We may be living at a time when only the exasperation of contradictions is possible for the artist; synthesis is closed to him because of the intolerable weight of new information he must shoulder each day. In this situation, poetry is more than ever a discipline, the means whereby a poet not only discovers, but literally creates, himself out of the total flux. Silence is more than poetry’s complement: it is that which poetry must sink back into the moment it ceases to perform its function. It follows that poetry for poetry’s sake-decoration et al-is intolerable.–Nathaniel Tarn, quoted in Gerald Lange's review of Tarn's book The Persephones
It’s absolutely redundant to say that I love the physical structure of books. If I didn’t love the structure, I wouldn’t be doing this work. That said, I have aspirations of creating books that beautifully and successfully blend text, imagery, and binding. That interest led me to The Fine Press Book Association and I became a member the moment I saw the letterpress printed cover of the Fall 2010 issue of their journal, Parenthesis.
My copy arrived Thursday and I’ve had it in my hands every moment I can since. There are wonderful reviews of fine press editions, as well as articles about process, technique, and about printers and binders and their background and inspiration. There is a wonderful review of Deep Wood Press’s incredible edition of Heart of Darkness and of Carolee Campbell’s edition of Nathaniel Tarn’s collection of poems, The Persephones (Ninja Press), featuring lushly textured leaves of domestic etch shaded with sumi ink layered with salt. Just the photos are breathtaking; I can only imagine the actual poems.
The moral of this little Saturday post: It’s important to keep feelers out for great inspiration all the time.