06
Jun
11

Michael Meyerhofer’s Pure Elysium: Behind the Scenes

Lately, I’ve been working with Palettes & Quills in running their chapbook contest and putting together the winning chapbook – Michael Meyerhofer‘s Pure Elysium. I had so much fun doing the layout and the cover. My favorite part was . . . . Wait. Guess. . . . It was adding the colophon. I’ve always wanted to do that, and so I did.

Here’s what the colophon says:

Stencil Standard Bold, the typface appearing on the front cover, was designed in June 1937 by Robert Hunter Middleton for Ludlow Typography (a hot metal typesetting system used in letterpress printing) and one month later by Gerry Powell for the American Type Founders, which was the major type foundry in America from 1892 to the 1940s while maintaining influence into the 1960s.

Cardo is the typeface used for the text pages and the back cover. This typeface is David J. Perry’s version of a typeface cut for the Renaissance printer Aldus Manutius and first used to print Pietro Bembo’s book De Aetna. This typeface has been revived in modern times under several names, such as Bembo, Aetna, and Aldine 401.

Plus, I think I made a cool cover. The artwork is “The People Make Love” by Peter Davis. I actually  had to do some work on the cover art. The image I received was something closer to a square, but not really a square. The left, top, and bottom were mostly square, but the right side wasn’t at all. I actually had to do some Photoshop painting and cloning to the bottom right to make it square. And then I wondered what to do with a square image. I didn’t want it front and center. I wanted to do something better. Eventually, I elongated the whole image to what is here and the rest fell into place. Actually, there were quite a bunch of different color combinations. The yellow was originally red, like it is under the vase. Actually, the first cover looked like this:

Pure Elysium first cover

I think I did some cool things on the text pages, too. To find out what those things are, order a copy here.

Oh, and Michael was really cool to work with and he gave us a clean copy of his terrific manuscript. There were only two edits in the whole thing. And one was a good edit because I corrected a noun agreement and made the sounds in the correction pick up a number of more harmonies. It’s tight.

It’s a solid book of poems.

But enough about me. To the book!

//

The 2010 winner of the Palettes & Quills Second Biennial Poetry Chapbook Competition is:

Michael Meyerhofer’s Pure Elysium

Pure Elysium cover

It was selected as the winner by Dorianne Laux in December 2010. And now it has been released into the world.

It’s available at Amazon by clicking here, and it’s available for sale at Palettes & Quills by clicking here (just scroll down and click the Add to Cart button).

Here’s what they are saying about the book:

Michael Meyerhoffer’s Pure Elysium is a paradise, a sweet ride through imagination’s wide, un-mown fields. These compact and wildly various poems – funny, serious, personal, global – continually surprise and delight.     – Dorianne Laux

If this collection is Pure Elysium, then I never want to be impure again. Give me flappers with a flat tire, make my wallet turn up under a bed skirt, and let me listen to, “the sound of two hands clapping / in the vacuum between stars.” Michael Meyerhofer is the master of the twist, the patron saint of lines embodying equal parts comedy and poignancy. This collection is nothing like the knights who “woke in such a fuss / that they dressed themselves backwards,” and readers will want to wear the opposite of chainmail when reading these poems. In short, Meyerhofer has done it again. We’re lightning-struck, and it is the best kind of blessing.     – Mary Biddinger

Michael Meyerhofer’s poems reside mainly in narrative. But even though they typically begin and operate in story, they often end with an interesting lyric curl, and it is these endings that make me want to go back and reconsider their lineages. Pure Elysium’s final poem – a lyric, interestingly, which holds much to admire – declares that “we all carry the gene for greatness.” There may indeed be some of that destiny inviting us to peek at its evolution here.     – C. J. Sage

//

About Palettes and Quills:

Founded in 2002 by Donna Marbach, Palettes & Quills is devoted to the celebration and expansion of the literary and visual arts and offers both commissioned and consulting services. Palettes & Quills works to support beginning and emerging writers and artists to expand their knowledge, improve their skills, and connect to other resources in the community. Further, Palettes & Quills seeks to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of these arts through education, advocacy, hands-on assistance, and by functioning as a literary press. For more about Palettes & Quills, visit their website: www.palettesnquills.com.//


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