Tag Archives: Translation

The Lays of Marie de France

The author introduced this collection with the following words:

Marie’s subjects are the charms and difficulties of love of various kinds and the way goodness and wickedness are rewarded and punished in a complicated world. But it would be a disservice to her and to the poems to try to extract a philosophical or political “position” from pieces that are, I think, written as entertainments and deliberately mixed in approach and attitude. One might think of these poems as toys for adults, for they are decorous variations on themes from fairy tales and Märchen.

And then he sent along a fantastical picture of a werewolf for use on the cover.

Using futuristic folklore imagery on the cover seemed incongruous with the lyrical translations of twelfth-century french lais inside. I wanted to describe a creature of fable in a style that doesn’t contradict the era quite so loudly. So I roughed out a tail with some ink, leaving the face of the beast to the imagination, and paired it with the most geriatric typeface I could find (though it’s still a few hundred years younger than the High Middle Ages) Bruce Rogers’s calligraphic Centaur.

 

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Kiyâm

I was asked to do the impossible: create an image that blends the author’s Cree/Ojibwe/Scottish/English heritage. Naomi McIlwraith’s new collection of poetry is written in both English and Plains Cree, and focuses on the concern of language loss.

Below is my preliminary pencil crayon sketch for the title block. Root imagery not only pops up often in the text, but is a fitting way to represent McIlwraith’s intricate lineage. Her work talks about language being rooted in the land, the multiple definitions of Seneca root, and the structure/roots of words.

 

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