Robin Price, “Love in the Time of War”

Front & back covers

Title page spread, copy #34

Title page spread, unknown copy number

Page spread with “Gilgamesh’s Humbaba . . . ” poem

Page spread with “A bottle-nosed dolphin . . . “ poem


Robin Price (Middletown, CT)

Love in the Time of War
letterpress/hand-painted silk
Edition of 70
38 pages
10.5 x 15.5 x .5 in open
10.5 x 7.5 in closed

Yusef Komunyakaa began writing these poems when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. A year or two later, he contacted me to see if I might be interested in seeing a manuscript, once he got further along. I had published his poem “Anodyne” in 2002, a co-publication with Wesleyan University Press, which is when I became captivated with his writing. Eventually, the manuscript became a 25-poem sonnet sequence in which Komunyakaa contemplated the convergence of being at war and experiencing some kind of love.

My interpretation of the poems was made incrementally, through decisions about structure, materials, typography, color and imagery. The book was printed letterpress with silver ink in Adobe Jenson onto individually painted, hand-dyed silk fabric, sewn into a modified paper-case binding. Torn and cut glassine inserts were embedded within foredge-folded sheets to provide sound & an additional visual layer. Thin aluminum covers were photochemically etched with a pattern derived from camouflage fabric. The supple silk sheets enclosed within metal plates of armor create an integrated articulation of vulnerability and strength. Book structure co-designed with Daniel E. Kelm.

Yusef Komunyakaa is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet and the author of over twenty books of poetry. He received a bronze star for his service as a journalist in the Vietnam War and is a professor and senior distinguished poet in the graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University.