XyWrite for Windows, as balky and buggy a program that ever existed, did allow me to use fancier fonts, and Windows™ printer drivers, including Adobe's PDF Writer. I added a second volume, used a different fonts for it, and formatted it for facing pages, a binding gutter, and all that good stuff. It never really worked very well.

I tried to maintain the current version by running Windows 98 inside a virtual machine, and running XyWrite inside of that. I worked fairly hard to clean up the formatting errors that came in with every new version of XyWrite.

The last plan was to transfer all this into Note Bene (a direct descendant of XyWrite which is also called 'The Scholar's Workbench') but that would have involved translating the old two-byte special characters from XyWrite into the current Nota Bene character set, and that was surely 'too much like work'... And by the time it was complete Nota Bene itself would have evaporated, anyway. So these latest, static versions are all that there will ever be.

The first three volumes contain what was I had put into the original collection, volume IV is the 'second' volume I put together, and volume V is my little joke. Almost everything worthwhile written after these volumes end has been published here on the web site as a 'Poem of the Month.'

Before I started maintaining this web site, I published my poetry via letterpress 'broadsides' that were hand set and printed. At first (I started around 1977) they were occasionally offered for sale (with little success) and later they were distributed in the monthly 'bundles' of the American Amateur Press Association Under the title Poetry By The Page . Until the late 1980's, these sheets were always entirely hand set in foundry type, and hand-printed on a 6" X 10" hand press.

I've recently scanned most of my surviving copies of the original sheets and converted them to PDF files. The scanning is not wholly accurate, and of course offers no inkling of the texture and look of the paper itself. Nonetheless, they are reasonable facsimiles and I present them here for historical purposes.

I should note that in my early days as a printer I often published works by other poets, and of course in those cases, the original author retains the copyright on the poem.

The volume numbering was occasionally inconsistent or duplicative, but I have also included the date (where I know it) in the form of mmyy at the end of the filename.

PBTP_V1_01.pdf 901 K PBTP_V5_02_0380.pdf 475 K PBTP_V7_01_0482.pdf 1,232 K
PBTP_V1_02.pdf 933 K PBTP_V5_03_0480.pdf 752 K PBTP_V7_02_0582.pdf 1,250 K
PBTP_V1_03.pdf 902 K PBTP_V5_03_0680.pdf 577 K PBTP_V7_03_0682.pdf 482 K
PBTP_V2_01.pdf 1,551 K PBTP_V6_01_0281_alt.pdf 1,086 K PBTP_V7_05_0982.pdf 755 K
PBTP_V3_01_0678.pdf 568 K PBTP_V6_01_02_81.pdf 1,095 K PBTP_V7_06_1082.pdf 564 K
PBTP_V3_02_0978.pdf 1,463 K PBTP_V6_02_0481.pdf 644 K PBTP_V7_07_1182.pdf 525 K
PBTP_V3_03_1078.pdf 883 K PBTP_V6_03_0581.pdf 456 K PBTP_V7_08_1282.pdf 1,279 K
PBTP_V4_01_0679.pdf 597 K PBTP_V6_04_0681.pdf 704 K PBTP_V8_03_1083.pdf 1,648 K
PBTP_V4_02_0879.pdf 1,519 K PBTP_V6_05_0781.pdf 777 K PBTB_V8_02_0483.pdf 854 K
PBTP_V4_03_0979.pdf 1,053 K PBTP_V6_05_0781_alt.pdf 755 K PBTP_V9_01.pdf 624 K
PBTP_V4_04_1179.pdf 751 K PBTP_V6_06_0881.pdf 905 K PBTB_V8_01_0384 (2).pdf 1,368 K
PBTP_V4_05_1279.pdf 724 K PBTP_V6_07_0981.pdf 895 K PBTB_V8_01_0384.pdf 1,368 K
PBTP_V5_01_0280.pdf 811 K

In addition to the scanned letterpress documents above, here are two documents that were produced electronically, and then reproduced from source as PDF files:

  1. Fly to California - a replica of Volume 10, Number 1 [13KB]
  2. listening to 'the yellow shark' - a replica the March 1994 unnumbered issue [237KB]

FAB&PP was the name I originally used (sometimes as FABB&PP) for pamphlets of prose and opinion. As with the Poetry by the Page series, while many later issues were prepared digitally, the first few were hand set and printed. I have scanned some of the earlier pieces into PDF format for publication here:

FABPP_1_0579.pdf 4,157 K Daniels House_Special.pdf 653 K
FABPP_3_0780.pdf 578 K Infinity_Songbook_1982.pdf 697 K
FABPP_4_1081.pdf 260 K
FABPP_5_0182.pdf 1,868 K
FABPP_6_1982.pdf 1,523 K
FABPP_7_0183.pdf 877 K
FABPP_7_1085.pdf 679 K PCard_01_1977.pdf 193 K
FABPP_8_0287.pdf 1,627 K PCard_04_1977.pdf 634 K

Again, for the original version of this page I also reproduced a pair of electronic originals, reformatted for PDF:

  1. Flash - a replica of a special issue from February, 1994
  2. Zinky's - a replica of a prose issue from 1993

The PDF format provides the publisher/designer with some interesting possibilities, including odd page sizes and effects that would be difficult or expensive to accomplish with physical pages. On the other hand, PDF documents aren't always super high resolution, they don't print out very well, and even their on-screen resolution is problematic. If you view the 'whole page' the appearance of the material is often 'dithered' in appearance because of the limitations in pixel-per-inch screen resolutions. On the other hand, while the type 'zooms' beautifully, you can't really read material very well when the page is at a 400% zoom ratio. In any case, many of the same thoughts I have expressed about viewing text on computer screens applies to PDF documents.

Nevertheless, There is some material which is naturally better suited to the medium than others. It's appropriate, for example, that the old Adobe Acrobat™ 3.0 sampler CDROM included the complete sonnets of William Shakespeare in a wholly original digital format. Not that I compare myself to Shakespeare, but I have produced this one booklet using material which I hope is well suited to the format.

  1. The 3 X 5 Poems - Even the on-screen dithering of the electronic type emulates the look of a worn typewriter ribbon.[780 KB]

These documents are protected by copyright. You may download and view or print them for your own use only; other reproduction, commercial use, modification, and/or re-distribution of the documents is prohibited.

Poem of the Month

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