This week’s source text: The Invention of Lithography, by Alois Senefelder (1911) on Project Gutenberg. Specifically Chapter Two: Of Ink, Crayon, Etching, and Color. Read/skim the chapter for words and phrases and then use the language you have collected to create a remix poem concerning anything other than lithography.


12 parts shellac
17 parts alphabet
23 parts invention
3 parts wax
5 parts asphalt
2 parts lampblack

This is about all that need be said about the chemical fatty or alkaline stone-ink in general.

Please do share your resulting poems in the comments!


  • May 26, 2015


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  • May 26, 2015

    Brian Baumgarn

    My father was a life long letterpress printer. He taught me much, but I ended up in high-speed lithography. Both of us have read Senefelder. After he passed I wrote these free verse lines
    to my brothers who both share his love of craft. It is fairly long. Here goes.

    Linotype and line gauge, type face and chase, lead pig.
    Elrod, furniture, wood and resin. Lead-line spacing.
    Hand cast ad, handset type, lead or wood. Old school.
    Lead poet and linotype. Copy. Tapping keys. Lines of
    copy formed, filling galleys. Pica and Elite. All hand assembled.

    Chase and quoin, galleys of lead-lines. Handset type in lead
    and wood. Many styles and sizes in drawers. All read backwards.
    Letter by letter, line by line, ad and headline. Our news, our
    community, our residents, every week.

    By line, contributor, editor, writers and workers with the
    hot lead. Journeymen. Crafts men and women. Long history
    of women in printing. Composition, imposition, proofreading,
    each line, page and paragraph. Columns and pages locked
    in the chase when ready.

    Ancient sheet or web letterpress. Growling, grinding and noisy.
    Single sheet feed, or web weaving for impression. Newspapers
    printed in sections and hand gathered. Stamped for mailing,
    counted into bundles for delivery. The heavy bags to post,
    the rest to local carriers. Each week a job well done.

    The next day. Throw in the lead-line pages. Recast into pigs.
    sort the spacing and toss the handsets into the California Job
    case. Much of the work is tedious, hot, repetitive and part of
    the craft, the trade. Old time efficiencies; use once to use
    again. Tomorrow or next week. Letter by letter, line by line,
    line and story. Our news, our town, our community.

    My father, Journeyman printer, Craftsman and worker with
    the hot lead. Wearer of aprons. Composer, imposer, pressman.
    Man with the carbon of black ink on his fingers and in his veins.
    Meticulous. Proud to do what he did for a living. We loved watching
    him work and learned from him. We miss the true craft that was his.
    We miss the slower, simpler times of a job well done.

    Journeyman Printer-Father
    7-14-14 Redux 5-26-15
    Brian Baumgarn/Poet and Printer

  • May 26, 2015

    Andrew Shaw

    cover the stone
    where needed,
    untouched by acid:
    there enters an ink
    in a thickened form.
    the longer it burns,
    being stirred without cessation,
    the coarser will be the work.

  • May 27, 2015

    Zann Carter

    I loved the source material!!!

    The Blacker Will Be The Ink

    Vermilion, red chalk, indigo, blue lake of logwood–
    color is very difficult and dangerous,

    has disappeared almost entirely.

    It is possible to work for a whole day,
    to be painfully minute, to write on paper

    till it is thick as honey,
    as fluid as a good, fat milk,

    till the solution is perfect.

    This is a matter of imagination,
    it’s combustibility:

    writing to the stone
    drawing on the stone

    Smoke must settle on it, soot
    is scraped off from time to time.

    It must be stirred (otherwise
    terrible accidents may occur)

    to bring the other substances to combustion
    until everything has dissolved anew.

  • May 28, 2015

    Susan Powers Bourne

    Soak it into pores and portions of surface.
    Resist requirements; remain where needed.
    Be untouched — fulfill purpose. This is done
    by artists who answer calls. Perhaps this is
    a matter of imagination – or the real reason.
    One is thicker; the other lighter, more fluid.
    The kindest are the best – to be protected –
    until consumed — melted in equal portions.
    The undissolved simply disappear discarded.
    Remain fluid a bit longer — part of the whole
    –a much-kneaded vessel — any desired shape.
    The smoke must settle as process continues.
    It is possible to work all day long with rain
    or pure soft river water. This is all we need.

  • […] Found Poetry Review Beth has added a twist, a challenge, to her prompt. The source text concerns lithography, but she asks us to create a remix poem concerning anything other than lithography. Head over. […]

  • May 29, 2015

    margo roby

    I tried to stay away from lithography. All the words I picked were to do with stone. Then, I committed the fatal choice: I went back for ‘ink’.

    Strata of brittle
    stone plates, as thin as paper,
    pores of the stone draw ink.

  • June 1, 2015

    Cynthia Bargar


    The first and most necessary material,
    the so-called chemical,
    named fatty or “a mixture of fatty”,
    used partly to soak into pores.

    Fatty remains fat where needed.
    Too much soap becomes slimy,
    begins to burn [not quite as before]
    until it ceases to give off yellow smoke.

    Everything has been desired —
    vermilion, red chalk, indigo,
    blue lake of logwood — finer kinds of ordinary.
    This does not remedy the trouble.

    It is vital to burn an insect
    belonging to the bee family,
    to melt it by the great heat
    so it will not have time to swell.

    This is about all that need be said,
    kept for years not smutted nor spoiled,
    thick as honey in a tightly closed glass
    secure against dust till everything has dissolved.

  • June 18, 2015

    Del Doughty

    Manic Depression: An Ode


    I found no place. My hope was lost.
    No wonder now I feared. I begged.
    If I possessed, I would have bought.
    And it occurred to me that if–
    but even this exceeded my
    and I gave up the plan. I tried
    all kinds of grind. The stone might crack.
    I could not attain. I tried all kinds
    of concentrated vitriol
    without attaining any relief.
    My hope was lost and I gave up.
    I could not quite prevent the thought.


    In my helplessness I offered my.
    At that time I could not guess that I–
    thus, thought I, I can myself!
    All sorts of ways to realize it!
    Thus there’s nothing in the way of my–
    I could satisfy my longings!
    Which led me to relief. Which led
    to my relief! I could not quite
    prevent the thought: as soon as I
    attain a shining polish,
    I could earn a decent living, too,
    and thus become an independent man!


    At that time I could not guess that I–
    that in my helplessness I offered my–
    The third day I–I started my
    return. I needed not fear cracking
    of the stone. And I might hope. This hope grew.
    I do not wish to give up hopes
    again. Thus I developed such
    a love. My love became. And I
    examined the result, and I
    have told these things to prove that I
    did not invent through accident
    but I arrived by way by thought.