Thornwillow Press Dispatch

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Thornwillow Press Dispatch

May 28, 2021, 1:58pm

Anyone subscribe to the Dispatch from Thornwillow? It looks like a nice little program for a book and press lover. And I don't really know another press that has something like it, especially for the price point.

The latest title that they announced, Ask Hafiz by Sahar Muradi, looks right down my alley. But I'm already over-subscribed with private presses and with trade book subscriptions. I would consider buying it a la carte in the paper wrapped edition if the Dispatch titles show up that way on the website after all the subscriptions go out. I can't tell from the website whether that is possible.

In any event, I'd love to hear what subscribers think about the program and what gems they might have gotten as a part of it.

Edited: May 28, 2021, 4:04pm

>1 jveezer: I subscribe to the Dispatch on a monthly basis and feel it’s a great value. Each shipment includes the monthly chapbook, 2 broadsides, and a piece of stationary or bookmark. The chapbooks themselves are usually 30-40 pages and, in some cases, are works by budding authors having their work published in fine press form for the first time.

That said, the books are definitely available a la carte, if you want to pick and choose month to month.

EDIT: I would note that subscribing to the Dispatch also gets you early notification about Thornwillow’s upcoming projects as well as bonus rewards when backing their Kickstarter campaigns (in some cases).

Jun 16, 2021, 2:27pm

Thornwillow is killing me right now. I don't need more temptations and can't afford another subscription. But I have to have Ask Hafiz and now they are doing the Dead and it's Blooms Day. Ugh.

Jun 16, 2021, 4:34pm

>3 jveezer: not familiar with the author nor work (Ask Hafiz) can you tell me about her and her writing? Thanks.

Jun 18, 2021, 4:26pm

>4 astropi: I read about her somewhere (maybe in a Thornwillow dispatch email or maybe in a LitHub article?) and I really liked what she had to say about Hafiz and how his poetry and writing affected her life and guided her through everything the world threw at her. I liked what she had to say about the translation, and the translatibility, of Hafiz' work. And I've been wanting to dive into Hafiz, Attar, and Rumi.

I'm also reading a lot of literature in translation, especially from women, POCI, and LGBTQIA+ writers. So I can't resist this one...

Edited: Jul 16, 2021, 6:08pm

Received my copy of The Dead. I jump on and off the dispatch which is a feature I like.

Jul 17, 2021, 6:25pm

>6 trentsteel: How does that work? they charge you up front for the whole year, so how does the jumping on off affects that?

Jul 17, 2021, 6:32pm

You can pay for the year or just each month. They announce the title for the upcoming month prior to month end. So if it's a title that interests me, I stay enrolled in patreon. If not interested, I can cancel and re-subscribe the following month. Sometimes I do space out and forget to unenroll, and get an unexpected treat, in one instance Goblin market, which I never would have read not being into poetry. But having forgotten to unenroll I received it and read it, enjoying it very much.

Jul 17, 2021, 6:46pm

>8 trentsteel: ohh, I see.. Classic subscription does not allow skipping but then it is much more affordable. since you do get both classic and Patreon versions of the book, would you say Patreon editions are higher quality?

Jul 17, 2021, 6:54pm

>9 dar.lynk: oh no, I'm definitely not the higher tier. I'm basic, I think classic, as you noted. The website patreon allows you to subscribe on a month to month basis. If you subscribe through the actual thornwillow website, I believe in that case, you do the full year.

Jul 18, 2021, 12:50am

>7 dar.lynk: I just bought Asking Hafiz a la carte on their website right after they published it. I'm tempted to do the same for the Joyce because I love his writing and I have a hard time resisting any new fine press Joyce. But really I'd only be doing it for the artwork, so I'm resisting so far.

Jul 18, 2021, 7:50am

>11 jveezer: their Twitter account makes mention of a centennial edition of ulysses. I wonder if that is their next kickstarter.

Jul 18, 2021, 7:57am

>10 trentsteel: thanks! I will check this out next year!

Jul 18, 2021, 10:56am

>12 trentsteel: I don't know if Ulysses is next, but the letter with the Joyce Dispatch did mention its kickstarter will start in the fall.

Jul 18, 2021, 11:17am

Edited: Aug 10, 2021, 11:40pm

For those that have the money for it, it looks like Thornwillow made alterations to their $300 Patreon tier, making it it’s own tier of the Dispatch. It includes:

The “Centaur Edition” of each month’s Dispatch title, letterpress printed on heavy archival stock and hardbound in cloth and handmade decorative paper boards. This hardcover edition is only available to our Centaur subscribers, and will not be available for purchase on our website after the subscription period closes. Subscribing at this tier is the only way to secure a copy of this extremely limited, individually numbered and signed edition.

