No, it isn't, but I thought I'd start with a provocative title for my series of entries. My name is Charlie Orr, and I am a designer, not a poet or even a writer. I have a blog called The Hypothetical Library, which in its short two and a half month life has included two poets—David Lehman, and Jennifer L. Knox (with more on the way). The premise of my blog is that I design real book covers for nonexistent books, as proposed by real authors. (BAP has graciously included me in their blogroll; click to see the results and get more details.)
Before I started my blog, I had spent part of the past nine years designing book covers—sometimes paid, but mostly not. Early on I helped out poet and cartoonist friends with getting their work ready for the world. Whether it was for a short print run of chapbooks or more widely distributed trade books for publishing houses, every cover was fun. Through this effort I've met and come to know many wonderful contemporary poets and writers, some of which I will feature throughout the coming week.
As a guest blogger for BAP this week, I thought I would show some nonhypothetical covers that I have done for poets, writers, and cartoonists over the years, and offer some commentary.
First up Reb Livingston...
Wanton Textiles: No Tell Books, chapbook [http://www.notellbooks.org/wanton]
Wanton Textiles is probably my favorite cover to date. When the idea hit me I laughed a lot—for days, which is how I know I've stumbled onto something good. At the time I asked Ms. Livingston if I should have the needle slightly turned away from the thread as if to avoid the uncomfortable aftermath of a regrettable tryst. Reb said "No. She's good with it."
Pterodactyls Soar Again: Coconut Books, e-chap [http://www.coconutpoetry.org/pterodactyls.htm]
Before I did Wanton Textiles for Reb, I did Pterodactyls Soar Again, with photography by poet and friend Shanna Compton. This was the third or fourth egg I cracked for this shot, and I ended up retouching it anyway. My goal when I started this cover was to not show a dinosaur, or a shadow of a dinosaur. I wanted combination of the image and title to let the viewer fill in the blanks in their mind.
Commercial for The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel
Not a cover design, but an audio project that grew out of my collaboration with Reb, the idea for this piece was to emulate the late night chat line phone ads that at the time, seemed to be everywhere on TV after 11:00 pm. I thought it would be a funny to combine the lascivious nature of these ads with the "discreet" aesthetic of the No Tell Motel anthologies. [http://www.notellmotel.org/bedside.php]