14 Feb Book of the Week — The Architextures 1-7: The Man of Music

PS3570-A635-A7-1999-cover

“Who are we that fled the thousand lives we did not lead in order to escape the very one life that we were destined for?”

The Architextures 1-7: The Man of Music
Nathaniel Tarn (b. 1928)
Sherman Oaks, CA: Ninja Press, 1999
PS3570 A635 A7 1999

Nathaniel Tarn was born in Paris and lived in Belgium until he was eleven. He studied history and English at King’s College, Cambridge. After returning to Paris he studied anthropology and received a Fulbright grant. He studied at Yale University and the University of Chicago and did his doctoral fieldwork in Guatemala. He then completed his graduate studies at the London School of Economics. Tarn published his first volume of poetry, Old Savage/Young City, in 1964. His next published work was a translation of Pablo Neruda’s The Heights of Macchu Pichhu, published by Jonathan Cape, in London. He joined Jonathan Cape as General Editor of its international series.

In 1970, he immigrated to the United States, became a citizen, and taught as Visiting Professor of Romance Languages at Princeton University, and later, at Rutgers and other universities.

Of his poetry, Ian Robinson wrote in 1982, “Landscape, geography, and the history and culture of that landscape, that geography, of the societies living there now and that lived there once, all of the present in its present, are the key factors for Tarn.”

The Architextures 1-7 are the first seven from a collection of seventy prose poems.

The book was handset and letterpress printed on a Vandercook Universal I with Meridien type in six colors and 72pt Felix Titling for display and opening initials. Paper is dove-gray abaca, made by Katie MacGregor at the MacGregor/Vinzani papermaking studio in Whiting, Maine. Six-color wood blocks illustrate the text throughout.

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Ninja Press was begun in 1984 by Carolee Campbell, whose main publishing focus is contemporary poetry. Carolee began her book work as a photographer working with nineteenth and twentieth-century photographic processes. Binding her photograph sequences introduced her to bookbinding and experimental book structures. She then expanded her book work with letterpress printing. Bookmaking opened “the way into contemporary poetry — confronting it for the first time with a directness and penetration she seldom experienced as a reader.” (Ninja Press) All book work from Ninja Press is by Carolee Campbell.

Bound in torched and patinated thin brass boards, with a spine of brass and stainless steel hinges. Issued in a clamshell box covered in black kyosei-shi, a handmade paper from the Fuji Paper Mills Cooperative in Tokushi-ma, Japan. Edition of sixty-five numbered copies, signed by the poet and the bookmaker.

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