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Cool New Poetry Book Covers

posted June 10, 2010

Posted by Anne Healey in book design poetry

What is it with poetry book covers? They’re so often boring or ugly. I think a major reason for the ugly ones is simply that small presses can’t afford to hire a proper designer. And there’s an understandable concern about overinterpreting the poetry itself. Also, there’s a general idea that the cover must be staid in order to convey the seriousness of the book’s contents. But so many poetry books seem to be saying glumly, “Oh, don’t mind me, I’m poetry. You’re probably not going to like me unless you already know me. I don’t blame you. I’m kind of boring.”

Come on, poetry books! Don’t be so modest. You’re too beautiful to sit around in that frumpy old bathrobe. Here are a few looks you could try on!

book cover for Shot by Christine Hume Book cover for The Crow's Vow by Susan Briscoe

Fancy Beasts, by Alex Lemon book cover Book cover for Wait: Poems by C.K. Williams

Book cover for The Plot Genie by Gillian Conoley Book cover for Lucifer at the Starlite: Poems by Kim Addonizio

Christine Hume, Shot; Counterpath Press, 2009

Susan Briscoe, The Crow’s Vow; Signal, 2010

Alex Lemon, Fancy Beasts; Milkweed Editions, 2010; Cover and interior design by Christian Fuenfhausen

C.K. Williams, Wait; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010

Gillian Conoley, The Plot Genie; Omnidawn Publishing, 2009

Kim Addonizio, Lucifer at the Starlite; W.W. Norton & Company, 2009

Crimes of the Art

posted April 26, 2010

Posted by Anne Healey in book design

Norwegian artist Gardar Eide Einarsson’s new show at Team Gallery in New York consists of a series of large black-and-white paintings based on appropriated images. One source image, it turns out, is a book design by Peter Mendelsund, a fact that did not go unnoticed by Mendelsund himself. He wrote about it on his blog Jacket Mechanical, pointing out that the image is not, as the gallery’s statement says, in the public domain. 

Mendelsund’s not alone. Last year Einarsson showed a set of similar paintings that appropriate Camus book covers designed by Helen Yentus

Einarsson 2009

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Margaret Atwood U.K. Book Covers

posted April 6, 2010

Posted by Anne Healey in book design

Finally, a book cover that does justice to the work of Margaret Atwood! Beautiful. Too bad for us Americans that it’s the U.K. edition (here’s the U.S. hardcover: There’s also a lovely special slipcase edition (right).

atwood_flood_uk     atwood_flood_uk2


The U.K. paperback that comes out later this year is also striking. It’s one of a series of Atwood cover designs by Nathan Burton (the Caustic Cover Critic has a post about the designs on his blog).

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E-books: Are They Worth Buying?

posted February 18, 2010

Posted by Anne Healey in E-books


 Kindle for iPhone screenshot   Kindle for iPhone screenshot

Over the past six months or so, I’ve read a number of e-books on my iPod Touch, trying out Stanza, Kindle for iPhone, and eReader. At this point the various annoyances (text that’s laid out with big distracting spaces between words, typos, boring covers, wading through the copyright info—and sometimes the “about the author” cover text—to get to the first pages of the book itself) are starting to outweigh the convenience of acquiring a new book immediately, portability, and reading in the dark. And the novelty of playing with a new toy has worn off for me.

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Playing Ginsberg: Franco/Turturro

posted January 22, 2010

Posted by Anne Healey in books poetry

The Sundance Film Festival opens this weekend with the premiere of the Allen Ginsberg biopic “Howl,” starring James Franco (angelheaded hipster du jour).  Here’s a clip of Franco’s Ginsberg reciting the end of “Howl for Carl Solomon.”  Just for fun, below that is John Turturro reciting the whole durn thing (from the Beat documentary “The Source”).

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