Sunday, May 18, 2008

Book Arts: A Singular View of Process at Blue Hour Collective

A poetry publisher who'll remain nameless e-mailed here last week and wondered what the world would be like without printed books. The blog and the web site continue to expand as forms of delight for communication, raising such concern.

What many of us endless readers say is that we can't imagine taking an electronic machine to bed with us, much less to the beach, or the dentist's waiting room. Yet Amazon's Kindle warns us that in this case, it's our imagination that may be hesitant, and the future is racing toward us.

Nonetheless, books retain a physical form that's pleasing in the hand (at least, if one's grown up reading them that way!), and it's a sure bet that even as reading for information or pleasure spreads across multiple forms, books-with-pages will continue to exist for generations.

One more excursion before getting to the point: I also had word this week, via both e-mail and paper correspondence, of the continued regret, even grief, over the demise of our nearby neighbor in the book arts, The Stinehour Press. One baffled mourner said to me, "How could this happen? The Press has made such beautiful books!" Well, beauty on the page is not a requirement for information-handling. But the elegance and paper-laid presence of metal and wood type won't be lost -- they will remain as tools and skills of artists of the book.

A wonderful example of the continued growth of the book arts comes in the form of the Blue Hour Collective:

... an anonymous collective that will publish one chapbook a year, created like a limited-edition piece of art, and distribute it free to subscribers. We are very excited about our first little book -- new translations of Lorca poems with drawings by yours truly [bluehour1]. We encourage people to follow our progress as we work on our project.

The number of copies will be limited- the number of books and our time~frame for all of this is still being hashed out. But a start, no matter how humble, is still a start :)!

The site for following the creation of this artful book is, and it's well worth regular visits. E-mailed conversation with "bluehour1" resulted in an item on the Blue Hour Collective blog about Federico García Lorca's stay in Vermont, a curious detail in the life of the flamboyant poet. Also posted this week is a draft cover design for the chapbook-in-process.

Thanks, Blue Hour folks, for generously providing this window into your work!

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