For Dust I Am

By Beatrix Wren

Cover of copy No. 38/44

Publication date: 31 March 2024

24 pages, 13.5 x 9.5 cm, printed quietly by hand, with Centaur & Solemnis metal type, in two colors on Zerkall Frankfurt Cream, cased in marbled covers, quarter-bound with bookcloth of deep purple brocade in a limited edition of 44 copies. $150 / $90 with 40% pre-publication discount.

40% discount extended through 20 April 2024

My daughter, Beatrix, has taken to literature and creative writing, and as she was preparing for her final semester at Laurel High School here in Viroqua, Wisconsin, she asked if she could do an independent study at the Klubhaus to learn how to make a book—a book for a poem she wrote during a writing workshop last summer. Yes, of course.

With my instruction and assistance, she completed all the typesetting and printing in two colors on eight folios (two sheets) of some of the last Zerkall Frankfurt Cream left in my inventory. Tragically, the Zerkall Paper Mill in Germany flooded in July 2021, ruining the machinery and forcing its closure. Upon hearing the news, I bought as much Frankfurt Cream as I could afford, and have been using it for a series of broadsides, and now this book, for which it is very apropos. I have enough left for a few small projects, and then it’s gone forever.

After finishing the printing, she cut down the two sheets, folded the folios, collated the sections, punched the sewing stations, and assisted in covering the Davey Board covers with a beautiful Spanish marbled paper. She sewed about half of the 44 copies, and I finished the project by gluing them into the covers.

I cannot express how sweet this book is, and how much I feel like it is, maybe, the most collectable book to come from this press. Profits from the sale of this book will go directly to her college fund.

Here is the poem you will find within this book:

My skin is the Bark of a Sycamore,
my lips, her Leaves.

My eyes are the birds who nest
in my arms, within this Breathing tree.

My mind is a Labyrinth,
my words, a Whispering wind;

my soul is the mourning Dove—
her Song, my Twin.

And my Heart,

my Heart is the Garden—
full of life and love.

And my Blood,

my Blood, the Mud—
full of warmth and rust.

My hands are Red Roses,
my sins, their Thorns—

my body, just a corpse,
but to Dust I shall Return.