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INNOVATIVE BOOK DESIGN Rosemary Norman and Stuart Pound – the book of the film

As mentioned previously I am beginning a series on Poem & Image and related publications and so I was very happy to recently receive a really interesting book from leading poetry filmmakers Rosemary Norman and Stuart Pound. I have to say that I couldn’t take a photo of the cover as if you try to it sends you directly to the Vimeo page. A really clever idea. It includes Rosemary’s poetry with stills of the films at the back. Nicely done R and S.

It makes a good introduction as well,  to the art of self publishing (under the imprint of Aspect Ratio). This has a different slant for poetry film poets I feel, (as opposed to the solely page poet variety) as poets who have written for poetry films don’t necessarily have their work in published form. In this case the book is in some ways an accompaniment or addition to the film; a vehicle to further expand the journey of the film rather than the other way around.

Apparently it came about almost by accident. Rosemary volunteers in a local library and as she narrates ‘it all started mid-February, when I talked to the person who organises events about programming Stuart and me for National Poetry Day (the library has a rather nice projector and screen bought immediately before COVID and not yet much used). She’s keen to go ahead, but I realised none of the poems in my recent Shoestring collection is in a film, and I’d like to sell books for library funds. So I thought of a self-published film poem book.

Looking at the introduction to the book, ‘How We Work’, I expect you’ll see that I used what we wrote for you for The Poetics of Poetry Film as a starting point. The poems are what’s on my Vimeo page. We were going to put a still with every poem but because the poems are different shapes and sizes it probably wouldn’t have worked visually. Then in the library I found a board book of nursery rhymes with a QR code for the tunes. We’d gone to Shoestring’s regular typesetter and he said he could generate one for us. After that we had the idea of making it the main element in the cover design. And it wouldn’t matter if we didn’t have stills for all the poems. A few would be fine.

We don’t have any more publishing plans at the moment, we thought of this as a one-off. But we have made another poetry film since!’

Congratulations Stuart and Rosemary!