A complimentary “Classic Edition” of the month’s Dispatch title to share with others, enabling you to be an ambassador of craft and culture in your community.

A complimentary curated assortment of letterpress and engraved keepsakes and goods for your study.

Behind the scenes access to the world of Thornwillow, as well as special thank you gifts along the way.

If you subscribe to one of our anchor publication campaigns throughout the year, you will receive a complimentary bonus add-on in thanks for your support of the Thornwillow Dispatch.

Aug 18, 2021, 3:37pm

Subscribing to the Dispatch also supports their Patron's Prize which helps emerging writers and artists. They just announced the newest patron's prize winner which will come out in the next installment of the Dispatch... Cindy Trans' "Sonnet Crown"... Some of the poems appeared as Yelp reviews before being printed by Thornwillow.

Also... btw...there is a new (or I guess just new for me) Fans of Thornwillow Facebook group...

Aug 24, 2021, 2:48am

If anybody is interested in a fine press trade:

I have a complete set of the Thornwillow Dispatch titles, and twenty-one duplicates. If anybody is interest in any combination (or all) of the following, let me know. Happy to make a trade.

How We Survived
The Dead
Ask Hafiz
Zero Hour
Ars Memoria
World Enough And Time
Firmness in the Right
Dracula's Guest
The Mark on the Wall
The Eyes Have It
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Yellow Wallpaper
Rip Van Winkle
Without Attribution
The Black Cat
Evidence of Evil
Arson Plus
Goblin Market

Edited: Aug 24, 2021, 4:50am

>18 grifgon: interested in The Eyes Have It and maybe a few more. Will message you

Aug 24, 2021, 1:21pm

>18 grifgon: Are these the Patron or Classics? I've been looking for a Patron Dracula's Guest, and would also be interested in The Eyes Have it if the commenter above oes not take it

Nov 4, 2021, 12:44am

Interesting title for the new December edition of the Thornwillow Dispatch.

"With the winter soon approaching, we’d like to offer a bit of magic to warm up the season! Perfect for a fireside read over the holidays, we are pleased to announce the next installment of the Thornwillow Dispatch, a magical short story from the father of Science Fiction: “The Magic Shop” by H.G. Wells.

"The Magic Shop, first published in 1903, follows a father and his young son as they discover a magic shop which exceeds all their expectations. While life continues on as usual outside of the shop, they quickly realize that the fantastic tricks performed there are more than just tricks; they are the real thing—genuine magic.

"No author has so vividly contributed to our view of the future as H.G. Wells, a feat achieved by his seamless blending of fact and fiction. Wells is most famous for novels like The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds (among many others) which offered readers visions of the future never before imagined—air combat, space exploration, biological warfare—Wells prophetically brought these concepts to life with the stroke of his pen long before they became reality."

Nov 4, 2021, 9:08am

>21 whytewolf1: A very exciting one! I decided to upgrade to the half cloth

Nov 4, 2021, 9:14am

>22 NathanOv: Is that a possibility? How do I do that? I just joined the dispatch last month

Edited: Nov 4, 2021, 10:30am

>23 Praveenna_Nagaratnam: absolutely, that would be the “Centaur” subscription level.

It’s a bit of a price jump at $300 (and given they make so few, definitely not the same value you get with Thornwillow’s regular half-clothes), but I’ve been just waiting for the right title to give it a try.

EDIT: For how to do it, the subscription management in the new website is pretty bad so you either 1) email asking to upgrade your subscription, which unfortunately relies on them responding in the time you have available or 2) do as I did and just purchase the subscription box at the upgraded level, then email to cancel your original.

Nov 4, 2021, 10:42am

I heard they’re doing something unusual with this one. A puzzle or hidden secret in the book that will award the first to figure it out with a unique one of a kind prize book like they did for Poe.

Nov 4, 2021, 10:43am

Not sure about details, but they said they’d announce it soon. Suspense…

Nov 4, 2021, 11:22am

>24 NathanOv: Thanks... I joined the classic dispatch but the HG Wells book made me feel like upgrading. But at $300 probably not as I am contemplating getting Sir Gawain & the Green Knight after reading such fantastic reviews here... Will just have to be happy with the paper covers

Nov 4, 2021, 11:22am

>25 FvS: Ooh that sounds cool

Nov 4, 2021, 11:30am

>22 NathanOv: Very cool!

Edited: Jan 3, 2022, 2:57pm

I just started a thread on The Magic Shop puzzle... would love thoughts from people following here if they've made any progress.

