Gerard Smyth

WE LIKE IT HERE BESIDE THE RIVER

STANDARD EDITION

The Salvage Press, 2014

 

Designed and printed by Jamie Murphy, with assistance from Guy Cresswell, Louis Scully and Gerard Smyth, at Distillers Press, National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

Published in an edition of 30 standard copies and 15 specials.

 

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 standard edition booklet of Gerard Smyth’s poetry.

The poems are superb; very much to my taste indeed, as 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 sans serif, the subtle colour fade of the blue is a rather nice 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 minimal use of colour in this edition is something that is particularly spot on, best exemplified by the muted brown-grey cover with its touches of blue in both the printing of the author's name in the top right, and the sewing thread visible along the spine.

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 Jamie’s publications to be added to my shelves but with this level of craftsmanship and content it will most certainly not be the last.

 

 

 

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