Illinois State’s Publications Unit hosted a celebratory PRESS 254 Chapbook Launch and Reading Event on May 2 for Meditations on Leaving by alumna Emily Ronay Johnston, Ph.D. ’16, and Just Some Punk Kid by current Ph.D. candidate Laurel L. Perez.

Both authors are contributors to the long-running, local Word Bombing reading series, and their chapbooks are part of the press’s Word Bombing Chapbook Series that aims to provide a platform for local and emerging authors to launch their writing into a larger literary landscape.

The reading was a well-attended evening at the Publications Unit that attracted a standing-room only crowd of students, alumni, faculty, community members, and even some locally elected officials from Normal. The poetry reading was followed by a reception and book signing.

PRESS 254 is unique among small presses because it’s a teaching chapbook press and publishing workshop at the Department of English’s Publications Unit. Students enrolled in English 254, Introduction to Professional Publishing, spend the semester working as production assistants for PRESS 254. Over the course of the spring semester, the students completed all the production tasks of publishing Johnston and Perez’s projects including copy editing, mechanical editing, interior and cover design, typesetting, proofreading, and hand stitching the chapbooks.

Both chapbooks are available for purchase from the Publications Unit or online at for $7. For more information, contact Holms Troelstrup, assistant director of the Publications Unit and editor of PRESS 254, at or (309) 438-3025.

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