Extinction Aria

The text seemed to emanate from a vibrating larynx and dance in the air…The image and insistent repetition of “ink”…came from a dream that inflected the power of ink as a kind of lifeblood for poetry.  Anne Waldman

Hopewell, NJ, 2017. 

Large oblong folio, in two versions: (1) special patinated copper-clad covers with two cold-cast bronze figures* numbered 1-20, in a red buckram covered clamshell-style box, 15 leaves, ff. [3],  pp. 9 verse printed recto only, ff. [3], 4 x 10 3/4 x 24 3/4 inches; (2) regular linen covered copies numbered 21-60, in a wheat yellow buckram covered clamshell-style box, 15 leaves, ff. [3],  pp. 9 verse printed recto only, ff. [3], 1 1/2 x 11 x 24 3/4 inches. *The patination process is inherently serendipitous and each copper-clad copy will be unique (see images).

The Edition: “Extinction Aria” was specially written for this first edition. The artwork was initially hand-proofed from 50 Tibetan Buddhist woodblock images carved in the 18th-early 20th centuries, and letterpress-printed from type-high magnesium photoengravings made to the exact specifications of the originals. The type for the 501 lines of verse is 18 point Monotype Garamont 248, designed by Frederick Goudy, and for the title page and colophon, American Type Founders’ Garamond 459 & 460, designed by Morris Benton. The paper is 100% cotton fiber Stonehenge. The pages for all copies are wrapped in Indian homespun and handloom wild Mulberry or Bhagalpur silk fabric,** tied by a single strand of Nepalese silk yarn, in the manner of a Tibetan sutra. All copies are housed in a cotton buckram book cloth-covered clamshell-style box. Design, hand-setting of types, letterpress printing on a Vandercook Universal I press, covers, including casting and patination, and box-making are by David Sellers. The edition comprises sixty copies numbered 1-60, each signed by the poet and printer. Five additional signed printer’s proofs are designated I-V. The covers for copies 1-20 and I-V are patinated copper-clad Baltic birch plywood boards, both inset with figures cold-cast in bronze. Copies numbered 21-60 are covered in artist’s Belgian linen over Baltic birch plywood with a recessed letterpress-printed cover label. **Wild Mulberry and Bhagalpur silk are often referred to as ‘non-violent silk’ or ‘Ahimsa silk’ since they are only harvested after the moths have left the cacoons and none have been killed in the process. Due to its non-violent origins, this ‘fabric of peace’ is favored by Buddhist monks around the world. 

The first available linen copy was acquired by the Library of Congress, Rare Books and Special Collections; the first patinated copper copy was acquired by Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. 

Recorded performance: Each copy includes a download card for an extraordinary performance of “Extinction Aria” by Anne Waldman & Chilean poet, artist, and filmmaker Cecilia Vicuña, together with musician & composer Ambrose Bye.

Aria notes and commentary

Price: Regular linen covered copies: $3500 plus shipping. Patinated copper-clad & cast copies: $6000 plus shipping.