Aralia Press, 1999
Designed and printed by Michael Peich at Aralia Press, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA.
Published in an edition of 100 standard copies and 30 specials.
And so here we are with another standout Dana Gioia/Aralia Press pairing. There will likely be many more items from Gioia and Aralia joining my shelves in the future, so more may well appear here, but for now I need to add this absolute gem as it was love at first sight and first read.
By now I think it’s quite clear that I’m hugely taken with Gioia’s poetry. This has been rather a whirlwind occurrence in which, during a very short period, I have gone from having just one fine press edition of six poems to having quite a large selection. Out of all the recent items to arrive, this particular beauty really stands out. The single poem it features is held up as one of Gioia’s finest and I can easily see why. It is a poem of deeply touching imagery that muses on many aspects of loss and the circle of life, particularly the seemingly inconsequential minutiae that are part of the bigger picture. I am sure that further readings will reveal far more, but even as it stands this work firmly cements my love of this highly accomplished poet’s talent.
The production of The Litany is pretty much faultless, which is something that I am finding with a great deal of Michael Peich’s work presently arriving on my shelves. Everything about this edition – particularly in these specials – is so well judged. The setting, in Jan van Krimpen’s stunningly beautiful Romanée and Romulus Open typefaces, is a masterclass in restrained typography. Then there is choice of luxurious materials; the Barcham Green Tovil paper for the text and Fabriano Roma for the cover. Both these handmades are among my favourites and, along with the immaculately printed setting, add to the richness of the poem, for I firmly believe that a beautiful presentation of a text enhances it. All in all, this is a pretty perfect example of how a small pamphlet can be exceptional.
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