29th August 2018
Having decided on a provisional running order today, I found myself reconsidering some poems that were previously left out. Henry and I will need further conversation on this matter. What was going to be a collection of 40 poems may now be creeping up to nearer 50.
One of the most time consuming parts of making a book can be sourcing suitable materials, which is even harder if you live on a small island in the middle of the ocean. Companies such as Shepherds in London are not cheap, but they do have some sexy gear. One option to save money (in the long run) is to buy in bulk through companies such as Seawhites but this does sometimes have a large upfront investment. The board for Henry's book has been sourced from a small art shop in Valletta. I made an offer to the owner who was looking to get rid of it and then I proceeded to struggle with it onto the ferry and back home to Gozo. Previously I had been using paper designed for wedding invites for the text pages as it had a luxury feel and a good colour; however, for Henry's book I'm considering something a bit different as it will be Letterpress printed and so this opens up the option of recycled paper, such as that of Frogmore Paper.
In other news, a possible location for PEP's new premises has been found as I look to move out of the house. More news on that to come.
© Henry Denander
'Hydra Collage' © Henry Denander
Cats waiting for fish heads in Hydra © Pig Ear Press
22nd August 2018
Back in 2012 I was in the process of putting together issue three of Alligator Stew and this was the first time that I approached Henry about producing something for the press. I had read his poetry through several sources, most notably Bottle of Smoke Press in the US, as well seeing his artwork popping up in various publications. And so it came to be that Henry produced a painting (see left) for Kenneth P. Gurney's poem 'Hunger Takes Him' as well as allowing me to print the poem 'Catching Up'. Subsequent to this I read Henry's poetry collections 'The Accidental Navigator' from Lummox Press and 'The Loulaki Bar' from Miskvabik Press. It sounds daft, but these books put a smile on my face and I found myself reaching for them when I was low - I still do. I decided I had to spread the gospel according to Henry, and so it began.
23rd August 2018
The poems that will appear in 'A slow boat to Piraeus' were selected a long while back, but today I began the process of deciding on an order, which will be sent to Henry for approval. I'm sure there are methods that other editors use, but I tend to try and create a good flow rather than necessarily linking it together thematically. By that I mean, for example, I will avoid putting poems that are too similar together, or mixing up short poems with longer ones. As there are very specific locations that appear in the collection (mostly Sweden and the Greek island of Hydra) the temptation is to steer towards that obvious connection, but there are many more themes that are the inspiration for the poems, from cats and donkeys, to jazz and being a 'bean counter' (as Henry puts it) for the music industry. The great thing is that despite having read these poems numerous times they continue to put a smile on my face.
Handmade paper available from Shepherds
Diary of a Book
21 August 2018
An old friend died this week. He would have made a joke about the idea of doing something 'arty' like this, a smile wrapped around his face, an eyebrow raised, but his death also reminded me of how much we need people who can open a window and let a bit of light shine in.
The writing and art of Henry Denander is going to do that for you and this online diary will allow you to follow me on the journey to creating and launching his collection 'On a slow boat to Piraeus'.
Diary of a Book