Back in my active letterpress printing days, the details of which I will at some point record here, I was blessed to work with wonderful writers like Wendell Berry, James Still, and Jane Gentry (Vance). The one non-Kentucky poet I worked with was North Carolina legend Fred Chappell, one of my favorite writers and later the poet laureate of North Carolina. (Adela Press was really a cover for me to work with writers I admired. Shhhh–don’t tell anyone.) If you’ve not read his novels I Am One of You Forever and Brighten the Corner Where You Are you should be locked in a room and not released until you finish them.
Fred provided me with an original poem he had written in honor of his late friend Jim Wayne Miller, a North Carolina native who graduated from Kentucky’s Berea College and taught at Western Kentucky University. Both are well known Appalachian writers, and it is fitting that Chappell begins the poem with the image of a mountain.
I handset the poem in Victor Hammer’s Hammer Uncial type, and printed it using a hand-pulled iron Washington press at the University of Kentucky’s King Library Press. The poem was hand inked in three colors and printed in one pull on dampened mould made Hahnemuhle Biblio paper in a numbered edition of 100, each signed by Fred Chappell.
It was the last thing I printed, and also the best thing I did in my short letterpress career. Fred Chappell liked it, too, writing in correspondence to me:
“It is lovely, edible, swoon-inducing.”
“I’ve never had such an opulent presentation, I think–in fact, I’ve rarely seen any so well done.”
True or not, I liked hearing it.
As I moved on to other things (probably should have stuck with letterpress) soon thereafter, I’ve ended up with several unsold copies that would be better on your wall than in my storage. So if you’d like to own one of Ol’ Fred’s limited broadsides, I’m offering some for sale. You can contact me via the Contact Page.
$35 each, including shipping in the US. I prefer Paypal.
12″ x 7 7/16″