Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Boy's Absence - Arnold W. Smith

Hot off the workbench, this is the first in a new edition of a cycle of twenty sonnets by the schoolteacher Arnold W. Smith. It is also going to be the first new Callum James Books publication in some time since we have been having all manner of difficulties with the latest Raven monograph. However, even this title isn't quite yet available. It will be soon, but not yet.

The quote that is always trotted out about these poems is from Tim D'Arch Smith in his Love in Earnest that Smith's poems embody the highest standards of self-criticism. By which I assume Tim means that Arnold Smith doesn't try any of the rather self-serving and self-justifying arguments common in Uranian literature and the poems are all the better for it. They are simply the feelings of a schoolmaster who is missing the boy that he has something of a crush on, probably during the school holidays. This is definitely not a scholarly edition, there is no attempt to edit, interpret or introduce the sonnets it is a simple reprinting; a pretty thing rather than a clever thing.

It's one of the smallest books I've ever produced measuring only about 10cm tall. I based the proportions and design on The New Temple Shakespeares which I have always thought 'feel' rather nice in the hand. There are going to be 20 of these casebound copies and then the edition will be topped up to 50 with copies sewn into card covers to the same scale as the casebound ones.

With 20 small casebound books to make I have a few evenings work to go yet as this is just number one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Last I ordered a copy of A Boy's Absence and received it a few weeks after, through regular mail. I enjoyed the poem so much that I made a French translation of it, in prose style. I workrd many weeks on it. Thanks, Claude

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