Valentine

Endearment x letterpress, January 2012
This poem first appeared in Fieralingue‘s 100,000 Poets for Change anthology, fall 2011.

When, in January, I had the chance to set type for the first time, I made the above. I felt giddy all day. I wrote, afterward: I love every letter of the alphabet! In fact, however, the endearment is a kind of lipogram: Many letters are excluded. On account of this, I came very close to running out of several letters. At the end, one V was left in the typecase.

Certain of the letters were not printing as well as others. So, under the advice of Frank Brannon, who is amazing and who perceived just what amount of makeready I was ready to make, I made little cushions for them, squares of newsprint, which I slid under the relevant piece of type. The “r” in “endearment” needed a lift, for instance. This and many more adjustments.

The screen does not do justice to the excitement of feeling those printed letters under my fingertips. Printing enlivens. Printing, be my valentine?

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