Friday, February 26, 2010

Windfall Cover

The newly completed cover of Windfall has been the object of much musing. After spending so long with the poems, it's satisfying to see this book come together in a cover that, to me, really covers it. The cuts in the wood seem like little portraits of inexplicable sensations and the reference to a landscape with its struggles and flows is a fitting companion to the poems.

Windfall, the collection of poems by Erin Bertram, won first prize in our first poetry contest. The woodblock print is the work of another entrant, John Charles Shippey.

We first became acquainted with Mr. Shippey when he sent an unusual entry to our contest. The large manila envelope was full of fragrant old papers of faded typewriter and hand lettering. A drawing of the construction plans for a wooden deck and a shopping list added to the appeal of the refreshing, almost hallucinatory quality of the poems. Little notes about life, art and time filled the margins. There was also a conspicuous absence: the entry fee.

Cameron and I savored the perusal of the package over wine with a house guest named Chance. The next day I hauled out my favorite typewriter and answered John's letter assuring him that we would undoubtedly work together soon. It turned out that he was a friend of regular Sauvage contributor, Sophia Kidd. In her company we made a trip to neighboring Ventura to meet John. To our delight, he loaded us up with exquisite woodblocks and played guitar with us at his beautiful apartment one of the most cohesive residences I've visited. Shown below is the wood-working bench in the corner of the kitchen. In the other room were a bed and typewriter.

This is hopefully only the first of many collaborations with this beautiful soul and a cover that will live well wrapped around Windfall, words as sharp and subtle. The book will be bound and available in April 2010.


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