Granary Books, 2008. Item #GB_140
10 1/2 x 14 1 /4 in., 32 pp., cloth over boards in Plexi slipcase.
Francesco Clemente and Vincent Katz have collaborated in different ways for a number of years, yet this publication marks the first time Clemente’s art and Katz’s poems have been paired in book form. Alcuni Telefonini takes its basis from a shared interest in “Latinitas,” wherever it may be found, from the pages of Petronius’ classic novel Satyricon to the neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro today. The word “telefonini” in the title normally refers to mobile phones; it is the common term for them. Taken literally, “little phones,” it begins to give other connotations, and we also add to it the idea of “little phone calls.” So Alcuni Telefonini could be “a few mobile phones,” “some cells,” “several calls,” etc.
The 11 poems were written in Italy, Germany and France during 2002, while the poet was a Literature Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. They track confrontation with the ancient and its juxtaposition to nature’s wreck; war versus birth; sex on the typewriter; meditations on being a foreigner; the political nature of the soul; the colors of the sky when filled with birds; the amazing sameness of each day when life is lived in one place; and the knowledge, even when traveling, of where one is, where one will and will not be.
The watercolors were made during the summer of 2006 in a house many stone steps up from the seaside town of Amalfi in southern Italy. They provide a precise record of the artist’s reading of each poem, carefully detailed, and they travel into their own world, which is the rich world of Francesco Clemente’s watercolors. Taken apart even from his fabled mastery of other media—fresco, pastel, bronze, oil on canvas, etc.—the watercolor medium, with its unforgiving relation of liquid color to porous skin, is especially suitable to the peripatetic master, who has lived in India and New York and traveled and worked widely.
The book was printed on Hahnemühle 188 GSM photo rag paper using pigment inks at Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints in Philadelphia. Text handlettered by the author. Bound in cloth over boards by Judith Ivry and housed in a Plexiglass slipcase. This is from an edition of 70 copies, of which 50 are for sale; each numbered and signed by the poet and artist. As new.