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Hand-made books for the collector who reads and the reader who collects

Two Poems by Adam Thorpe
with Linocut illustrations by John Watson

Illustration
Cover

We have long thought that a well told introduction enhances a poem's appeal, and in Adam Thorpe we found a poet who agreed. Both 'Temerity' and 'In Montmartre Cemetery' are introduced by the author, adding a layer of understanding to poems which, while they take us to different times and places, are also deeply personal. The origin of this volume was a poetry reading at the Burgess Centre in Manchester, where we were drawn first by Thorpe's easy way of talking about his poems and then by the poems themselves. 

'Temerity', the first poem of this volume, gives voice to Joseph Cottle, the beleaguered poet and publisher of the first edition of Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads. If Thorpe relates to Cottle as a poet, we heard the pain of the publisher in his verse. The second poem of the book 'In Montmartre Cemetery' leads us through the paths, around the monuments and into some of the secret corners of this cemetery, the resting place of Zola, Degas, Nijinski and the Goncourt brothers, among others.

The eleven linocuts used for this book have been created by John Watson, a Scottish wood engraver and linocut artist. Watson has worked his craft for more than forty years as a print maker and educator, yet this is his first illustrated book. The illustrations were cut with our printed text to hand and were designed not just with the poems in mind, but with an understanding of the shape of the verses on the page.

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Two Poems is 32 pages, and 11 x 6 1/2 inches. Printed on an unusual 130 gsm Zerkall paper that is made from Jute fibres, it has a beautiful hand, a warm colour and, like all Zerkall papers, takes the type and the prints well. Equally unusual Amate wood bark fibre paper from Mexico in an earthy red shade is used for the wrappers. The titling is set in Weiss roman and italic.  'Temerity' was set in Bell, and, to accentuate the difference between the two poems, Perpetua was used for 'In Montmartre Cemetery'. Fewer than two hundred copies were printed, numbered and signed by both author and illustrator.

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Updated 10 January 2017