21 March 2012

Poetry and other sticky matters

Our spring books are coming along nicely, the one most recently passing through my grippers being Peter Sanger’s new collection of poetry, John Stokes’ Horse. For this book, I hand-printed the jackets on a wonderful mauve paper handmade by our friends at the St. Armand paper mill in Montreal.

I mixed an ink that started with a violet (PMS 2592) but added perhaps 1/5 parts silver. This gave the ink a slight iridescence like the head of a grackle.

Nothing beats the way letterpress printing makes type ‘pop’, especially when printed on a handmade paper.

The above image depicts a bound book before it is trimmed. The horse named in the book’s title is a crudely-carved toy horse depicted in a David Blackwood engraving. We were fortunate to be able to reproduce Blackwood’s engraving as the frontispiece. In that carved horse, Sanger locates an imaginative gesture requiring the suspension of disbelief, for child and adult alike—a winged mount into a world where myth and memory mix. These poems evoke, says Sanger, “imagination’s creative energy, immanent in time and yet timeless, evidence of love, devotion and patience, evidence that by seeing art through its eyes we see more clearly through our own.”

As well as trying to get these books done before I travel to Toronto for the events at Uof T and Massey College, I’m also up to my ears in maple sap. Two neighbours and I have been boiling like mad since the weekend, trying to keep up with what an early spring and unseasonably warm temperatures has caused our maples to flow out of our 100+ taps. It’s so warm that even the honey bees are awake and active, happy as we are for the sweet treat.


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