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Clifford Burke

Clifford Burke

I first became interested in type and printing when I was in college, working at a summer job for a small local newspaper. A working print shop is those days (1962), with its antique equipment and fascinating denizens, was still so much like one of the ancient craft guilds that being introduced to the "mysteries" as a youngster made a powerful lasting impression. I can still remember that funky small-town shop and the training I got there in vivid detail.

That training outlined a path; subsequent opportunities seemed always to veer toward printing. I found myself in the early Sixties smack in the middle of the political and literary upheavals of Berkeley and San Francisco and so the craft of printing and political activism and literary bookmaking all came together in an "underground" print shop called Cranium Press.

Through the following years of writing, environmentalism, community work and raising kids, bits and pieces of the old Cranium Press stayed with me until finally, through the discovery of a book I had produced called Printing Poetry, Virginia and I met and eventually combined our lives and resources into the printing studio and publishing venture that became Desert Rose Press.