“A poet of fantastic inversions.” Poetry London

“Multifaceted, mega-fabricated, louche architecture.” Magma

“Voraciously experimental, precociously accomplished.” Poetry International

Bird Superminis

So these little things have been our hot cakes over the past week. Each is a small, slender book containing a mere handful of poems, all concerning their cover star. Some of the poems are classics, some new.

I wanted to talk just briefly about being a cover designer. I’m not a cover designer. Not really. But I do design book covers sometimes. So maybe I am! I don’t know. I designed these! I got down the concept after trying a few experiments, and then I made them up in Flash – Flash, because I still don’t know my way around Illustrator, whereas I’ve been using Flash since the 90s.

Designing covers is frequently maddening in the same way writing poetry is. I might find something that works well, that looks just so, only for the effect to diminish rapidly through repeated usage, or simply by staring at it hard enough. No one is paying me and saying, “Good job!” or “What were you thinking??” so the final judge is me, and that’s too much responsibility! Is it finished yet? Is this a good idea? Is this plagiarism? I, I, I, I, I don’t know!

Then you look at, say, the way Faber do their covers, and you think, “For goodness’ sake, it’s just colours and a font!” And you look back at your own latest creation and lo, it seems as a garish, over-festooned clown car that will wound people in the eyes. Almost every single cover I’ve seen to print I would like to take back and tinker with some more, and I console myself by thinking of future projects, saying this time, this time, I’ll do it right.

Still, that blackbird might be one of the best things I’ve done ever.


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