The poetry of Kalimba was immediately striking. It was playful, surprising and musical. It surprised us again when we saw a different iteration of the text, with Petero performing at Chener Bookshop in East Dulwich, reading the poetry like a musical score with flute, saxophone and bells.
The cover image is by Ria Gunton, a young illustrator from Plymouth who has been creating a series of images for us this year, including for Rowan Evans’s The Last Verses of Beccan and a forthcoming title from Isabel Galleymore. You can see a little more of Ria’s work on her Instagram page and on her website (where you can buy yourself one of her yeti badges). The idea for this book was to turn the book itself into a Kalimba, complete with acoustic hole.
The ‘acoustic hole’ was cut out using a die and a 1920s Thompson letterpress. The process was not without its problems, but intriguingly the issue was not with the 90-year-old letterpress but with the modern digital printer, which was printing imprecisely and unpredictably. The wonderful old letterpress was hitting the paper perfectly each time.
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