Micromuseum 10

Another book addition to the micromuseum catalogue. This one dates from 1977 and is a beguiling publication. I had this book lying around (on top of a fender twin reverb to be precise) because I was going to do this post about it and a friend was round and she kept being drawn to it. It’s a poem illustrated with artwork. The poem is quite long and is by Wallace Stevens. Its inspiration was Picasso‘s painting vieux guitariste aveugle. Stevens’ poem is called The Man With The Blue Guitar and Hockney’s etchings are entitled The Blue Guitar. The project was devised by Hockney in the summer of 1976 while he was on holiday on Fire Island, New York.

To give some sort of notion of the book I have selected a few random clips of verse and scanned 3 of the illustrations. The concept of a great poem illustrated by great art is a strong one. There are probably some other books like that around, I will investigate, but if there are I can’t imagine that any could be better than this. I’ll let you know.

Things as they are have been destroyed
Have I? Am I a man that is dead

At a table at which the food is cold?
Is my thought a memory, not alive?

hockney01

Slowly the ivy on the stones
Becomes the stones. Women become

The cities, children become the fields
And men in waves become the sea.

hockney02

Dew-dapper clapper-traps, blazing
From crusty stacks above machines.

Ecce, Oxidia is the seed
Dropped out of this amber-ember pod,

Oxidia is the soot of fire,
Oxidia is Olympia.

hockney03

Finally, these are the last words of the book.

Type set in 11pt. Electra Linotype
Printed in England on Abbey Mills laid paper by the Scolar Press
Published by Petersburg Press, London and New York

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