The words and the white space, and nothing else. Good poetry is best without bells and whistles. Indeed, the sound of bells and whistles anywhere near poetry is usually the cue to start doubting the quality of the verse.
The words and the white space, then. Yet they are not the whole story: experience teaches us that setting words and space in serried ranks can cast a veil of greyness over even the best poetry. To the poetry designer that is precisely the challenge: to use the minimal means that the genre afford him to blow away the grey so that we can see words and white space as if through a freshly squeegeed and polished window.
The panel were unanimous in their opinion of Robert Anker’s anthology Nieuwe Veters (New Laces). The decision by a literary publisher to go for a designer from outside their own circle has here been wholly beneficial. The verses are simply the verses. Interlinear spacing has been kept on the lean side, and this rightly lends those poems with longer than average line lengths a prose-like character. On the other hand in the half-titles and footers the titles of the collections anthologized are set in a sans serif. This typography extends to the preliminaries and the exterior. The lettering on the jacket is repeated on the blue cover in blind embossing. The blue returns in the bookmark ribbon, the cords and the spine of the dust jacket. There is even a modest ornament in the shape of series of acute accents, which turn up in the table of contents, the index of titles and first lines, and the dividing pages.
So are there no pictures at all? In fact, there is one: the spine is a picture.