Edited: Jan 20, 2022, 5:27pm

Interesting new title for the February edition of the Thornwillow Dispatch:

"Written in the late seventeenth century, Peau D’Âne is a 17th century coming-of-age story that resonates as strongly today as ever before. This tale of a young woman's quest for independence and identity reminds readers that with courage, wit, and self-actualization, happily ever after is within everyone's reach."

"Charles Perrault was a French writer and poet born in the middle of the seventeenth century. After his election to the prestigious Académie Française, he challenged the preeminence of Ancient authors in the ongoing Académie feud of the “Ancients and Moderns,” and pioneered the genre of the fairy tale by recording and modernizing folk tales like Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty, and, many more."

"Thornwillow’s bilingual edition of Peau D'Âne, will include the original French and an English translation by Robert Samber and J.E. Mansion, and will appear in three letterpress printed limited editions:

Classic Edition: Copies bound in letterpress paper wrappers
Patrons’ Edition: Volumes featuring handmade paste paper bindings and letterpress printed labels
Centaur Patrons’ Edition: Hardbound in cloth and decorative paper boards.
Patrons’ and Centaur Patrons’ editions will support the continuation of the Thornwillow Patrons’ Prize for Emerging Artists and be individually numbered and signed by the publisher."

Jan 21, 2022, 5:57pm

I love the Dispatch. Every month is a treat. This title will be wonderful.

Edited: Mar 9, 2022, 4:34pm

The April Thornwillow dispatch has been announced. As with our friends at No Reply, they have decided to celebrate a Ukrainian author. The dispatch is To the Dead and the Living and the Unborn by Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko. Available in Classic, Patron, and Centaur editions as usual.

Mar 9, 2022, 4:53pm

Wow! That looks great too! A historical figure and writer from TW and a living woman writer from No Reply. From the title it would look appropriate to send copies to the leaders (East and West) whose comic handling of this situation have brought us to this tragedy.

Mar 9, 2022, 6:15pm

>33 Shadekeep: Any idea who the translator is?

Mar 9, 2022, 7:39pm

>35 ambyrglow: No indication on their website of the translator. Probably a public domain one for a 177 year old poem....

Mar 10, 2022, 1:06am

>36 jveezer: Surely, but as there are several to choose from I’m curious which one they picked.

Mar 10, 2022, 8:46am

>35 ambyrglow: Wasn't able to track the translator down, perhaps when they post about it on Patreon they will provide the details. Or a Patreon subscriber could ask them then.

Mar 10, 2022, 9:48am

A quick question for anyone with a Thornwillow subscription. I created a Patron level one in order to pick up the current dispatch. The subscription started yesterday. If I now Pause the subscription, that should stop the next release from automatically billing, but still get me the current one, correct? I'd hate to pause it only to discover that locked me out of this book too.

Edited: Mar 10, 2022, 12:33pm

>39 Shadekeep: Yes, if you did it via the Thornwillow website and paid, you'll receive the next dispatch up even if you pause. You just have to be a little careful about when you unpause because I did it before the end of a subscription period once and got duplicates.

Mar 10, 2022, 12:37pm

>40 NathanOv: Fab, thanks for the info!

Mar 11, 2022, 5:02pm

>35 ambyrglow: Well the question has been answered: A.J. Hunter. Seems to be an existing translation which you can find some snippets of online, though a quick search of the name doesn't turn up much else. Anyone else familiar?

Mar 11, 2022, 6:48pm

Just read this Vera Rich translation of the poem. Good read to get a flavor for what the Dispatch will contain.

May 9, 2022, 1:45pm

The June dispatch is up for subscribing. It's The Girling Season by Christina Milletti. I really like the chickenwire motif on the Classic version.

May 14, 2022, 1:12pm

They get better and better.

This is one of the Patron's Prize winners...

May 14, 2022, 2:14pm

>45 FvS: Yes, very much looking forward to this one!

Jul 5, 2022, 8:49pm

The August 2022 monthly dispatch is up for subscriptions, looks like another fascinating title! It's Part Horror, Part Magic, Holy Ourselves by Donna Steiner.

Jul 7, 2022, 11:59am

This is the next Patrons' Prize winner. I love the Patrons prize titles because they take us to uncharted territories and are a wonderful contrast to the famous authors and classic texts. It is a great way to promote emerging writers. I have been moved by many of these titles, especially:

"Ask Hafiz" by Sahar Muradi -
"Protocol" by Amy Evans -
'Topos" by Beth Steidel -

They have all been interesting, but these three really stood out for me as particularly special and moving.

Jul 7, 2022, 12:30pm

I only have Ask Hafiz but I agree, it is quite lovely. And TW publishing books like it and authors like Muradi is amazing.

Jul 7, 2022, 12:34pm

>48 FvS: That’s great. Thanks for the recommendations!

