In 1988, Tim Fay of Anamosa, Iowa had an idea: to publish on an antique letterpress assembled of parts he found all over the country, a yearly (or occasional) journal "to silence anyone who thinks Iowa doesn't have a literary culture." The Wapsipincon Almanac was born, named after the scenic river that runs through Fay's Anamosa and Northeast Iowa.
From that point on, Fay turned out 25 issues of his journal, featuring contributions from innumerable Iowans. But last year, Fay made the call that he and his Route Three Press would produce just one last issue of the Almanac, the 25th edition. This beautiful hand-printed Almanac is now out, and on this hour of Talk of Iowa, we heard from Fay and four of his contributors, including the Iowa City artist, Will Thomson, who created the last issue's stunning cover.
Like previous editions, this last issue of the Almanac features a mixture of fiction, reviews, essays, poetry, art and practical information, packaged in the format and feel of an old-time almanac. Joining Fay and Thomson on the broadcast, were contributors Kelley Donham ("Christmas Found On A Trailways Bus"), Dave Layton ("A Real Lone Wolf"'), and J. Harley McIlrath ("Breakfast Dishes"). Layton told us: "It's an honor to be published in the last issue, but I would prefer it wasn't the last one. I think the Almanac is an enjoyable thing that's really indigenous and part of Iowa. Kind of like the prairie, we need as much of this kind of writing as we can keep, before it's gone." For his part, Fay says his Route Three Press in Anamosa is still going strong, and there will be new projects.