It’s National Poetry Month, and Independent Bookstore Day is coming up this Saturday. I’m celebrating both my creating my first poetry broadside. I saw some in Parnassus Books last month, and I’ve been thinking about them ever since. It’s neat to get to create an image or two to go with a poem and print it along with the poem itself. I love having type to be able to do this. As it happened, I was at a poetry reading at Burke’s Books here in Memphis soon after my Parnassus visit, and one of th owners is also a writer and a poet. He asked if I would be interested in trying my hand at broadsides, so it seemed like the stars lined up. I carved and printed the blocks a week or so ago, but then an out of town trip and a show got me busy, so I didn’t manage the type until today. That was a fast and easy printing, compared to two blocks of different colors that were difficult to get proper coverage on. My press was built for type, which is a very small amount of black and a lot of open white space. My blocks are darker and take a lot more pressure. It was pure pleasure printing the type today. They’ll dry a couple of days, and I’ll have them to Burke’s before the weekend celebration.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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