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Don’t let the size (nor former function) fool you – these matchbooks pack a lotta lit into them. Published by Small Fire Press, this third volume includes poets Anna Moschovakis, Jen Hofer, Tony Mancus, MC Hyland, Kate Lebo, Vince Gotera, Daniela Olszewska, Sophie Klahr, Brooklyn Copeland, Anne Marie Rooney, Ben Pelham, Trey Moody, Justin Runge, Marshall Walker Lee, Lisa Ciccarello, W. Vandoren Wheeler, Greg Weiss, Jasmine Dreame Wagner, Chris Hosea, Fred Schmalz, & Stacy Blint with letter-pressed illustrations by Cherie Weaver. Yes, all in a matchbook cover.

Due to the vintage upcycling, each cover is different. I got: Loyal Order of Moose, Lodge No. 1151 (“For Fun and Fellowship”), Greensburg, PA, and the other: Larry’s Utoco Service, Twin, Idaho. Considering the number of no-smoking cities cropping up, it’s a treat to see these covers given new life and purpose.

As for reading, the font is maybe a 10-point, not difficult at all (even for my elder eyes) thanks to quality printing – which includes color. The stapled edge makes some of the margins a bit close, needing a precarious pull to read final lines, but the construction held firm to every tug. And again, don’t let the size fool you. The density of the writing is not one I would recommended reading all in one sitting, though it could be done. These are great ‘volumes’ to carry along in a purse, bag, or pocket, and pull out on those bus rides or while in queues (though not a recommended pun for smokers looking for a light).

The only unfortunate issue I had with one Matchbook I received was that some pages were out of order. I found following one of the poems difficult when it dawned on me that this might be the issue. I looked through the second copy of the matchbook I’d received and realized this had been the error. Well, oops. While it detracted momentarily from my reading, I had a certain level of empathy in considering these are most likely DIY hand-pieced together. Still, in fairness, I need to mention it. I’m sure as a subscriber, I could have contacted Small Fire Press for a replacement.

For lovers of literature and the simple oddities of life, Matchbook is truly a publication small and cute enough to coddle, but big enough to feed your soul. Pack it along, I say.

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