Item #CNAP108a The Little of our Earthly Trust. Elizabeth Bishop, Helen Vendler, John Newman, Introduction, Artist.

The Little of our Earthly Trust

San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2016. John Newman. Hardcover. Octavo, 9-7/8 by 6-7/8 inches, 192 pages. The type is English Garamond composed and cast in Monotype for the text and large sizes for display handset. The type and the 24 relief prints in three colors from polymer plates were printed by letterpress. The paper is Magnani wove, Italian mouldmade, for the text and Canson Mi-Teintes, French mouldmade, for the prints. The binding is Smyth-sewn, with headbands, in a three-piece cover: a gray goatskin spine with titling, black cloth sides, with an inset additional print on the front cover. All copies are signed by the artist, in an edition of 300 copies. New. Item #CNAP108a

This edition of the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) has been selected and introduced by Helen Vendler.

In the years since Bishop’s death, her stature has grown remarkably, as Vendler tells us in an introduction that begins by lauding the innovations of early twentieth century poetry: "Ezra Pound, with his command 'Make it new!' encouraged his contemporaries to break with tradition, and many seemed to join him in the effort, not least his friend and fellow-expatriate Thomas Stearns Eliot. E.E. Cummings brought typographical play into whimsical and satiric lyrics, flouting conventions of erotic propriety, while Frost - although asserting a rootedness in New England - had to go to London to be published, and drew on Latin lyric for his stoicism and epigrammatic force. Marianne Moore's poems were unsettling amalgams of satire, fable, and sermon, unwilling to observe generic borders.

After the rebellious exhilarations of those modern poets, it seemed that any subsequent collection of poets might be a disappointing one. To everyone's surprise, the next American constellation was no less brilliant: Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, John Ashbery. . . . Against such contemporaries, Elizabeth Bishop seemed decorous, "feminine", "modest", hardly dangerous. Living in Brazil, and publishing at intervals of several years, she was not visibly part of the American cluster of poets. Although she was always esteemed by her fellow-poets, it was only in her latter years that she was understood and prized by the wider public.

Since her death in 1979, she has become the most popular poet of her generation, in part because of her plain- spoken language but also because of her candor and depth of feeling. This is a selection of thirty-nine poems considered her most important and most representative by Professor Vendler. The sculptor John Newman has long been a reader of poetry and Elizabeth Bishop is one of his favorite poets. For this Arion Press artist book, John Newman has made twenty-four drawings of small sculptures made between 1998 and 2016, with a twenty-fifth for the cover. Reversing the process in his early sketches for objects-never-to-be-made, he has now depicted forms he has already made, each from one point of view, as works of graphic art, flat on the page, in gouache, in black, gray, and white, on tan paper. These drawings have been transformed into relief prints and printed by letterpress from polymer plates on French mould-made paper. The titles and dates of creation of the sculptures are used as the titles for the prints, which appear on the facing page of poetry, below the running foot. The prints are arranged in chronological order and spaced at regular intervals throughout the poetry.

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Price: $1,200.00