Posts Tagged ‘Shaped Water’

Portsmouth, NH: Single Island Press, 2007. 4.25×5.5″ (11×14 cm), approx 64 unnumbered pages, $14.95 from the publisher, 379 State St., 03801.

With thanks to Tom D’Evelyn.

With Shaped Water, editor, publisher and author Madeleine Findlay inaugurates her and Tom D’Evelyn’s “small press”* in fine style. From a four-color wrapper to the letterpress-printed interior in sewn signatures of deep cream Ingres paper bound in “Turner Blue” boards embossed with the book’s title, this book is a class act. Its one-to-a-page haiku, elegantly set in Pastonchi monotype by Ed Rayher at Swamp Press, speak quietly to inner places engaged with the outer world.

Some of Findlay’s haiku seem simple in the extreme, as in this almost uncommentable occurrence:

across the kitchen floor
dead leaves

. . . but, on the facing page, we see that more is at stake in these poems, where each word approaches silent, subtle gesture:

out in the cold wind
I walk into my shadow
my back warm

But I have jumped ahead into winter, so let’s back up to see what we might discover in spring, toward the front of the book:

across the counter
and through a crack in the wall

Sounds like my grandfather’s old shed out back, where I found such things after a snowbound winter finally melted away and his worn hands sought tools for work in the soil.

This is a carefully crafted book in every dimension, a “year” to set above any other I know in haiku lately. A wonderful debut book for both press and poet. I’ll not give away any more of these poems here, but recommend that you check them out yourself. The price is low for a book of such quality, and there are only 200 to be had in this limited edition. Check it out further on the publisher’s web site: http://www.haikumuse.com/.


*Note: A “small press” is a publishing industry term that means a publisher who puts out only a limited number of books in a year, usually in editions of a thousand or fewer copies. Most purely literary publishers fit this description. Note also that the word “press” in a company name may refer to a publishing company, a printing company, or one that does both. Hence, there is nothing strange about having “Swamp Press” produce a book for “Single Island Press”. (Swamp Press also publishes fine letterpress books under its own imprint.)


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