The March issue of Poetry by Post reached mailboxes at the tail end of the month (!), and although the timeline was not ideal, I am grateful that poetry is always worth waiting for. Or at least my subscribers are nice enough not to mention otherwise. The featured poem for the month was "No Nose" by Eric McHenry, a writer who I first worked with during the initial round of Poetry by Post that was my thesis project once upon a time.
He is such a delightful poet -- he is a rare modern formalist, and his rhymes are acrobatic, clever, and deeply satisfying. This particular poem refers to homes that have "noses" versus the speaker's, which decidedly does not, so I chose to use a sea of identical triangles to represent houses that all conform to a particular ideal, absent one, which is where I planted the title.
Despite the lack of a "nose" on the house in question, the speaker refers to other reasons that he or she chose the house -- namely the trees, the schools, and the neighborhood. So I gravitated toward a sea of stamps that featured homes, trees, and a gorgeous array of greens.
For the subscribers' names, I used Foundational hand in walnut ink. Typically I go to gouache for all lettering because it is beautifully opaque, can yield super fine hairlines, and thus makes lettering feel really crisp. But playing further on the theme of trees, using walnut ink -- which is made from actual walnuts! -- felt like the right choice in this case. The little corners and edges of the letters are less sharp in consequence, but what you sacrifice in precision, you gain in a rich variability in color within the lettering itself.
And the seals were done in a lovely bronze that echoed the ink color. I wish I had had the perfect emerald green, but alas! Still pretty, I daresay.
With these mailings, I am always on pins and needles until I hear from the poet whose work was featured. It is such a charged and intimate act, to work with someone else's words and to hope to do them justice. Luckily I had the kindest, most gracious note from Eric the other day, one that I will keep tucked away forever. Makes every fussy hour spent on these totally worth it.