Jul 7, 2022, 12:39pm

>48 FvS: Agreed. I have Protocol and Topos, and have ordered both The Girling Season and Part Horror, Part Magic, Holy Ourselves. I think is a great format for new and adventurous works.

Jul 7, 2022, 3:02pm

Definitely looking forward to the new ones...

Jul 21, 2022, 6:46pm

Has anyone received The Girling Season? I feel like I haven’t received a dispatch in a while and I can’t find it on their website.

Jul 22, 2022, 6:45am

>53 yolana: Further, what is the usual timeline on dispatches? I'm new to the subscription so not sure what the status quo is, but have three orders in my account area now without any arrived (international).

Jul 22, 2022, 8:42am

>54 Aleks3000: I usually get them mid month, but I haven’t received one since May. Maybe summer vacation? Or else they were shipped and somehow didn’t get to me. The orders page of my account is never really up to date since it shows things as as in production even after I’ve gotten and read the book.

Edited: Jul 22, 2022, 9:33am

>54 Aleks3000: I also suffer from international shipping and will say that since dispatch one the shipping has been notoriously slow—a fault more of USPS than anything. The last dispatch I received was "How To Guarantee A Life of Misery", a few weeks ago. I would usually expect The Girling Season by the end of this month, before the announcement of the August one.

Jul 22, 2022, 11:59am

I am in the USA and have not received a dispatch since May, either. I suspect it is due to Thornwillow's staffing issues.

Edited: Jul 22, 2022, 1:18pm

>55 yolana: Was the one you received in May “How to Guarantee a life of Misery?”

I have that and “To The Dead, Living and Unborn” but have not received “The Girling Season” and am actually still waiting on “Youth” as well which was missed in their little shipping snafu for that issue but supposed to have been on its way

Jul 22, 2022, 4:03pm

>58 NathanOv: ?How to Guarantee a Life of Misery” is the last one I received. “Youth” and “To the Dead…” both came without incident, I had no idea of any shipping snafus, or staffing issues for that matter. Glad to know it’s not just me.

Edited: Jul 22, 2022, 7:02pm

>59 yolana: I think with Youth a number just got missed in the first batch - they posted a notice for everyone on the website, and emailed me directly to confirm I'd still be getting a copy, but I think that was May or early June so maybe they're just on a shipping pause.

Jul 22, 2022, 10:27pm

The following update was just posted on the Fans of Thornwillow Facebook group:

"The Girling Season... An Update!

I know that this title is being eagerly anticipated by many, so I thought I would get an update for everyone:

All of the pages for The Girling Season have been printed.

The Press is starting on the covers on Monday, letterpress printing the covers for the Classic edition and handmaking the paste paper covers for the Patrons' edition.

With any luck, shipments should be going out to Classic subscribers in about 10-12 days.

For Patrons' subscribers, the good news is that the Patrons' editions will be signed by the author. The bad news is that the Press is currently waiting for the signed sheets to come back from the author. So, Patrons' packages will probably take a little longer."

Jul 23, 2022, 11:20am

>61 whytewolf1: That’s great news, thanks for passing it on.

Edited: Sep 3, 2022, 4:21pm

Thornwillow Dispatch for October...

"A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things they have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue." – Tim O’Brien

It is with great pleasure that we announce a new project in collaboration with our Thornwillow-West Point Fellows: The first fine press edition of Tim O’Brien’s iconic "How to Tell a True War Story". The piece, which first appeared in Esquire in 1987 and later in O’Brien’s bestselling short story collection "The Things They Carried", examines the role truth plays in communicating soldiers’ experiences during the Vietnam War.

O'Brien explores whether, in the context of attempting to convey horrors that are unimaginable to all but those who have witnessed them themselves, the distinction between reality and fiction actually matters. Does this distinction really exist at all? As conflicts large and small the world over are always spawning new stories, O'Brien's words resonate beyond any particular time and place.

Subscribe by September 30th for the October Dispatch:

"How to Tell a True War Story" by Tim O'Brien is next in our ongoing Monthly Dispatch series, which is a monthly subscription of fine printing, in three editions:

Classic Edition: Copies bound in letterpress paper wrappers, available to subscribers for $30
Patrons’ Edition: Volumes featuring handmade paste paper bindings and letterpress printed labels, individually numbered and signed by the publisher, available to subscribers for $100
Centaur Patrons’ Edition: Hardbound in cloth and decorative paper boards, individually numbered and signed by the publisher, and available only to Centaur Patron subscribers for $300

Incidentally, this was last month's. You may still be able to sneak in on this one, as well, if you ask them nicely. :P

Sep 14, 2022, 7:41am

Finally received The Girling Season (classic edition) a couple of days ago - my first TW dispatch. Haven't had much of a look but will do so this weekend.

