The members of Hermitag/e know a thing or two about getting shit done. What began as two people sitting in a bar writing haikus on the back of drink menus has morphed over the past year into a group of poets, visual artists, and musicians committed to creating and producing their own work.
"It all started with the realization that we could make our own stuff," says poet Anthony Cinquepalmi, who founded Hermitag/e Press along with friend and fellow poet Chris Sanchez. The two were discouraged by the cyclical nature of trying to get published and the lack of creative control once work is selected.
Sanchez was working at a print shop at the time and turned the aforementioned series of bar haikus into what would become Hermitag/e's first poetry book "Let's Kiss and Take a Picture." Cinquepalmi enrolled in a print-making class with ASU professor John Risseeuw and started involving more poets like Elyse Mele. Soon this group of writers was creating books under the name Hermitage/e.
This hands-on approach was central to Hermitag/e from the onset. "We're sort of at an intersection between content creator and content provider," says poet and musician Spencer Hanvik. "The presentation and the poetry are equally important parts of what we're trying to do."
But the inclusion of non-writers (from photographer Bucky Miller to composer Garrett Miller) has also played a big role in the evolution of Hermitag/e.
"Seeing something you've made in a completely different form and feeling at home looking at it is a new thing for all of us," says Cinquepalmi, referencing a series of paintings done by local artist Carole Hanks to accompany the book release at the end of this month.
With these kinds of collaborative ventures and new ways of presenting work, it sounds like Hermitag/e is going places. "This could encompass more than your average printing capability," says Sanchez. "It's cool because it's not really bound by the things we're doing right now."
Hermitag/e has two events coming up this month at Willo North Gallery. The first, Let's Kiss and Take a Picture, takes place Friday, July 11, at 7 p.m. and features musical interpretations of poems and short readings.
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The second, Long Shadows: A Poem, will take place the following Friday, July 19, and will be a poetry reading and book release with visual translations of the work by Carole Hanks.
Editor's note: This post has been altered from its original version to reflect that the group goes by Hermitag/e and not Hermitag/e Press.