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Pop-up Bookstore Brings Avant-Garde Poetry to Gowanus

By Leslie Albrecht | January 28, 2014 7:09am
 Ugly Duckling Presse is selling its titles at a pop-up shop on Third Street and Third Avenue.
Pop-up Bookstore Brings Avant-Garde Poetry to Gowanus
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GOWANUS — Gowanus finally has its own bookstore — for the next few weeks.

The nonprofit publisher Ugly Duckling Presse has opened a temporary shop on the first floor of the Old American Can Factory, the artists' building at 232 Third St. and Third Avenue.

UDP, which is headquartered inside the Old American Can Factory, will be selling its own titles, as well as books from other publishers with offices in the building including Archipelago Books, Akashic Books and One Story magazine.

The store is open 12 p.m. through 6 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays, through the month of February.

The shop, which UDP is calling "Third Factory," isn't just for buying books. It also functions as a workspace where shoppers can also see tomes being made. UDP volunteers bind books in the space during "Presse Day" on the weekends, and Third Factory hosts two artists-in-residence who use the space as a work studio.

Other special events such as poetry readings, performances and bookbinding workshops will be announced on UDP's Twitter feed. On Feb. 1, poet Chris Hosea will be on hand to compose for the public.

"It's kind of like a big experiment for us," said Michael Newton, an editor at UDP, which is run as a collective by a staff of volunteers and one paid employee.

UDP's landlord at the Old American Can Factory offered to let the small press use the first-floor space temporarily after BRIC Arts Media moved out.

UDP specializes in publishing emerging contemporary poets, translations and special series, including "Emergency Playscripts," which are works that document performance art. UDP's books are sold at 25 partner bookstores around the U.S. and the world, and through subscriptions and online sales.

Most of the covers for UDP's books are handcrafted on letterpress printing machines at its Old American Can Factory space. Ugly Duckling Presse was named "best small press" last year by the Village Voice, which wrote that "every book is a one-of-a-kind work of art to cherish and display with pride."