Fulcrum: The beauty of metal type

Today I visited John Grice at the Evergreen Press in order to confirm the layout of the title page and other final details prior to the printing of my short poetry collection, Fulcrum, which is to be published on 1 June.  I had visited the Press once before, in order to discuss what might be possible in the printing of my little book – a visit that was relished for the excitement of seeing the machinery, metal type and other trappings of one of the artisan Fine Presses whose work I have long admired.  This time, however, there was the excitement of seeing some of my own work fully set in metal type, in readiness for the printing of the volume.  In this digital age, where computers and desktop printers make print such a ready commodity, the effect of seeing one’s work in such a concrete form as metal type is quite magical, and indeed moving.  So it was today, when I was confronted with 30 pages of my book fully set in gleaming type; three years of musings and writings cast in metal.  Type is a beautiful thing, and I couldn’t resist taking a few photographs of this stage of the book’s making.

The bound blocks of set type, ready for locking up and printing.

The bound blocks of set type, ready for locking up and printing. The five blocks of type at the near end of the row closest to the camera, and the farthest two blocks of the next row, constitute the longest poem in the book, ‘Lux Mundi’. There follows the verse, ‘The Allotted Grave’, and a free sonnet, ‘Sacrament’.

The opening of the poem ‘Plain Sight’

The opening of the poem ‘Plain Sight’

‘Rain-song’ (opening)

‘Rain-song’ (opening)

‘Relic of Hope’ and ‘Remembrance?’

‘Relic of Hope’ and ‘Remembrance?’

As you can see, metal type is quite beautiful and seductive — as are the machines that translate their form into the printed page:

Printing presses

To get to the press I walk along the Stroudwater Navigation, which is a far more pleasant than the road, to say the least:

Stroudwater Navigation

If you haven’t already ordered your copy of the book, be sure to do so! Click here for details.

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One thought on “Fulcrum: The beauty of metal type

  1. How exciting, Philip! The type looks fascinating – so looking forward to my copy of the book.
    We lived in Pitchcombe for 2 years so I know Stonehouse and the Stroudwater canal which is at last being restored.

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