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"All Hallows" by Louise Glück

Hello, all!

For my cover project, I chose a short poem by Louise Glück, "All Hallows." I have always loved her work, and started this right around Halloween, so the title at least felt fitting. I love the images—hills darken, oxen sleep, toothed moon rises—and thought that a photograph-based cover might be best in embodying the spirit of the poem. It is a harvest scene, but not one of bounty, rather it is one of emptiness. She is alone, what is she calling? Or are the seeds calling her? The poem ends with the line, "And the soul creeps out of the tree." Whose soul is this? Is it friendly? I want to capure this mystical and somewhat eerie quality in the cover design. 

Here's the poem: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/179763

Here are my original annotations

Here are my sketches

After brainstorming, I decided to try and find a photograph that would work as a background image for my cover. The poem feels both old and out of time, so I wanted to find a vintage photograph that had an old spirit, but didn't indicate a specific time-period. I searched this royalty-free image catalog for hours (http://nos.twnsnd.co), and finally stumbled on this image that really felt right. 

I loved the crisp horizon line and the blurry dust that wipes across the screen. I was drawn to them both, but in the poem can only feel the presence of the one woman at the window, and decided to use just her for the cover. 

I played around with trying to use the horizon line as a baseline for the title of poem, as you can see here... 

but something felt a little off. I liked the scipt, but the text didn't feel like it was giving the right kind of impact. What I love about this poem is that it is both subtle and strong. The contrast in the black and white photo helps give off this notion of dichotomy, but I wanted the text to do the same.  

After trying out lots of different scripts, editing the photo, and even trying out different images, I realized that to caputre the subtly of the poem I needed to go the minimal route. Minimal, but not flimsy. Minimal, ephemeral, in time and out of time. 

Although I really wanted to make it work, there was something that felt wrong with the script font. I finally found this Bodoni Italic font and it immediately clicked that this was the way to go. The serif gives it a classic-feel, and the italic gives it just the right amount of movement that I was looking for in the script fonts. It finally dawned on me that a type mask might be an effective way of presenting the duality I feel in the poem and want to portray. Something that is both here and not here; seen through negative space. 

After many hours of trial-and-error, here is what I came up with for my final project / poem-book cover: 

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