Now It's Up To You Publications features small format poetry projects:
poetry postcards, broadsides (posters), and books. The first publication from Now It's Up To You was a chapbook of poems by Tom Parson, in 1980, titled Some Trouble. This was followed by Central America, poems by Charlie Burks, and The Interim Revue, a collection of poems and stories by Seattle writers.
The origins of these efforts extend back to publication of Consumption, a literary quarterly edited in Seattle, 1967-1970, by Paul Hunter, Tom Parson, and John Sherman. Eight issues were published during that period, as well as a chapbook of poems by Paul Hunter, Your House Is On Fire And Your Children Are Gone; a satire by Tom Parson, The Politics of Happiness; and The Whites of Their Eyes, an anthology of revolutionary poetry gathered from small press publications around the country.
In the late 1970s, Tom Parson was active in Seattle's poetry community, organizing the first Small Press Bookfair at the annual Bumbershoot Festival in 1977, helping to organize the Red Sky Poetry Theatre, with its weekly open readings, and helping with Poetry Exchange, a monthly literary calendar. He also was instrumental in the reorganization of the literary program of the Bumbershoot Festival in 1979.
Since moving to Denver in 1983, all Now It's Up To You publications have been produced entirely by letterpress printing from hand-set metal type. Dozens of works by poets from Seattle, Denver, and around the country, have been printed and marketed in a variety of small formats. Poetry postcards, and folded cards, have explored the possibilities of piggybacking poetry with the need to send a message, finding perhaps a double audience for the poet's work. Broadsides have been designed to carry poems as visual posters and wall-art. Chapbooks have offered appropriate packages for a single poem of several parts or a set of tightly related poems. Work is continuing on a full length book.
Tom Parson learned the basics of letterpress printing through a workshop in 1981 taught by Tree Swenson at Copper Canyon Press. His printshop in Denver now includes more than a thousand fonts of metal and wood type, an extensive collection of cuts and ornaments, a 10x15 Chandler & Price platen press, a Vandercook SP-15, a 7x11 Golding Pearl, several roller proof presses and sign presses, and both 3x5 and 5x8 Kelsey presses. Also part of the well-equipped pressroom are a 29 inch hand lever C&P cutter and a homemade photo-polymer set-up. Ready for future projects are a complete multigraph press outfit and two monotype casters with approximately 80 fonts of matrices for the making of lead type.
In addition to poetry projects, the press offers a full range of job printing from hand-set type, and has extensive experience printing on handmade papers, particularly in working with Ray Tomasso whose handmade papers are world-famous. Wedding invitations, birth announcements, business cards, stationery, postcards for gallery openings, yard sale posters--all manner of job projects--tie the press to the daily lives of people in much the same manner as poetry might be tied to the aesthetic and emotional needs of the human community.
Printing demonstrations have been conducted various summers in Leadville, Colorado, as part of Oro City, an historical recreation of an early miners' camp; at numerous street fairs, school classes, and book festivals, small proof presses and hobby presses are used to introduce the graphic pleasures of relief printing to new audiences. Workshops have been offered at the Ah Haa School in Telluride, and lectures and demonstrations have been presented through the Book Arts League of Colorado. One BAL project involved working with an apprentice to design and print elementary students' poems as posters for the bus system in Boulder; another BAL project involved demonstrating use of a Colts Armory press at the Hiwan Homestead Museum in Evergreen. Parson has assisted numerous local printers in obtaining equipment and in getting started printing; has helped in organizing activities of the Brad Rogers Bookbinding Group; has put together the annual book arts demonstrations at the Rocky Mountain Book Festival; and participates in the bi-monthly lunch gatherings of the Wrong Fonts, a group of local letterpress printers. He has been active in various national amateur press groups--the National Amateur Press Association, the American Amateur Press Association, and the Amalgamated Printers' Association--which share publications through monthly "bundles." He is also a member of the American Typecasting Fellowship, and of the American Printing History Association.