Elaine Beckwith Gallery

Greg Joly and Bull Thistle Press

greg joly village limits

"Village Limits"
Poems by Greg Joly

350 copies/letterpress. Designed and printed by Gary Metras,
Adastra Press, Easthampton Massachusetts

Cover illustration: watercolor by Arlo Monroe (C.1949)

From the overleaf:
Greg Joly has homsteaded in the Green Mountains of Vermont with his wife, Mary, for the past two decades. His first Adastra title, "Hand Labor" (1992), explored the early years of apprenticeship. This collection digs more deeply into a life lived intentionally amongst those whom life's circumstances has thrown him. Each poem speaks to the elemental necessity of poetry in our daily existence.
The work found here centers around my good friend, poet, historian and letterpress printer Greg Joly. This includes his own writing published by others, or poetry published by Bull Thistle Press, Greg's one-man small press located in Jamaica, Vermont. Greg publishes original poetry that speaks to him. He is a meticulous editor and critic with a deep soul. The poetry published by Bull Thistle Press is beautiful and unfailingly heartfelt. The books themselves are elegant art objects; minimally ornamented small volumes that fit the hand well, hand printed on textured papers, with sharp lettering and an unfailing sense of design.

Regarding Bull Thistle Press, Greg writes:

"The name Bull Thistle I picked up from some early nineteenth-century agricultural texts I was going through. With the loss of a rural agricultural society in the USA, an entire language has been lost. Letterpress is going the way of illuminated manuscripts. I'm a Taurus, hence bull. A thistle is a tough, thorned weed with a deep tap root. Farmers combat the bull thistle because it spreads easily in open fields, i.e., a noxious interloper. That's what I want the press to stand for works by those outside the mainstream of cultivated poetry who stick in your side and stay with you. These are folks with deep tap roots. They pull nutrients up from a subsoil this culture is driving hard to blacktop. I provide the open field."