The Appearance of Quinn Rennerfeldt’s Sea Glass Catastrophe

I’m not sure what drew me to pick up Quinn Rennerfeldt’s book over the other chapbooks sprawled across the table, but upon thinking about it, I think its simplicity drew me closer.

Sea Glass Catastrophe by Quinn Rennerfeldt. Photo taken by myself.

The most striking thing about the cover is the title with its screen-printed and metallic look. The letters are also on top on the cover, which makes the reader trace each letter.

Another thing that’s interesting about the front and back cover is how thin the paper is. The whole book appears to be made from version of thin construction paper, but the cover is even slimmer than the actual pages. As for books that are published by places such as Harper Collins or Penguin/Random House, we typically see books with covers that are made to last, as if the cover is the only thing protecting the paper from damage. Though Rennerfeldt’s book is in good condition while the opposite is occurring.

If one were to flip through, they’d immediately notice how simple the poems are formatted here. Prose poetry would be a more appropriate term as each piece is written in a paragraph or two with a serif font. The titles are traditional as they’re written at the top and center, although, unlike the content of the poem itself, the title is in a sans serif font.

The most eye-catching thing about Sea Glass Catastrophe is probably the color of the pages. Some are white while others are mint green. Both are ridden with specs and lines that aren’t distracting to the reader. In fact, it adds to the element of beach sand, and the colors reflect off each other, truly giving that feeling of sea glass.

The inside of Sea Glass Catastrophe. Photo taken by myself.

Adding to its simplicity is how the book lacks most publishing information one may expect. There’s no “About The Press” page or anything of the sort. Instead, on the inside of the front cover, it says, “” and “009/100.” (Personally, I like the numbering of copies in books like these.) On the inside of the back cover is the author’s acknowledgements, then on the other side, it states the publisher again: “Francis House.”

I think the lack of publisher information is my favorite part about Sea Glass Catastrophe. It’s closed off in a good sense, and it beckons me to find out more on my own, especially since this is a small press and not a big-time publisher. Though their website seems to keep that mystery going, and while good in some places, it doesn’t give the complete picture and leaves one to fill in the blanks about the place.

4 thoughts on “The Appearance of Quinn Rennerfeldt’s Sea Glass Catastrophe”

  1. I really love the color changes of the pages in this book. Like you mentioned, it seems like a really interesting and simple way to connect the book’s title to the physical item of a book. I also love the numbers on the small press books. It adds a little special bit to something already so special and unique.


  2. I really liked your observations about the style of poetry in Sea Glass Catastrophe. Something about the regular formatting of each poem is comforting, kind of like the smooth texture of sea glass. But that constancy is also juxtaposed to the idea of ‘catastrophe.’ The colours, too, being cool and not bright, seem to contrast the latter part of the title.


  3. Blue and green pages is choice that clearly reflects the title of the chapbook. If we were to delve into the contents of the book, I wonder if we might consider a different or tertiary color to represent catastrophe.


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