Breytenbach is a South African, born in 1939 in Cape Town and jailed for seven years in the seventies for being a white opponent of the apartheid regime. His first published work was in Afrikaans, Die Ysterkoei Moet Sweet (The Iron Cow Must Sweat) and broke new ground for not using traditional meters and imagery. Breytenbach now divides his time among South Africa, Paris, and the United States.

In this volume with Carolee Campbell Breytenbach uses a long prose poem to explore the relationship between human emotions and feelings and the landscape from which they receive their context. The book contains a separately bound Legend for understanding the signs and symbols inspired by the text:  Fire, Sand, Air, Water, Smoke, Northern Hemisphere, and Southern Hemisphere. Throughout the main volume the pages are cut away and cut through to foreshadow the landscape of what’s to come. Each paragraph has its own page or an uninterrupted double page spread.

The type is Samson and Libra set by hand and printed with a letterpress on dampened one hundred percent flax paper hand made especially for this book by Bridget O’Malley at Cave Paper in Minneapolis. Various original drawings for the edition were done by Carolee Campbell and printed by her from photopolymer plates.  Additional symbols are applied by hand using pure earth pigments. The inner cover is made of flax and the outer boards are covered with flax paper coated at the press with ochre pigment and fine volcanic pumice. The book and the Legend are encased in a hardcover box with an innovative triangular clasp. The dramatic design, the presswork, and the binding were undertaken by Carolee Campbell with the assistance of Karen Skove Chu in the bindery.

The edition comprises 100 numbered copies signed by the poet and ten copies hors commerce.

 

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