Aralia Press, 1998


Designed and printed by Michael Peich at Aralia Press, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA.

Published in an edition of 230 copies.


One of the main presses that I am acquiring work from at the moment is Aralia Press (see The Living and The Dead and The Litany, featured in my Books of the Moment). This fine press imprint from Michael Peich has made a considerable contribution to modern poetry in the United States. The consistently high standard of work published over the years is testament to Peich’s passion for seeing fine poetry get an audience in a fittingly beautiful form.

This particular book – printed to honour Frederick Morgan’s fifty years as co-founder and co-editor of New York’s The Hudson Review – is one of the more substantial volumes from Aralia Press (a great many are booklets and ephemera).

The design is typical of Peich, with finely tuned typographic restraint exercised in a classic, unfussy layout. The setting, in Spectrum and Romulus Open, is well printed on Rives Heavy mould-made paper and looks handsome. I’ve got to hand it to Peich; he really nails the art of less-is-more typography.

As for the text, which is superb, I could write at length on the wide range of poetry presented, but my entries are supposed to be brief tasters, not in-depth critical reviews. Instead I shall just say that I thoroughly enjoy the content, and that it does not fall short of the high standards I expect from Aralia. The poets, including Anthony Hecht, Philip Levine and Dana Gioia, are all adept at their craft, and Robert Richman’s introductory essay eloquently highlights why Morgan is truly worth celebrating. The volume also has the nice touch of one of the preliminary pages having three lines from one of Morgan’s poems, showing us where the title of the present volume comes from. As if all his work at The Hudson Review wasn’t enough, Morgan was a well-published poet, too!

Lastly, when you close the book, you have the attractive binding to look at. With rich blue silk over boards, and just the single word MORGAN printed on a spine label, it is a fine example of beauty in simplicity.  



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