Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Plastique Moves Beyond Publishing’s Bottom Line Toward Innovative Literature

With a plastic card the size of a credit card, Plastique provides an outlet for, and exposure to, innovative works of literature that break the boundaries defined by the mainstream market. Plastique is an independent literary press based in Chicago founded by poet and new media artist Francesco Levato.

Plastique publishes enhanced eBooks distributed in Portable Document Format (PDF) that are viewable and printable on virtually any platform – Mac OS, Microsoft® Windows®, UNIX®, and many mobile platforms, including the Apple iPhone®. “Whereas we love to have a physical book in our hand we believe the old model of publishing will continue its decline and so are focusing on a more decentralized model,” said Levato.

Each enhanced eBook contains the author’s notebook and annotated text links where you can view web sites and download books, audio, and video that inspired and
informed the author’s creative process.

How Plastique Began

Levato, who is also the executive director of the Poetry Center of Chicago, decided he’d heard enough aboutpublishing models, feasibility scales, and the economy as reasons why literature is or is not published. He then proceeded to withdraw his book-length poem “War Rug” from several major publishers who were considering the
manuscript; “War Rug” is Plastique’s first title. War Rug is a work of documentary poetics in the form of a book length poem. Multiple interwoven narratives explore life within zones of conflict as viewed through the lens of current warfare. The narratives range from passages inspired by journal entries, firsthand accounts, and news reports to poetic constructs collaged from military doctrine, Freedom of Information Act released government documents (like CIA interrogation manuals, and detainee autopsy reports), and numerous other sources.

Plastique’s drop cards feature book cover-like layouts such as this card cover for “War Rug.”

As a Plastique book, readers can read the book and access all of Levato’s source materials. Future books will include drawings, movies, animations, and more thereby creating and interactive, multi-media experience from a single book. Books sell for $5 and are available for purchase online or by purchasing a drop card containing the download code at readings, bookstores, and other card carrying locations.

For more information about Plastique, including publication schedules and submission periods, check or call Lauren Rachel, Plastique public relations, at 773/640-4522.

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