For this 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, we look at the latest title in the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series, The Holding Hours by Christianne Balk. In this exquisite and moving collection, Balk explores the subtle and surprising transformations that come from caring for her young, neurologically injured daughter within the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Series editor Linda Bierds writes, “Page by page, we’re pulled into ecosystems of the heart more deeply than the clear surface of these poems leads us to expect. And that’s the triumph of this book, for me: how clarity and restraint and the poet/biologist’s precise vision can hold so much.” In this guest post, UW Press senior designer Thomas Eykemans walks us through the creative process in designing the book’s cover.
This book of poetry is a celebration of life that weaves challenging topics such as parenthood and disability with descriptions of the organic richness of the Pacific Northwest environment. I connected these disparate themes by working with Seattle artist Christine Smith to form the letters out of sword ferns while keeping the background clinically empty. As an added bonus, the endpapers burst with foliage before settling into the rhythm of the poetry.
The title is set sideways to allow it to have the greatest visual impact. The text is set in Andada, an organic slab-serif typeface designed by Carolina Giovagnoli for Huerta Tipográfica.