Carleton University Magazine

Bound for Glory

Handmade books glow with a vintage varnish when cast against the sleek gadgetry of the information age


ACCORDIAN STYLE  The Library, by Derek Cowan, published 1991. Limited edition of 60 copies, numbered and signed. Printed on one side of a continuous strip, folded in accordion fashion

“He went into the library as a young and strong man and came back to us hunched over and walking with a carved bamboo stick.”

So begins a short poem trailing through this hand-bound, hand-painted rumination on stacks, dust and shelving holding “a great wasteland of books” (a “library” in flat prose). This limited-run opus of two decades ago feels like a reminder of a waning book culture in the age of e-readers. It is an antiquarian’s delight, a meta-narrative about the treasures of a library in a format that’s tactile and intriguing. The spare sentences of the poem jump off to larger issues, with seeming banalities drawing the reader to think about culture, technology and time. Could it be that a good argument drills deeper from paper sheets than from glowing screens? This book is one of many treasures from small presses within the Modern Poetry Collection at the Carleton University Library. The collection is available for academic research and public consultation. Stop by sometime

Written by Fateema Sayani (BJ/01)
Photos by Luther Caverly

This story was published in the Winter 2011 issue. Bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

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