6

Type as Visual Form

The Little Wine Bottle of a Drunkard

"Little Wine Bottle of a Drunkard," Alexander Ben Guiat (1869-1924), translated by Ralph Tarica, Polyglot Press

"The Little Wine Bottle of a Drunkard," Alexander Ben Guiat, translated by Ralph Tarica, Polyglot Press (A poem in three languages:  English, Ladino, Ladino in Hebrew Script)

For Arthur Graham of Polyglot Press, “printing in more than one language creates possibilities for design that do not exist in ordinary printing. . .In ordinary printing, a mismatch of typefaces is a distraction; but for bilingual printing, it adds interest and flavor.”  The Little Wine Bottle of a Drunkard was a result of Graham’s desire to print Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language of the former territories of the Ottoman Empire.   A scholar presented the printer with the bottle-shaped poem, which had been published in a Ladino newspaper.  Both the English translation and Ladino versions of the poem are in Latin script using the type Goudy Bold.  Of the types Graham possessed, Goudy Bold most resembled the Hebrew script in style and thickness.  The third is the Ladino version of the poem printed in Hebrew script using Baruch-Schocken type.  The printer’s challenge is producing the poem consistently in the form of a bottle with the translations and transliteration.  Through the thoughtful choices in type and careful design, Arthur Graham was able to produce a visually interesting and coherent broadside.