What the Heck is a Chapbook

David J. Bauman

I’m glad you asked.

Outside of the poetry world nobody seems to know what a chapbook is. So when I tell them that I have published two chapbooks and a third as a collaboration with my son, they often nod in puzzlement, happy for me, but obviously perplexed by my wording. Sometimes they ask, “A chat book?”

In a local paper recently, it was announced that Micah and I would be reading from our new “chapter book.” Granted, at some point I may have used that analogy: Think chapter, rather than a whole collection, or novella as apposed to a hefty novel. But that’s not really quite right either, and it’s certainly not historically or etymologically correct. In any case, the library where we are reading (virtually) has the wording correct on their website and social media, so I’m assuming it was just a non-poetry-reading newspaper editor who made the…

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