The adage not to judge a book by its cover has perhaps never been treated with more aplomb than by Amy Berkowitz. Almost all of the previous 45 titles out on Berkowitz’s chapbook press, Mondo Bummer, are simple letter-size pages, printed out and then stitched or stapled and either folded in half or into a trifold.
“They’ve mostly been under five pages so that they can fit in a regular letter envelope,” Berkowitz said from the couch of her Lower Haight apartment. She celebrates five years of Mondo Bummer this weekend with readings from past contributors and the release party for Ted Rees’ “The New Anchorage,” the press’ first full-length chap.
The idea for Mondo Bummer came to her while a student at the University of Michigan, where she was working for a press associated with the school. When the press decided not to publish a collaborative book by two poets she liked, she sent a Facebook message to one of them conveying her adoration for the book and stating her late-night, off-the-cuff intention to start a press — and the hopes to do so with their title.