Sitting in a semicircle around Jill Tomasetti’s Inner Richmond apartment, the members of Drop Leaf Press gathered last week to discuss their first book, Tomasetti’s “Prima Vera” collection of poems, which they launch on Friday, March 20.
The five — Amy Bell, Jennifer Cheng, Sarah Heady, Lauren Peck and Tomasetti — met at San Francisco State University and for the past two years have been meeting, within a larger group, for what they call “crafternoons.”
“We’d just get together and bring whatever craft things we were working on, just to hang out and sort of talk and craft,” Bell said. Tomasetti added, “I think that’s a really huge factor in our approach to the press. We all consider ourselves makers in some way, and being a writer informs how I make things. Just bringing the two impulses together, to books. … What if we made the things that we really care about?”
Cheng says one of the most appealing aspects of the press is that there’s no hierarchy; each of the members contributes in different ways, and they expect their contributions to change from project to project. “Drop Leaf Press is the idea of coming together and not having one set boundary, bound idea,” she said.
“The drop leaf table,” Bell said. “You can expand it out and have more people sit there.”
“I think one of the biggest things that has been inspiring and keeps us going and gives us the most potential for longevity is the open-endedness that we try to keep incorporated into all our conversations,” Tomasetti said. “We’re not trying to follow the structure but allowing the structure of our press to kind of create itself project by project.”
They knew one thing, though: “As soon as we decided to do the book, we decided on the date: the spring equinox,” Tomasetti said. “And it worked.”
IF YOU GO
“Prima Vera” book release: 7 p.m. Friday, March 20. Free. Alley Cat Books, 3036 24th St., S.F. (415) 824-1761.
Photo by Mary Lundquist