Monday, October 15, 2007

About the Cover Artist

First copy arrived Saturday. Went on today (10/15). I like it and hope you do too.

Story of the cover art: In 1983 I bought a postcard with a strange and striking picture on it: a bird fantastically feathered with autumn leaves. I kept it posted in my writing space for 20 years, through cross-country moves, always thinking, "I'd like that painting on the cover of my first book." Finally in 2005 I put together Fierce Consent and Other Poems. I had the painting's name and date: "Der Herbstvogel" (Autumn Bird), 1970. Google led me to its painter, Siegbert Hahn (b. 1937) of Germany. Through his website I E-mailed him and he most graciously gave permission to use Der Herbstvogel on my book cover. Dream come magically true! His assent was how I knew I should go ahead with publishing that book.

I considered Mr. Hahn's paintings again when I put together Island Universe. Titled "Die vielen Wirklichkeiten" (The Many Realities, 2000), this painting was a perfect fit. Mr. Hahn again permitted me to use his painting, this time sending the original slide for scanning so the lines would be crisp and the colors true. "One of my most mystical paintings," he wrote. Without the Internet I would never have found the artist. Perhaps in 2008 I will go to Cologne and meet him and his partner of 40 years, Dr. Peter Guckel.

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