Thursday, March 21, 2013

“A Fine Suit of Clothes” Exhibit about Book Bindings Opens in Jackson Library: Noted Book Artist and Historian to Speak April 16

When the anonymous author of Commercial Bookbindings, a historical sketch and description of an exhibition at the Grolier Club, New York, wrote in 1894, “Nobody thought of expecting the publisher to throw in a fine suit of clothes with the book,” he was commenting on the early years of what was to be the golden age of American book cover design.  The period from 1880-1920 saw the rise and decline in the use of artist/designers, and the astonishing results they could achieve with colored cloth, a few colors of ink, gold and silver, and a canvas the size of a book cover.  The Charles Adams American Trade Binding Collection at the University Libraries has a large selection of bindings concentrating on this period and particularly its zenith, from 1890-1910.

To celebrate its collection and to accompany the new exhibit entitled "A Fine Suit of Clothes: American Publishers' Bindings, 1880-1920: A Progressive Exhibition,"   the University Libraries are sponsoring a presentation by Richard Minsky on the art and commerce of 19th and 20th century American trade bindings. The presentation will be held in the Hodges Reading Room (on the second floor of Jackson Library) on April 16 at 4 PM.  The talk and reception following are both free and open to the public.  

Richard Minsky is an internationally known book artist, author, historian, curator, and bibliographer. Minsky is the author of American Decorated Publishers' Bindings 1872-1929, The Art of American Book Covers 1875-1930, The Art of the American Book, The Golden Age of American Book Design, and The Book Cover Art of Thomas Watson Ball. In 1974 he founded the Center for Book Arts in New York City, the first organization of its kind.

The exhibit will run from March 18 through August 30. It is open to the public, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Bindings on display will change throughout the exhibition period.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kathryn Stripling Byer to Appear at Jackson Library on April 10 at 4 p.m.

When native Georgian Kathryn Stripling Byer came to UNCG to embark on her MFA in Creative Writing, she recalls being somewhat anxious in the presence of those who became her teachers, and her father was somewhat suspicious of his daughter going so far away. Byer is now a poet deeply rooted in North Carolina, having adopted the state as her home years ago.   On April 10 at 4 p.m. in the Hodges Reading Room on the second floor of Jackson Library, she will return to UNCG as one of the luminaries of American poetry to discuss and read from her new book Descent.  The event is free and open to the public.

Of UNCG, Byer said upon her recent induction into the NC Literary Hall of Fame, “I realized I was where I needed to be, surrounded by mentors like Robert Watson, Fred Chappell, and the venerable Allan Tate, not to mention the young writers who became my friends.  William Pitt Root, Bertha Harris, Patricia Peters, Lawrence Judson Reynolds, Kelly Cherry, to name a few.  I have never regretted my move to North Carolina. “

Byer was raised on a farm in Southwest Georgia, where the material for much of her first poetry originated, including the wonderful The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest, which was published in the AWP Award Series in 1986, followed by the Lamont (now Laughlin) prize-winning Wildwood Flower, from LSU Press. Her subsequent collections have been published in the LSU Press Poetry Series.  She graduated from Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia, with a degree in English literature. Following graduation from UNCG’s MFA program, she worked at Western Carolina University, becoming Poet-in-Residence in 1990. Her poetry, prose, and fiction have appeared widely, including Hudson Review, Poetry, The Atlantic, Georgia Review, Shenandoah, and Southern Poetry Review. Often anthologized, her work has also been featured online, where she maintains the blogs "Here, Where I Am," and "The Mountain Woman." Her body of work was discussed along with that of Charles Wright, Robert Morgan, Fred Chappell, Jeff Daniel Marion, and Jim Wayne Miller in Six Poets from the Mountain South, by John Lang, published by LSU Press. Her work has garnered numerous awards, including the Hanes Poetry Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Poetry Award, and the Roanoke-Chowan Award. She served for five years as North Carolina's first woman poet laureate, succeeding Fred Chappell. She lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband and three dogs.