31 August 2006

W A R : by Kathleen Fraser and Nancy Tokar Miller

In the Chax Press studio, and in Nancy Tokar Miller’s art studio, we’re working on a terrific book. We’re printing the poem, Text from W A R, by Kathleen Fraser, on wide sheets of Rives BFK gray (which prints like a dream, although you do have to watch the ink saturation carefully), on the Vandercook press, at Chax Press. Meanwhile, the images, by Nancy, are emerging powerfully as she works with black ink and a rectangle of linoleum, using that linoleum as a paint brush, dragging it across the page in various ways. Sometime in early October, the book will be finished, bound without sewing, in a book that will exist in some 40 copies, hand bound in cloth over boards. Parts of the images will be printed, part hand-painted in the book. Hopefully coming to a special collections library near you.

Here’s the beginning of the text:

rolling against the wall in massive wAVEs so that he should not be one of those

had never—in actuality—been required to know who he was and to die as who he had not been

Siege in our own cities can begin to imagine more deeply, one leg ahead

in language under erosion our trust in corrosive repetition

A quick digital photo image of one of the paintings in the book:
image in progress for W A R

An image of Nancy Tokar Miller’s work table with this project spread upon it:
Nancy Tokar Miller's work table for W A R

Here’s Nancy, together with Cynthia Miller (no relation to Nancy Tokar Miller; Cynthia is a visual art consultant on the project). Nancy is to the left.
Nancy Tokar Miller & Cynthia Miller (no relation)

Here's Kathleen, in a photo she sent us for use in publicity for the Tucson Poetry Festival that occurred not quite a year ago.
Kathleen Fraser

The bulk of the typesetting in W A R was accomplished by Jessi Atwood, an artist who has been working at Chax for about five years as a volunteer, in the process becoming very adept at typesetting, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding. She has just left Chax for New York, where we wish her well. Here’s her last picture in the Chax studio, together by the Vandercook press with me, and with our newest and youngest volunteer, Angie Fagg, who is just beginning college at the University of Arizona. In the photo, Jessi is in the middle, wearing the printer’s apron.
Angie, Jessi, & Charles at the Vandercook Press

Cheers! and a very deep thank you to Jessi for her years of friendship and help. And she’ll continue to work with us from a distance, though we’ll miss her dearly in the studio. Meanwhile Angie and I were printing today, a difficult day when the high humidity in the studio made the ink behave strangely. But we made progress. And we’ll make more.