The Grand Gestures by Doug Palmer
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Berkeley. Doug Palmer (Worthy Label Press). 1969. Ed. of 1000; no. 925/1000. Softcover with rice paper sheets. Book Condition: Near Fine: Pages in pristine condition, only slight fading to paper cover and along spine. 40pp. (ill. in b/w).
The greatest joy,
my grandest gesture,
is the look on your faces
when the poem
- August 11 1967
This small chapbook is a gorgeous combination of poetry, illustrations, handwriting's human traces, and the traces just visible under the book's transparent pages––always already making another gesture before you can turn the page. Palmer's use of materials is conceptually and physically striking; the semi-translucent pages multiply the reading experience beyond what we can tell. Sometimes another line bleeds through, adding the ghost of another line to a poem. Other times the outline of an illustration makes an almost-outline under the next page. Even when what awaits is illegible, these glimpses make a shadowy emphasis of what's to come on the following pages, and a smudged-out kind of disappearance in the accumulating dark of sheets already turned. A performance of text activated by the reader, Palmer's book is also simply beautiful, delicate, and especially unique, possessing the quality of something one would return to, again and again.
Calligraphy by Jenny.