Michael Ondaatje


Greenboathouse Press, 2012


Designed and printed by Jason Dewinetz at Greenboathouse Press, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada.

Published in an edition of 65 copies.


I am somewhat late in getting hold of this volume, but better late than never!

I had originally decided against a copy of this when published as I’d not been taken by the poem. As a devotee of Jason Dewinetz’s output this was quite a hard decision to have made and the few years since its publication have often seen me teetering on the edge of getting it regardless. It was clearly a beautiful volume that was visually right up my street, but I just couldn’t quite bring myself round to spending a lot of money on something that I really wasn’t taken by, text-wise. And so Tin Roof remained absent from my shelves until recently when, shortly after receiving Dewinetz’s superb Lead, Tin & Antimony, I felt I could no longer lack such a major piece from my Greenboathouse collection. I decided to bite the bullet and finally asked Dewinetz for a copy. Luckily, he still had a single copy that had been kept back due to it missing the slipcase. For this he kindly arranged for the original binder to make one for it exactly as the ones she’d made for the rest of the copies.

When it finally arrived I was instantly thrilled by its visual and tactile points. Its presentation, with the finest design, typography, presswork and materials, is spot on. All the things that make Greenboathouse Press books such an aesthetic delight are here in abundance (particularly the materials, with Reg Lissel’s handmade paper for the text and the Cave Paper handmade for the cover). On just this materialist level alone I was more than happy to own it, but I thought I would revisit the text; after all, that is supposed to be the main thing about books! Much to my surprise – and pleasure – I found that I actually enjoyed the poem this time round. I cannot say whether this was due to changing tastes, or whether I spent more time taking the content in because of the sumptuous format (and I have said that I enjoy texts more when presented in such a pleasurable way), but whatever it was, the initial reason for not buying a copy no longer existed. I guess it was just right’ that I should have a copy at this time and I’m so glad that I have.




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