Above is the cover of a new book by esteemed poet (he's got 12 books and a ton of awards under his belt, after all), Philip Dacey. And if you haven't noticed already, that cover art...it's none other than Symphony I, a collaboration by Rebecca Tager and me for our Triptych Fusion show last fall.
A few months ago, independent press Rain Mountain contacted me expressing interest in using the piece for the cover...and was wondering if I would be willing to work with them. Ladies and gentlemen, how could I respond to this inquiry with anything other than a big, fat YES? So Rebecca and I agreed, a contract was drawn up, and next thing I know, I'm sending image files to the publisher.
But it doesn't end there.
As the editor and I emailed each other back and forth, I shared the story behind Symphony I and Triptych Fusion. She then asked if I would write an appendix for the book, explaining the art of marbling in general and the birth of Symphony I specifically. Would I? How could I pass up another opportunity "to bring marbling to the masses"? Of course I would. The editor gave me free reign on length (when does that ever happen?) and style and I ended up writing less of a technical piece and more of a personal essay about how marbling came into my life and how I engage with the art form. And I have to say, I think this is my favorite piece about marbling that I've written yet.
Which is fitting considering Church of the Adagio is a collection of Dacey's most cherished poems. In his own words:
Church of the Adagio is my first miscellaneous collection since my 1999 book, The Paramour of the Moving Air. Five books have appeared in the 15 intervening years, all with special themes or foci: Thomas Eakins, New York City, sonnets, short poems, and “fives” (a format of five five-line stanzas per poem). It’s therefore been a long while since I could choose poems for inclusion in a book solely because I had a special fondness for a poem or took a certain pride in having made it. Variety is a keynote of the book--variety of style, subject matter, form, and tone. I hope the ultimate effect is kaleidoscopic or cornucopian.
If you haven't read Dacey yet, you're in for a real treat. Wrapped up in his unwavering command of language of structure, you'll find his work to be contemporary and accessible, playful and witty, engaging and emotional without falling victim to over-romanticizing or over-dramatization. In other words, my kind of poetry.