I’ve been working on some cover concepts for Harry Owen’s upcoming collection ‘The Cull: new and resurrected poems’. It’s taken a while to get to the finished product but now both Harry and Amitabh Mitra, who’s publishing it through the Poets Printery, are very enthusiastic about this one.
The Cull: full cover
The basis for the cover is a picture of Harry taken in front of the fig tree in his Grahamstown garden.
I wanted to show him literally embedded in nature – that reflects the subject of this collection of poems – and experimented with Adobe Photoshop Mix on my iPad. I selected a couple of pictures from earlier this year when I went to the Maasai Mara and superimposed them over him so that the textures mixed together. Amitabh had suggested that I used some red in the cover so I added a garish sunset as the final layer.
Elephants in Maasai Mara
Young Lions in the Mara
I mirrored the final image so that it could act as both the front and back covers and then added borders and text.
Covers front and back
We had worked earlier with the same idea but using a landscape image for the front cover – that’s what’s shown in the slideshow here – but rejected that as the book will be in the standard portrait style with dimensions of 3 x 4.
I really like the way the elephant’s trunk and tusk merge with Harry’s face in this one. There’s plenty more animals too – giraffes, vultures and a hyena!
The first of these haiku was written at home in the early morning. The second could have been anywhere. I guess they should be called Hadedas and Catching Flies?
Hunched like nuns in the coral tree
They cackle at dawn
Basking like a seal on warm black rocks
Mouth open, mind free
It’s been one of the warmest, sunniest winter Julys that I can remember in the Eastern Cape. Which perhaps inspired these two haiku:
Hail stones on a hot zinc roof
The young lovers kiss
On the bay window of old mens’ smiles
A woodpecker taps
Maybe one day I’ll come up with Spring and Autumn to make the whole cycle?
Those of you who have been following the release of For Rhino in a Shrinking World will have already seen Sally Scott’s front cover picture – a powerful pastel drawing of a rhino regarding you through the bush. I thought that it would make a special addition to our home so I bought it from her a couple of months ago. Yesterday we took the rhino into town to Classic Framers and with Sophie’s collaboration we decided on the frame for it. Here are a few quick pictures taken with my phone of the artist at work …. and the next thing, of course, will be to decide just where to hang it!
In this video Tomas Tranströmer reads several of his most evocative poems (in Swedish, with subtitles in English) against translucent backdrops of the Swedish countryside that so inspires him. The video also tells of the 2011 Nobel prize and highlights his piano playing, which echoes through the whole piece. I was pleasantly surprised to find some of my favourite poems are in the video. I have read them at Reddit’s poetry – usually switching between my imperfect Swedish and the English translations. I came across his poems quite by chance three years ago when I saw his collected works (in English) in the Academic Bookshop, Göteborg. After quickly browsing through them I bought the book. Then I had to pluck up the courage to find them in Swedish translation and attempt to do justice to them by reading them aloud at Reddit’s.
This seems an appropriate haiku for November 5th … from Wordphilia ~ a girl’s love of words.