THE WRITER (page 2)

The letterpress pages are interleaved with vellum pages containing hand painted patterns printed as digital pigment prints into which have been hand cut the shapes of starlings in flight, a motif that is central to the poem. Initially, the vellum pages obscure the text, but then lift off to reveal with a flutter and a flap, the words of the poem. The Writer

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks,
aaaaand the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

The lower volume is a flip book, or rather a “flutter book,” since it is hinged at the foredge and scored so it can open like an accordion. It contains selected words taken from the poem that reprise the poem with a new cadence. It is contained loose in its cover so that it can be held in the hand and ruffled with the fingers so as to set the starlings in flight, a visual metaphor derived from the poem: I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very small room,
aaaatwo years ago,
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour,
aaaathrough the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top.

The poet’s final wish for his child is simple and heartfelt. The final pages of the book contain a monotype printed over text from the poem, reproduced as a digital pigment print, which carries with it the feeling of uncertain first flight the father is sensing in his daughter. A larger version of this image, on BFK Rives and hand colored by the artist, is contained on the back cover of the clamshell box. The Writer has been made as a limited edition of 54 copies in the spring and summer of 2004. Charles Hobson made the images and designed and assembled the edition with the assistance of Alice Shaw. John DeMerritt made the covers and the boxes with the assistance of Kris Langan. The poem has been printed with the kind permission of Richard Wilbur and his publisher, Harcourt, Inc., and the edition has been generously supported by a 2004 Individual Artist’s Grant from the Marin Arts Council.

Continue to The Writer, page 3 >>

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