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This report is taken from PN Review 161, Volume 31 Number 3, January - February 2005.

Dining Well on Poetry Martyn Ould
The Old School Press

How do you like your poetry served? Spoken or written? If you read it on the page, do you mind how the page looks, how comfortably the type can be read, whether it 'suits' the poetry? Do you mind how the pages turn, how the book feels, how it... smells? Does it matter to you whether the book will last you out or decompose in a few years? In short, can the way the presentation affect your experience? If the answer is - even slightly - 'yes', then it must also be possible for poetry to be badly presented or well presented.

As a studio press, my aim is to produce a beautiful book that brings new dimensions to the reading of the text. For me, a trade paperback is for reading and moving on. By contrast, my books slow you down, have you pause, make turning the page a more deliberate action, even 'comment' on the text through illustration.

If you haven't handled a book printed using metal type, inked and pressed onto cotton papers, hand-sewn and bound in hand-made papers, you might wonder at the bother - unnecessary herbs for a self-sufficient dish? If you have, you will know that it gives a totally different sensation from the indifferent type on indifferent paper in the short-lived binding of the paperback book. Presentation in a fine edition says, 'This text deserves a proper rendering.' If the presentation is right, the ...


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