by John Yau, Max Gimblett
"The Book of the Anonymous" is one of the most mysterious, surprising and beautiful books published by Granary Books. Acclaimed poet and art critic John Yau wrote the poem in 2009 in response to several translations of the "Tao Te Ching" given to him by Max Gimblett. Upon receipt of the manuscript Gimblett created a series of more than one hundred drawings and collages incorporating rare and unusual handmade papers from around the world. The Granary Books publication comprises the twenty-four part poem and twelve of the remarkable images; each book includes an original ink drawing by Gimblett on the cover.
Yau and Gimblett have collaborated on dozens of unique books over the years; this is their second published collaboration. Here are some thoughts about the project gleaned by the publisher from a conversation with the artist: "It's a
book about water, it's about aether, it's neutral, coming from nowhere, going nowhere, just existing. Straightforward, simple. The subject is anonymity, it's also about deception. John Yau has a very intimate relationship with words. The subject is quite complex so the vocabulary has to be simple and straightforward. The drawings and the writing are as if anonymous. The drawings are in the calligraphic tradition. The writing mounts to some conclusions. It's very mysterious, very rare..."
The text and images were printed letterpress by Philip Gallo at the Hermetic Press; the collages incorporate gold-leaf, photography, photocopy and drawing. The non-adhesive binding was created by master binder Susan Mills. Through a series of ingenious folds and couplings, the pages are gathered together and sewn to cloth-backed boards. Each copy in the edition is signed by poet and artist and housed in a handmade silver cloth-covered clamshell box with spine label also made by the binder. The edition of 33 + 2 proofs is limited by the scarcity of many of the papers.