Home About Homewood Studios Artists Calendar Galleries Programs

The DownStairs Press

Letterpresss – Books & Broadsides

Photos provided by Jack Mader.

In Spring, An Old Snapping Turtle
a one-poem book

7½ x 9 inches • 12 pages • Edition of 18 numbered copies. Edited and hand set in Garamond, Bembo Italic, Goudy Hand Tooled and Lydian fonts by George Roberts at DownStairs Press. Printed on Mowhawk Superfine with Zerkall endpapers and Saint Armand handmade covers. $60.

One day in early spring while riding my bike I came upon a snapping turtle, dead, on the side of the road. Obviously the victim of a automobile tire, I stared at the old guy a while, then rode on. But, he would not leave me.

For days, the image of that old turtle kept popping up…until I decided to write about it, perhaps learning what he wanted to say to me, what part of me lived in the same air, the same world, as that snapping turtle.

While working on the poem, I determined to try a drawing, which I after a while transferred to a linoleum block and carved. I learned as much from this process as from writing the poem.

My friend, the poet John Caddy, read it and remarked, “That’s an old man’s poem.” I took his words as a compliment.

Sample poem from this volume

IN SPRING, AN OLD SNAPPING TURTLE

I imagine him before this moment. Memory snagged
in his past, before this flinty highway confused him.
When he could, as he had forever, cross from south
pond to north each spring as the mating urge
rose up in him.

I imagine him content. Lulled by the sun. Drowsing
on a half sunk tree afloat in the bending sedge
at the brink of his pond.

And I guess him older than I, pushing seventy, and full
of the wisdom his years have layered upon him.

(excerpt)

The DownStairs Press

OVERVIEW

POETRY

BLOG: WHAT IS POETRY FOR?

LETTERPRESS – BOOKS & BROADSIDES

ALTERED BOOKS

ARTIST’S BOOKS