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This piece, an elaborate yet working pencil sharpener with rotating typeface plates, is a three-dimensional illustration of a poem written by Leigh Williams.

Letterpress

I meant to work, alone
here in the northern woods,
but read your book all afternoon,
until I lost lines in the fading light.
Now I can not see
myself or your hard words,
only feel my shape, body
leaning over the text,
hands resting against type I set.

My hands begin to follow
a landscape, almost flat,
ruts running rough rows
over tilled fields, furrowed,
seeding a memory of stubbled type
set on the press bed.
When I set your book
I could reach, without looking for solid letter blocks,
form the slow words,
stanzas, whole pages.

I was writing myself then,
and built your poems
in metal, stacked
the galleys
with my two hands.
I blocked the type,
put it to bed,
and spread ink across
its rippled surface.

The trees begin to sway,
wind on the lake,
I look up from the book
and for a moment glimpse
a damp white page
clamped to the rolling drum.



Work, Play, Earn, Love
Work, Play, Earn, Love
Mixed Media
10" x 8" x 3.5"
2002