November 13, 2018
A misprinted poetry book gives Super Mario Bros. 3 fans an unexpected title
by Simon Reichley
Our production department (hello, Susan!) works incredibly hard to make sure our books get punctually and perfectly proofed, set, printed, bound, packed, shipped, and stocked. It almost always works like a dream, which is great (thanks, Susan!). Sometimes though, no amount of diligence, skill, or attention to detail can save you from disaster, because Chaos Reigns.
Take for example this recent incident involving two independent publishers, a cultural history of Super Mario Bros. 3, and an experimental work of prose and poetry. According to Boss Fight Books, publisher of Alyse Knorr‘s Super Mario Bros. 3, a snafu at their printer caused an indeterminate number of Knorr’s book to be printed with the wrong interior, before being shipped out to customers and retailers. The result was a startling, but delightful, chimera of a book:
This is one whopper of a printing error, @BossFightBooks pic.twitter.com/SHPPuYmyRR
— c’mon owen, at least ask me first (@brandokay) November 5, 2018
That interior is Karen Finley‘s Grabbing Pussy, from OR Books, a hybrid work itself, adapted from her performance piece Unicorn Gratitude Mystery.
Boss Fight Books were told by their printer that Grabbing Pussy and Super Mario Bros. 3 were the exact same length, printed on identical stock, and stacked up next to each other, which we should all be grateful for, as this is surely the most wonderful production disaster of all time. When asked if the incident gave her the screaming heebie jeebies, our Director of Production Susan Rella had this to say:
“Absolutely not. This is brilliant, I hope it was on purpose. Every book should have that interior.”
Knorr and Finley have more in common than might be immediately apparent. When not exploring the Mushroom Kingdom, Knorr is a poet and teacher, and is author of Mega-City Redux, a novel in verse which reimagines Christine de Pizan‘s 1405 allegory, The Book of the City of Ladies, as “a modern-day road-trip search for the mythical city, with the help of 21st-century feminist heroes Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena Warrior Princess, and Dana Scully from The X-Files.” One imagines that she and Finley might have quite a lot to talk about.
And Finley, for her part, is a big fan of everyone’s favorite mustached mushroom menace:
as the author of Grabbing Pussy – I have always been a fan of Super Mario Bros and love the idea of a collaboration! @orbooks #mispring #grabbingpussy
— Karen Finley Artist (@kfinleyartist) November 8, 2018
So, good job everyone.
Simon Reichley is the Director of Operations and Rights Manager at Melville House.