Poems on Life

“Poems of Life”, October 1, 2019. © Haleigh Platt

I would consider my object to be not only a book but also a visual book as well. Its main focus is on the poems as well as the design and overall look of the book itself. I think, especially in current times, the book as an object is very much overlooked because the words are ultimately what we wish to look at. I’m conflicted with that because as an art major, the way a book is formed, and it’s aesthetic is usually what attracts me to it long before I know what’s inside. But as a book lover, I find myself oftentimes passing over the book as an object to dive into the words. There is something truly amazing about referring to a book as an idea: “Engaging with the book as an idea brings its material form back into the conversation in ways that can be productive, exciting, perplexing, and at times problematic” (Borsuk 113). While reading Carrión’s ideas I found it interesting when he talked about writers having nothing to do with the actual book itself, rather their only contribution is the texts themselves. I’ve always subconsciously associated the whole book as the author’s work when in reality, only the words I’m reading are the authors.

I chose to create my book out of various papers (cardstock and scrapbook paper). For the poems themselves, I typed them and then printed them out to have a neat/cohesive look to my book. Loving to be creative, I was immediately drawn to the idea of creating this book completely by hand; I was in desperate need of getting away from the computer for a while. I think the materials I chose reflect my world in that as an artist with many creative hobbies, I had plenty of supplies to complete this project. I think that any reader would be more engaged with a book if it looks appealing and I think by making my book super colorful it fulfills that desire.

“Poems of Life”, October 1, 2019. © Haleigh Platt

The form I chose to use was an accordion-style book; I’ve always liked the way this particular form looks and many people have used this form in the past. I believe my form just adds to the history of a book as an object. I know my form isn’t fresh and unique but adding my style to it makes it distinctive. It’s important, even when using an old idea, to make it your own: “…he sought to return to an earlier idea of the book – one stepped in mystery, beauty, and visionary language that bears the marks of its creator’s hand” (Borsuk 118). My book object isn’t the first and definitely won’t be the last but it’s my own creation that I can be proud of and people who know me would see my style within it.

I had a lot of fun playing around with how I wanted my book to look. The font I chose for my poems is called Traveling Typewriter, I found this font for free online and I loved the way it looked. I figured using a typewriter type font was the way to go! I like sleek and clean designs so there wasn’t that much texture to my object, but I made sure there was a contrast between colors. For my content, I used ten of the most popular poems written about life to have a common theme throughout my project as a whole. Using life as my guide for my aesthetic choices I wanted to express the craziness of life in my color choices. One side of my book contains very bright colors that jump off the page, mixed with scrapbook paper that I thought had a very literary feel to it. On the other side, I used colors that were darker and muted to create a contrast between the two sides of the accordion. Although the poems range in specific messages, the colors signify the two sides of life, the good and the bad.

Works Cited

A Conscious Rethink. “10 Of The Best Poems About Life .” A Conscious Rethink, 13 Sept. 2019, http://www.aconsciousrethink.com/8971/poems-about-life/.

Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. The MIT Press, 2018.

Carrion, Ulises. The New Art of Making Books. Aegean Editions, 2001.

2 thoughts on “Poems on Life”

  1. I really like the clean and colorful look of your book! It is very apparent that you spent some serious time considering the layout and content. Your description is probably my favorite part, because you mention how the colors are reflective of the good and the bad sides of life. I also mentioned the good and the bad in my book description so it was neat finding someone with a similar idea but different assembly.

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  2. Your object/artist’s book is visually so dynamic—it is clear that you were working consciously with the idea of the book and bringing several aspects of its material dimension into play. I am immediately struck by the layered, collage aesthetic: the “blocks” that stack and overlay/underlay each other—making for a very “constructed” feel. This format also allows you to play with “foreground/background” (in that the “background” spaces seem—with their bright colors and engaging designs—to want to emerge, rather than recede). I like the horizontal stretch of the accordion book here; it feels important to be able to see multiple pages at once, side-by-side. As you describe, this book really has two main “faces,” in parallel with its guiding metaphor. You have found function in your form, and form in your function…and fun in all of it. You are the “author” here much in the same sense that a collagist is an artist, in the sense that you have cut, pasted, arranged, and constructed the overarching metaphor from these borrowed works. Beautiful work!

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