WE LIKE IT HERE BESIDE THE RIVER
The Salvage Press, 2014
The Salvage Press – the Dublin-based publishing imprint of Jamie Murphy – is a press that has been gaining a well deserved reputation for very fine work in the recent few years of its so-far short existence. The editions, printed at Distillers Press (the letterpress workshop of the National College of Art and Design, where Jamie earned his degree and is now their appointed ‘Letterpress Printer’) are of a particularly high quality and, until recently, completely lacking on my shelves. This is something that needed rectifying, which was duly done with the purchase of this marvellous edition of Gerard Smyth’s poetry.
The poems, by an author previously unknown to me, are superb; very much to my taste indeed. I certainly need to track down more! Also, very much to my taste is the striking black and white line illustration by Donald Teskey (printed with a magnesium plate made from the original drawing). The setting, in Caslon, is handsome and well printed, and the restrained use of the condensed sans serif faces for the cover and title page is suitable and attractive. Regarding the title page, the subtle colour fade of the blue titling is a fine touch that rather sums up this publication in that everything has been very well considered and finely executed without resorting to anything visually overbearing (which can be a tempting trap for letterpress printers to fall into nowadays). The use of colour in the binding of this edition is something that is particularly spot on. The muted dark blue paper over boards with the title printed in black and the author’s name in metalic silver looks great, as do the pale blue endpapers when you open the volume.
All in all, We like it here beside the river is a top-notch publication that very much appeals to me and I look forward to many more years of such fine work from The Salvage Press. This may be the first of their publications to be added to my shelves, but with this level of craftsmanship and content it will most certainly not be the last.
Click here to see more of the edition on the Salvage Press website, where copies may still be available.
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