Sep 14, 2022, 7:52am

>64 Aleks3000: Congratulations! Hope you enjoy it. Collecting these can get pretty addictive.

Edited: Sep 14, 2022, 12:25pm

>65 Shadekeep: I agree! By the way, the Classic edition Dispatch subscription is absolutely one of the best values in the fine press world (probably the best, frankly).

Sep 14, 2022, 4:51pm

>66 whytewolf1: Definitely the best, IMHO.

Sep 14, 2022, 7:11pm

Sep 14, 2022, 7:16pm

>68 whytewolf1: Actually, not to be a pill, but I worry that Thornwillow has locked itself into a too-low price. Patreon doesn't allow you to change the pricetag of a tier, and so the dispatch will be perpetually stuck at what it was set in 2019. That's not going to be sustainable. And it's a mess to get everybody to move over to a pricier tier voluntarily.

Sep 14, 2022, 7:30pm

>69 grifgon: I suspect they'll eventually do as you did with the NRP tiers, which is retire older tiers but allow those at that level to remain, while new subscribers can only access the price-corrected tiers. It's a slow solution, but over time should help migrate folks. I don't know how many dispatch subscribers they have, though, so it might be magnitudes more slow of a transition than it was for NRP.

And I also concur, one of the best bargains in fine press anywhere. The production quality, the contents, the release cycle, all are exemplary.

Sep 14, 2022, 10:52pm

>69 grifgon: It's a fair concern, but though they're still servicing all of the Patreon subscriptions, they have a good subscription system set up through their website now (this is version 2.0; the software they used for version 1.0 was a mess). And I suspect, though I don't know, that when they inevitably raise the price, they'll probably grandfather in current subscribers as long as they maintain their subscriptions anyway.

Edited: Oct 2, 2022, 6:56pm

New from Thornwillow...

Dear friends of Thornwillow,

It is with great pleasure that we announce the November Thornwillow Dispatch Title:

"The Arrest of Arsène Lupin" by Maurice LeBlanc!

First published in the French magazine Je sais tout in 1905, “The Arrest of Arsène Lupin” serves as the introduction to the iconic gentleman burglar. A staple of early crime fiction, LeBlanc’s mysterious and masterful professional criminal is the anti-Sherlock Holmes, constantly confounding the public and police alike with his ability to “commit a crime without actually being present” and even meeting fiction’s greatest detective (unsubtly given the name Herlock Sholmes) in a later story.
This novella of Arsène Lupin establishes the character as one of the greats of French crime literature with the mysterious arrival of a telegram to the passengers aboard a vessel bound for America announcing that the infamous burglar is on board the ship. But which traveler is really this master of disguise in disguise? It is up to the passengers on the ship to determine the false identity of Lupin before they dock in America, where Lupin’s nemesis, the famed Inspector Ganimard, is waiting.

Lupin is to Robin Hood as Ganimard (and in many ways, Holmes) is to the Sheriff of Nottingham; Lupin often takes from the rich to give to the poor. LeBlanc’s debonair gentleman thief was adapted into film as early as 1908, with the Hollywood film “The Gentleman Burglar” featuring William Ranows as Lupin. Most recently, the character and stories serve as the inspiration for the acclaimed Netflix series, Lupin, which uses Lupin as the muse of a new-age gentleman thief played by Omar Sy.

With a gasp-inducing plot twist, “The Arrest of Arsène Lupin” cements LeBlanc’s writing as foundational to crime literature as we know it today. This Dispatch will feature the text of this iconic French crime story in the original French and the English translation.

What better way to celebrate the beginning of spooky season than by subscribing to the Dispatch to receive this most iconic of crime stories? It's also not too early to start thinking about holiday gifts- "The Arrest of Arsène Lupin" makes the perfect winter holiday present for any crime fiction lover!

“The Arrest of Arsène Lupin” is available for subscription until October 31st, 2022, at 7pm EST in three letterpress printed limited editions:
Classic Edition: Copies bound in letterpress paper wrappers
Patrons’ Edition: Volumes featuring gold engraved black paper wrappers
Centaur Patrons’ Edition: Hardbound in cloth and decorative paper boards*
Patrons’ and Centaur Patrons’ Editions will also be individually numbered and signed by the publisher.
*Available only to Centaur Patron subscribers to the Thornwillow Dispatch

Oct 15, 2022, 1:09pm

Does anyone have a sense of what the timeline is like for dispatches in the US? I’m curious only because I just paid for my third month but still haven’t received anything haha. No problem but I’m wondering how long I should prep myself to wait.

