Hymns #1: Persephone Press

Hymns #1: Persephone Press


Typewritten document, two-colour linocut illustration by Fuchsia Voremberg. Edition Size: 15.

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In 1976, the Boston-based collective Pomegranate Productions founded Persephone Press to publish lesbian and feminist works. While only lasting until 1983, their publications permanently altered the landscape: including A Feminist Tarot, Nice Jewish Girls, The Fourteenth Witch, The Wanderground, This Bridge Called My Back, and Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.


Hymns celebrates the history and mythology of queer printing practices one sheet and one press at a time. Each sheet of paper is hand typed as a form of ritual engagement. Each hymn focuses on the collective labour and publications of one small printing establishment crucial to the preservation of LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming life stories, offers a brief history of the press, and invokes the symbolism and imagery often tied to the act of publication. From the invention and spread of moveable type in Europe beginning in the mid-15th century, printers have drawn from a rich tradition of emblems and symbols, sometimes religious, or magical, or mythic. Early printers could be identified by these marks, also called printer’s devices: the anchor and dolphin, the caduceus, the black spread-eagle. These images not only created an identity, but contained powerful meanings in their own right—a tradition that survives in contemporary publishing, especially in the world of small or DIY-publishing endeavours like Persephone Press, Naiad Press, or Diana Press. The names themselves produce a geneology that goes far into the past and imagines a queer history that runs deep.