Artist Books

The artist’s book allows the poet to explore the text beyond the two dimensions of a single page.  This may be in the form of visual interpretation of the poem or as an artistic compliment to it.  The process often yields a rewarding and creative collaboration.

At Cumae

"At Cumae," Jane Gentry Vance, King Library Press


"At Cumae," Jane Gentry Vance, King Library Press

Jane Gentry Vance’s "At Cumae" was a keepsake from a seminar on book arts at the King Library Press in 2008.  Originally, the poem was to be set in shape of a bottle.  When the setting was unsuccessful, Paul Holbrook at King Library Press took inspiration from the Oracle of Cumae:  The shape of the book and cover resemble the cave cut into the rock that leads to the shrine of the Cumaean Sybil.  The design of the book provides clues to discovering the poem with each page.  “At Cumae” enhances the reader's experience by engaging them in a visual and tactile way.

On the Cliffs

"On the Cliffs," Algernon Swinburne, King Library Press, artwork by John Tuska 

"On the Cliffs," Algernon Swinburne,

King Library Press, artwork by John Tuska

“On the Cliffs” is one of the four long poems in “Songs of the Springtides” by Algernon Charles Swinburne, published in 1880.  The poem is printed on hand-made Japanese paper folded in an accordion fold.  Artist John Tuska designed the case, which is adorned with a paper sculpture that contains the folded poem.  He also created the frieze that serves as a border across the pages.    The frieze design was cut and printed on linoleum blocks.  In order to achieve the tri-color effect, colored ink was rolled onto a brayer (a rolling tool), and then onto the block.  The poem’s impact is enhanced by the decisions of the printer and collaborators, yielding a unique product.