The Delicate Work of Song

West Sayville, NY: Tideline Press, 2013. Signed Limited First Edition. Hardcover. Fine.


Copy 23 of 30. Ideograms by Guyang Chen. Text hand-set Delphin I and Trump Mediaeval, poly-plates on Seikosan washi. 23 French folded leaves. Offsetting and simultaneous printing of unpigmented ink. Type and plates letterpress printed by Leonard Seastone at The Tideline Press. Artist's statement: I have long desired to be able to utilize the Chinese and Japanese means of the language illustrating itself. Here, in my 43rd year of printing, it has been made possible. Guyang’s ideograms are comprised of Latin letterforms: the typeface is Bradley. She first experimented with combining Bradley sorts to mimic the language of her native China. In The Delicate Work of Song she worked digitally so as to be able to be able to overlap and flip the letterforms. The ideograms are the poetry in selected forms almost like a reverse translation into the Chinese. Referenced here is the idea presented by Eliot Weinberger that 20th century American poetry would not have existed in the form it became without the translations into English of ancient Chinese poetry. (The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry, 2003) The poetry is by Ronald Baatz. Here is a review of another of his books, Bird Standing: “The high art of the short poem has no master more accomplished than Ronald Baatz. The places found in these poems impart a metaphysical geography amazing in scope and imaginative dimension,a sense of how the continents of conscious thought and feeling must have been experienced and known before they drifted apart. This book is stunning. Its visions redeem a world and a language we may have thought were lost. Think again.” –Michael McClintock President, United Haiku and Tanka Society. Leonard Seastone is a book designer, printer, binder, and proprietor of the Tideline Press, the imprint he has been using since 1972. He studied poetry at Fairleigh Dickinson University and has an MFA (1988) from SUNY, Purchase College where he is an Assistant Professor of Book Arts. Non-adhesive binding. Quarter-sawn old growth Red Cedar shellac- and wax-finished boards. Dark green leather spine; red leather sewing supports; hand dyed yellow linen thread. Spine title in gold leaf. Bound by Leonard Seastone in 2013. 12cm x 19.2cm.