Edited: Oct 15, 2022, 2:02pm

>73 Tambien: They just emailed out an update today. August is shipping (I received my notice last week), September is being assembled, and of course November is not due for a bit now. No mention of October.

In the past, Classic dispatches have gone out in the third or fourth week of their respective month, so I’d say they’re about 6 weeks behind at the moment.

EDIT: timelines above are for Classic subscription.

Oct 15, 2022, 1:32pm

>73 Tambien: this also depends on tier. Currently the Centaur subscribers are 6 months behind, soon to be 7.

Oct 15, 2022, 8:56pm

Thank you both! That’s extremely helpful to know

Edited: Nov 1, 2022, 5:47pm

December's Dispatch is Three Tales of Consequence - Elucidating the Art of the Deal

All great art reveals to us some truth, but there are some stories which capture the nature of this world so fully and beautifully that they manage to transcend the distinctions between nations and cultures. These have been passed down, virtually unchanged, for hundreds—even thousands—of years, and are as relevant today as ever. This month, we are excited to share a selection of such stories:

Three Tales of Consequence - Elucidating the Art of the Deal As Compiled by the Brothers Grimm

Connoisseurs of folk and fairy tales, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm preserved a veritable treasure trove of artistic truths, passed down orally by common people over the course of millennia precisely for the lessons and insights they offer. Many of these are familiar favorites, lovingly adapted by both sleepy parents and Disney animators alike. Still, many more reveal… darker truths.

These are not your children’s fairy tales.

Presented in both their original German and English translations, these Three Tales of Consequence are united by a common theme and a dire warning—it is never wise to make a deal with the devil.

  • Rumpelstilzchen or “Rumpelstiltskin” - in which a miller’s daughter, desperate to spin straw into gold, deals away her firstborn child in exchange for a name…

  • Der Bärenhäuter or “Bearskin” - in which a soldier trades his life and likeness for love and riches…

  • Das Mädchen Ohne Hände or “The Maiden without Hands” - in which an unsuspecting miller signs his daughter over to the devil…

As we approach election season in the wake of a turbulent few years, these classic folktales and the lessons they teach us are now more poignant than ever. Many of us will be facing some difficult choices in the voting booth. When and where are we willing to compromise? Who or what are we willing to support? What are the human costs of each of these decisions—and is the deal worth the price, even one artfully made?

This edition of “Three Tales of Consequence” will also feature original wood engraving artwork by Rebecca Gilbert. Rebecca is a Philadelphia-based artist whose work exemplifies a dedication to traditional printmaking processes. Representations of bounty, fulfillment, longing, mystery, and communication between the realms of the living and the dead are embedded throughout much of her work. Her highly detailed work allows her to explore our perceptions of both space and beauty. She has lectured, given workshops, exhibited her work, and attended artist residencies and workshops across the United States and abroad. You can find out more about Rebecca’s work on her website,, or via Instagram, @rebecca_print.

Nov 1, 2022, 7:06pm

>77 Shadekeep: I love these dual-language editions.

Nov 1, 2022, 7:49pm

>78 whytewolf1: Me too. Luke (Thornwillow's proprietor) is a native German speaker, and it's been 30 years since he put it to use in a TWP edition!

Nov 2, 2022, 3:22am

Hi all! Hopefully a quick question, but I just want to make sure I’m setting my expectations properly. I decided to spring for a copy of the Portrait of a Free Man half-cloth edition from Thornwillow and I noticed that it has fairly significant scuffing from the plough along the head and an untrimmed tail. Not a big deal because the text itself is beautiful, but I was wondering if this is standard for Thornwillow books and, if so, how that shows up in Dispatch titles.

Edited: Nov 2, 2022, 4:23am

>80 Tambien: A good rule of thumb with Thornwillow is the higher the tier, the more “character” a particular copy might have.

The Classic Dispatch might be the most uniform and consistent state of publications that Thornwillow puts out. My Patron editions, with their nicer materials, have had more handmade idiosyncrasies - some charming, some not so much, but none too egregious.

My one-and-only Centaur edition had flaws that the first read deemed worthy of a return, and I’ve had similar issues with the other more limited states. However, they’ve for the most part made it right and made sure I end up with beautiful copies in my collection.

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 12:03pm

January 2023 Monthly Dispatch: Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

As this year winds to a close, we are proud to present our January Dispatch title, by iconic and oft-requested author, Ernest Hemingway: Hills Like White Elephants

Ernest Hemingway remains one of the most recognized and influential writers of the twentieth century. Known for his sparse writing style and macho persona, he was a master of what he called the “iceberg theory,” the idea that what is left unseen and unsaid in a story may be just as meaningful as what is recorded on the page. In other words, what lurks beneath the surface of a story, or a person, might be greater than what is visible from above. Hills Like White Elephants is quintessential Hemingway in this regard: understated, yet charged with meaning.

