On Wednesday's post I said that the name Shanna Compton would be coming up a lot in my posts. I went back and counted, and there have been a total of 16 mentions including the one above. The reason for all of these Shanna mentions (17) is because without her I would have never met so many poets and writers, and I wouldn't have any covers to present here.
Which brings us to todays topic, David Lehman. The first time I heard David's name was when Shanna (18) told me that she would be studying with him at the New School. She said that I would really like his work "he wrote a book about detective novels". That sold me right away. I actually first read his book The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets. It remains my favorite book of historical criticism, and I had barely known much about the subjects at the time (except for a little bit about Ashbery and O'Hara).
I eventually met David— one thing led to another, and I ended up designing three issues of LIT, the New School's literary journal. Here's the art for one of the covers I did.
The sculpture was made by Brooklyn based artist Richard Human. Those little black dots you see suspended in the book shaped clear plastic, are actually hundreds of black plastic letters (12 pt helvetica, if memory serves). It is an amazing thing to look at.
I wanted to work with David, and eventually a project for soft skull press came up. Jim and Dave Defeat the Masked Man is a sestina laden collaborative effort between David, and James Cummins with illustrations by artist Archie Rand.
Jim and Dave Defeat the Masked Man
I really like this homage that Archie did to E.C. cartoonist Johnny Craig . At the release party when I mentioned this, he was amazed that I recognized the reference.
I should have hand drawn the type of the title, and I think that was my intention, but I ran out of time.
I wanted to mention the project David and I did for The Hypothetical Library. When I sent out my first request for contribution emails, David very graciously replied right away with an affirmative. The project we made was What Really Happened. He conceived it as a series, so I did three different covers. Here is my favorite.
What Really Happened: Dallas—November 22, 1963
I had the thought that this series is about the observers of history, rather than the main figures. In all three covers the main subjects are cropped, nearly out of the picture, and the anonymous observers are featured. One of my favorite part of David's title is that "What Really Happened" is not a question, but a statement.
I'd like to thank Stacey Harwood for this wonderful opportunity, it was a nice walk down memory lane for me, and a lot of fun. I apologize for any typo's and poorly structured sentences but as I'm fond of telling the copywriters I work with at my advertising job "Charlie go art school. No use words good."
Finally I'd like to thank Shanna Compton getting me into the book cover racket. That makes a total of 19 Shanna mentions (now 20). Thanks Shanna (21).