Last Friday, friends and fans–birds of a feather, one might say–joined poet Margaret Rogal in a reading in Vermont to talk about birders, birding, poetry, and the North Dakota landscape. Reporting from Middlebury, Margaret shared her after-event thoughts:
a lovely reading [of her Field Notes] at the Jewish community house, outside in the parking lot. Beautiful evening—cool with stars appearing as the skies darkened. Twenty-five people in attendance. One person said I should consider the stage, and another said, “adorable.” Hmmm—rather different comments! I’m struck, as I read, again, how unusual Field Notes is—a combination of natural history, art—thanks to you, Mike [Jacobs] (people comment on the watercolors frequently)—and language. I’m so glad you brought it into the world! And I still like the poems.
Hope all is well in North Dakota.
Congratulations, Margi! Field Notes, poetry by Margaret Rogal, illustrated by Mike Jacobs, is the first volume of our Little Book about North Dakota series. Check out this terrific review of the work here: Mike Jacobs Always in Season: Whimsical poems capture North Dakota birds – Grand Forks Herald | Grand Forks, East Grand Forks news, weather & sports
Note from NDSU Press Publisher Suzzanne Kelley
With some frequency, North Dakota State University Press receives manuscripts that are not quite book-length but still significant studies or literary works. In the past, we’ve sadly turned them away. Our new series, A Little Book about North Dakota, provides the opportunity to bring such works to the public.
Several years ago, when I was conducting historical research in New Zealand, I spied the BWB Texts Collection, little books on a variety of New Zealand topics produced by Bridget Williams Books and prominently displayed in nearly every bookstore. Now, with dozens of “short books on big subjects,” the BWB Texts are affordable, easy to carry while traveling, and chock full of interesting content of interest to New Zealanders. Each book measures only a few inches wide and tall and generally has somewhere between eighty and two hundred pages.
Enamored with the idea of the little book, I posed the notion to my Certificate in Publishing students. One of the graduate students, Ana Rusness-Petersen especially liked the idea. She set out to learn everything she could about little books as her publishing research project. Her findings include aspects of contemporary trends in format, content, production, marketing, and distribution, which NDSU Press has ably adopted for this new series.
In March 2020, I set the idea before the members of the press’s Editorial Board, where it was met with much enthusiasm. I suggested Mike Jacobs—retired editor and publisher of the Grand Forks Herald—might serve as series editor, and the board members approved unanimously. When Mike accepted the invitation, the project began in earnest. Our series logo and cover designs are by award-winning graphic designer Jamie Trosen. Deb Tanner, also an award-winning designer and a long-time designer for NDSU Press, takes care of every aspect—aesthetic and technical—of the interior design.
Each Little Book about North Dakota measures 6” x 6” and contains a substantive and/or literary treatment of the history, science, social science, health, politics, literature, culture, or contemporary life in North Dakota. Did we think of every possible category? No. The possibilities for content are limitless, bound only by their connection to North Dakota.
Submissions of such works, which will undergo our blind peer review process for acquisition, may be sent to our online submissions portal at https://ndsupress.submittable.com/submit.
Our first volume, Field Notes, released just a week ago, is available from our NDSU Press online store, Ingram, Amazon, and your favorite independent bookseller.