First published in 1927, Hills Like White Elephants continues to resonate today. The story centers around an American man and a young woman nicknamed “Jig” as they pass time drinking at a Spanish train station. Their conversation is vague but tense and revolves around an “operation” that the man suggests his companion might undergo, and although they never say the word, it is generally accepted that their discussion concerns an abortion.

In typical Hemingway fashion, the conclusion of Hills Like White Elephants—including the moral conclusion—is left largely to the reader’s interpretation. Historical evidence suggests that Hemingway himself had a contentious—and self-contradictory—relationship with abortion. As we have seen dramatically in recent months, today’s broader societal struggle surrounding abortion remains unresolved. Nearly 100 years after this story’s publication, and half a century after Roe v. Wade, the debate over crucial questions of agency, influence, and bodily autonomy continues.

Dec 1, 2022, 1:19pm

>82 Shadekeep: I love how they're doing more classic short stories. This looks like another great release!

Dec 1, 2022, 1:47pm

>83 whytewolf1: Agreed, I've been very happy with their direction of late. Choice classics and interesting new material in equal measure, and the curation has been top-notch.

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 2:46pm

>83 whytewolf1: Their releases have been eclectic, which is great to see, but I differ a bit on this one. Anthologized a million times. I would love to see them take a crack on someone like Lucia Berlin. Her collection A Manual for Cleaning Women was released posthumously and made the NYT top-ten books of 2015 but otherwise flying under the radar since then. A distinctive but lesser-known author, much more exciting than another Hemingway release. That's my $.02 anyway, which is worth about $.00. 😂

Dec 1, 2022, 4:12pm

>85 LBShoreBook: I would honestly consider emailing them with the suggestion, though I have no problem buying a fine standalone letterpress version of a story that's been heavily anthologized, as that usually means it's pretty good. ;)

Dec 1, 2022, 4:12pm

Dec 1, 2022, 5:25pm

>85 LBShoreBook: I'm with you there! To their credit, the dispatch introduced me to Sahar Muradi via Ask Hafiz. I am much more likely to purchase something like that or like your suggestion. Thanks for bringing Berlin to my awareness. Now I will keep an eye out for one of the Black Sparrow Press editions I see were published in the '90s.

I'm interested in a Hemingway take on abortion, so I'll slip that story into my reading queue. But probably from the library. I have no more book$$ for Hemingway.

Dec 1, 2022, 9:55pm

>85 LBShoreBook: I also think that's a good choice to draw from and would happy support a dispatch from her too.

Dec 2, 2022, 5:33am

I’m thrilled to see this one. It was a story that I had taught for many years to university students here in Japan, one that generated far more of an emotional response than might be expected. It routinely ranked quite high in surveys at the end of semesters.

Dec 7, 2022, 11:50pm

I'm a centaur subscriber and I like Hemingway , but $300 seems high for a few-page short story.

Jan 2, 8:04pm

February 2023 Monthly Dispatch: Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair By Pablo Neruda, translated by W. S. Merwin

February is the month that represents love, passion, and the expression of those emotions. In celebration of love and to warm our readers in the cold of winter, we are happy to announce that the pre-publication subscription period for the next title in our ongoing Monthly Dispatch Series is now open. We are proud to present:

Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair, By Pablo Neruda, translated by W. S. Merwin

When Pablo Neruda published the first poem in this collection, often titled “Cuerpo de mujer” (“Body of a Woman”) in 1924, the devastation resulting from the horrors of World War I was still at the forefront of people's minds. Additionally, Neruda’s native Chile was hit hard by the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918-1921. The nation that first read the passionate and unreserved lines “Cuerpo de mujer, blancas colinas, muslos blancos, / te pareces al mundo en tu actitud de entrega” was a nation, a people, in recovery. Neruda illustrates the importance of meditating on beauty in a period of searching.

Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada was widely acclaimed upon its publication in 1924, with widespread popularity among critics and the Chilean population alike. Although criticized for its explicit erotic nature, the poems resonated with a nation attempting to rebuild after tragedy. Neruda meditates on both the natural yet rough beauty and down-to-earth women of his native Chile in his poetry. His voice rings with a yearning and honesty that makes his work timeless; any person who has loved can feel the truth in the rawness of Neruda’s words. The sincerity and complexity of his writing earned Neruda a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. But regardless of the period in which one reads it, Neruda’s voice strikes a deep chord. Even in the twenty-first century, it is the bestselling book of poetry in the Spanish language.

