ELM Press, The Elements
(ELM Press) The Elements. A Poem by Susan Stewart with lithographs by Enid Mark. Wallingford. Pennsylvania. 2002. n.p. 11.125″ x 15.25″. The type, 14 point Monotype Dante, was cast by Michael and Winifred Bixler, and printed by Daniel Keleher at Wild Carrot Letterpress on mouldmade English Somerset. Within three of the sections, parts of the poetry are printed on fold out sheets of various Japanese papers. The lithographed images were conceived with a camera but manipulated digitally with Photoshop software in order to generate the films used to create the duotone and tritone images. These films were transfered to plates and printed as hand lithographs by Timothy P. Sheesley. Bound in silver-gray Italian book cloth over boards; the binding is enriched with blind embossing and spine label. Textured gray paper from Twinrocker Handmade Paper is used to line the covers and for the end pages. Handbound by Sarah Creighton. An edition of 45 numbered copies, signed by the poet and the artist. Fine.
Susan Stewart wrote The Elements, this long poem in four parts, in collaboration with artist Enid Mark, who created the book’s visual form. The poet, author of three previous books of poetry and a MacArthur Fellow, called on the long Western history of myths and literature on air, fire, earth, and water; in the end she created a sequence unified by the themes of love and strife traditionally associated with the elements. … The poem unfolds in time as a meditation on time and mortality.
“Each of the sections of The Elements – Air, Fire, Earth, and Water – is defined by a visual image. This image is introduced as a horizontal band that has its own rhythm, fading and increasing in dimension and intensity as the pages turn. On the final page opening within each section, three-color lithographs bleed over the four edges of the … spread of the book. Throughout the work, the concrete forms of the sections of the poem, unique to the volume with its wide format, become an integral part of the visual imagery.” -Prospectus.
Susan Stewart received the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry, for Columbarium, a trade edition published by the University of Chicago Press. Columbarium features Air, Fire, Earth, and Water from The Elements.