Sunday, March 10, 2013

April is National Poetry Month

To celebrate, Masscribes, the Massachusetts and Rhode Island calligraphy guild is having an exhibit  called New England Poets, Calligraphic Interpretations. The exhibit will be on display at the Norfolk Public Library during the month of April. All guild members in good standing (i.e. your dues are paid up) are invited to participate.

Warnings about checking copyright were in the guild flyer. Supposedly, things written before 1923 are now in the public domain, but there's a big caveat. Just because something was written before 1923, doesn't mean it can be used without obtaining permission.

 I came across the poem There Is No Frigate Like A Book by Emily Dickinson, but the copyright is held by the Harvard Press which holds the copyright to most of her poems. (Thanks, Andy for answering my questions about copyright). Bummer because I really liked the poem. Some of her other poems are in the public domain, so I chose In A Library another appropriate poem to interpret for a library venue. I thought I would use an old book for my substrate, but a call to the exhibit chair nixed the idea. The library doesn't have any sort of display for a 3-dimensional piece. All work submitted must be framed and ready to hang. Bummer.

When I did some rough calculations as to the size for this poem to be framed, I came up with a 16 inch by 20 inch frame with a writing area roughly 11 inches by 14 inches. I don't have the wall space in the dollhouse to hang something this big, and I don't have any place to store it. Besides, I like the poem, but I'm not in love with it as a framed piece.

I thought long and hard and have decided not to enter the show. I still want to interpret the poem by altering an old book. I had one of my dad's college textbooks. The spine is broken and torn, and has no value beyond its sentimental value. I'll rescue the book from the trash and give it new life.

I have some library contacts so when the piece is finished, I'll see if one of them would like to put my book on display. Hopefully, the librarians won't have a heart attack to see a book used as a canvas.


  1. I like the idea. Sounds like a great project.

  2. I think a librarian would love seeing a ‘broken’ book rescued in such an artistic way!