This collection of poems comes from the bibliophile publishing house Stichting De Roos, and that sets the tone straight away: it’s an institution that always promises something special. The book won’t be found in bookshops, but 175 copies will be printed and sent to a fixed number – precisely 175 – of the foundation’s members.
The book is a reissue, in a Dutch translation by Hans Boland, of the first collection of verse by Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, whose work appeared in the so-called Silver Age of Russian poetry in the early decades of the last century – a conveniently valid reason for printing the entire book on a slightly powdery-feeling and silvery-looking paper. The poems are elegantly set in Kazimir, a brilliant choice because in that typeface there is a perfect balance between the Dutch and the Russian.
This is a beautiful example of classical typography, expertly bound, a cover with minimal overhang, and a blind debossed panel on the back for an original portrait photograph of the poet. The use of pronounced print colours like pink and blue is conspicuous. Everything tells you that the choice of those colours is no coincidence, but the precise reason is immaterial. Perhaps, though, the combination of all these elements permits some loose association with a bepowdered Russian grande dame staring out over the glistening river as dusk falls. Exciting!
A great pity it’s not in bookshops.
Bronze medal Best Book Design from all over the World, Leipzig 2018