Through a masterful subversion of the sources, David R. Carlson recreates the birth of Venus. He does this by referring himself to the original depiction by Hesiod of Venus as born from the dismembered male gods. Carlson takes the original Greek spelling of the Venus’ name, “penis loving” and in the process restores her power. Centuries of misspelling, or misreading of the original spelling as “laughter-loving” gave Venus a "kinder" sort of beauty, obfuscating her power as creator and created. Carlson also brings into the narration of Venus’ birth, elements of the story as told by Ovid and his close contemporaries.
For his part Rei Misiri brings the renewed goddess to life through his own expert marrying of traditional calligraphic techniques, dance movement and street art. His mastery of calligraphic expression at different scales has proven instrumental in the shape and form of the chapbook.
Designed by Deborah Barnett, this exquisitely produced imprint, puts to use traditional letterpress techniques, alongside the latest iterations of digital technology. The type, Mason Sans, designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, is employed for the titling. The text is set in the Absara family of fonts, designed by Xavier Dupré in 2005. The paper is Canaletto Bianco felt for the pages, and vintage Fabriano for the cover. The chapbook is hand sewn in an edition of 52 signed and numbered copies.
The Birth of Venus, Cock-Swallower comprises the entirety of someone:elements, the defining umbrella for the four elements that make up Someone Editions’ adventure in print making, celebrating water, air, earth, and fire.
The series Editor is Beatriz Hausner.
David R. Carlson is the author of many outstanding publications, including English Humanist Books 1475-1525, Chaucer’s Jobs, scholarly books on John Gower and Thomas Elyot, and a vast and astonishingly diverse body of work in the areas of Book-History and Renaissance printing, including Wyatt, Skelton Barclay, Erasmus and More. Important also in Carlson’s bibliography are his works on Middle English romance and historiography, Anglo-Saxon literature and Late Antique poetry.
Rei Misiri is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist. Originally from Tirana, Albania he finds in urban art and dance an outlet to embrace his identity. He combines visual art, dance, and film to bridge the gap between street culture and high art. Misiri’s dynamic juxtapositions of traditional calligraphy and contemporary street art have been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts, the Scope Art Show and the Versace Mansion during Art Basel Miami (2018), and many other institutions.
Deborah Barnett brings to limited edition chapbook publishing her roots in visual art, her background in professional graphic design and deep expertise in limited edition publishing, where her focus is the exploration of innovative connections: traditional letterpress meets new media. As one of the founders of Dreadnaught, the legendary Canadian letterpress printing collective, Barnett is ideally positioned to make Someone Editions a leader in the field. Deborah Barnet is a Master’s candidate at OCAD University and College Printer at the John M. Kelly Library.
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