But Neruda’s legacy goes beyond literature. A vocal member of the Chilean Communist Party, he published a great deal of historical and political writing in addition to love poetry. Neruda served in diplomatic posts for the Chilean government in Argentina, Spain, France, and Mexico, and advised Salvadore Allende, the first (and only) socialist President of Chile. Following Augusto Pinochet’s fascist coup-d'etat in 1973, Neruda suspected a doctor of attempting to poison him on Pinochet’s orders. Indeed, the Chilean government issued a statement in 2015 stating that, contrary to the line repeated since Neruda’s death in 1973 that he had died of heart failure, it was in fact likely that Neruda was killed as a result of his political associations.

Thornwillow’s edition of Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair presents the text in both the original Spanish and the English translation by W. S. Merwin. Merwin, a much-celebrated poet in his own right, brings the lyricism and beauty of Neruda’s poetry into English. Merwin’s own poetry earned him Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry in 1979 and 2009 and a National Book Award for Poetry in 2005, and he served as the 17th United States Poet Laureate in 2010. In addition to his translation of Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair, Merwin has translated other classic poetry such as “The Song of Roland,” Dante’s “Purgatorio,” and “Gawain and the Green Knight.”

Available for pre-order via subscription to the Thornwillow Dispatch until January 31st, 2023.

Classic Edition: Copies bound in letterpress paper wrappers
Patrons’ Edition: Volumes featuring gold engraved black paper wrappers
Centaur Patrons’ Edition: Hardbound in cloth and decorative paper boards*
Patrons’ and Centaur Patrons’ Editions will also be individually numbered and signed by the publisher.

*Available only to Centaur Patron subscribers to the Thornwillow Dispatch

Jan 3, 8:00am

>92 whytewolf1: Excellent! Looking forward to this one as well.

Jan 3, 10:09am

>93 Shadekeep: Me, too. Another dual-language edition too, which I love!

Jan 3, 10:15am

>94 whytewolf1: Seconded! I'd love to see more of that going forward, and kudos to Thornwillow for taking this route.

Edited: Jan 8, 12:37pm

I hope they do a dual of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Grateful Thornwillow is doing this.

Jan 17, 9:46am

>91 ProbisPateo: Remember, though, that as a Centaur subscriber, you are actually a patron of the press. The proceeds go to support their work and the work of the Thornwillow Institute. Also, the only way to get a Centaur edition ( unless you can find one on the secondary market) is to be a Centaur subscriber. The editions are super limited. Also, I have paid $300 for a broadside or a print. In other words, I don't think the size of the book correlates to the price. We can all think about some very expensive postage stamps or baseball cards. I think this story is a terrific addition to the series (regardless of the fact that its on the shorter side).

Jan 17, 9:57am

Also, I just received a half leather copy of The Red and the White. This little book is a gem. The quality of the binding is amazing. Little leather bound books are so hard to do well and this one hits it out of the park IMO.

I understand that they have a number of new people in the bindery doing really beautiful work and are gradually getting caught up. And they now have a second Heidelberg press for the book work so the printing front is getting caught up too. I'm especially looking forward to seeing Ulysses get back on track. I called the press the other day for an update and it sounds like things are heading in a good direction on several fronts. In the meantime I look forward to continuing to receive the Dispatches. They are wonderful little boxes.

Jan 17, 2:15pm

>98 FvS: I'm slightly annoyed that you've received a half-leather copy of that book already and Centaur subscribers are currently 10 months behind on their subscriptions. Just slightly. Like that much annoyed.

Jan 18, 11:40am

It's true. The Centaur editions are terribly delayed. It is really frustrating for us and certainly also for them. I called the other day to nudge/complain/inquire about this. They told me that the leather ones went through a different production pipeline which is why that one got done faster. They said that the Munger Centaur is done and ready to ship shortly and the rest are now finally moving. They have hired some new and talented people in the bindery who are settling, so things should start to move more quickly now. Fingers crossed. I agree with you, the delays are really annoying. But as mentioned earlier, I see the Centaur tier as a way to support the press particularly as they navigated this bumpy last year, so i am ok to be patient. I don't see it as much as a purchase, as a way to support something I am eager to see succeed. That said, I am really looking forward to receiving the books!

Edited: Jan 24, 11:07am

I have to say, "Three Tales of Consequence" has my favorite typography, design and illustration of any Dispatch title to date. Excellent illustrator and a great suite of woodcuts that pair perfectly with the text and printing in my opinion.

I just with they'd cut the silly subtitle & introduction and let it be simply a set of thematically related stories.

Jan 24, 9:09pm

Good deal. Looking forward to receiving my copies.

Jan 24, 9:22pm

>101 NathanOv: it’s a gorgeous book, my favorite so far, though of course I’ve only subscribed for a year so I’m sure I missed some really great ones. It seems like getting away with highway robbery at $30.