A title from The Old School Press 


Twenty haiku and tanka by James Kirkup with woodcuts by renowned woodcut artist Naoko Matsubara

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About the book

In print

For something rather different, the Press collaborated with Canadian artist Naoko Matsubara in the making of an editioned piece that presents a collection of twenty haiku and tanka by James Kirkup, whose collection of poems Figures in a Setting we published in 1996. Each verse has been printed letterpress in large foundry Perpetua on a sheet of Japanese hand-made paper specially made by Masao Seki and accompanied by a striking woodcut by Naoko Matsubara. The images have been printed in one, two, or five colours by fine art printer Alan Flint in Canada under Matsubara's supervision.
In issue 5 of Parenthesis, Reiko Yamanouchi wrote 'The result is brilliant and beautiful, deeply satisfying to the senses. Martyn Ould is to be congratulated for having published . . . such a sumptuous work, embodying the best of handwork and a perfect harmony of art and poetry, and also presenting a world in which European and Japanese cultures are subtly and happily merged.'

One of Naoko Matsubara's images from the book


About the edition

The verses are complemented by a short essay on the writing of haiku and tanka by James Kirkup and on the concept of tokonoma itself. A tokonoma is an alcove in the home in which, for instance, a picture or scroll can be placed for meditation. To achieve the desired effect, the sheets are housed in a box constructed to allow one verse at a time to be displayed, much as one might display a photograph or favourite picture. The twenty-five sheets (each about 33cm by 26cm) are held in a tray covered in black cloth with a perspex lid. The back of the tray allows it to stand so that the top sheet is displayed. A slip case protects the whole. This hybrid of book and picture means that the poetry and pictures need never be fully hidden as they would be in the pages of a shelved book, but can be changed with time or whim. Every copy is signed by the four collaborators.

There is an edition of 105 copies of which 85 are for sale. Price is 490.

A four-page prospectus with colour reproductions of two of the sheets is available on request.

Find out more about the book

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What others have said about the book

'The result is brilliant and beautiful, deeply satisfying to the senses.', 'wonderful', 'exquisite in conception, execution, printing, and boxing'

You can find details of all our plans and books in print
via the homepage of our catalogue website
and you can buy online at our shop.


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