Letterpress printers, poets and artists were amongst those treated to a wonderful afternoon when Alan Loney and Marion May Campbell spoke at State Library on Saturday 23 March.
Alan has been writing poetry since the 1970s and learned to print letterpress in his native New Zealand where he published under the imprint Hawk Press. He founded Electio Editions soon after arriving in Australia in 2001. His books are notable for a combination of beautifully textured, carefully chosen papers finely printed with attention to spacing, forms and fonts.
He discussed his progression from poet to printer and publisher, and described writing typographically
- which means deciding while writing where the next word is going to appear on the page (rather than appear simply on the line), the dual notions of composing a line of type and composing a line of poetry began to merge into a single way of working.
Alan is the founding President of this group devoted to preserving and promoting the arts and crafts of the handmade book in Australia.
Marion May Campbell described her collaboration with Alan in the printing of her work. Electio Editions published Marion’s if not in paint in 2011 in an edition of 40 copies. Each was illustrated by two pen and acrylic drawings by Miriam Morris.
Marion gave a wonderful reading of the poems in the book, with the last one accompanied by Alan. They are currently working on a new translation of Stephane Mallarme's poem Un coup de des (A throw of the dice).
As part of our Australian Private Press collection, ALA has collected the work of Electio Editions comprehensively. In addition we hold several books printed by Alan while in New Zealand and several others in which his poetry has been printed by others.
Following the talk these books were on display for those present to take a closer look and understand even better what Alan had been talking about.