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. Our 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.
As 2020 unfolds, we begin our tenth year. Over the years we have published over 170 chapbooks, a handful of pamphlets and more than a dozen broadsides. During our reading periods we receive manuscripts from the world over, and our community of authors, which initially drew from Hamline University's MFA in Creative Wrting community, now represents authors residing in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and the South Pacific.
Our designers continue 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 bindings, a star book and a whole host of forms in between. There is talk of scrolls and micro chaps in the future. Each new possibility we accept has its own possibilities in terms of form.
We are grateful for the generous group of volunteers that make up the Red Bird team. Several of our team members get together weekly 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 Editor and Designer Pages located in the Community section of our website.