Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Geof Huth

Sometime this morning, I should arrive in Manchester in the north of England, the first member of my direct line to set foot on British soil since my great grandparents left here roughly 140 years ago. I will be in & around Manchester & Bury until next Monday, when I will take the train to London. It was on a Manchester-to-London train ride where J.K. Rowling first sketched out what would become the tale of Harry Potter, a fact that once would have impressed my sons.

What I know about the Text Festival in Bury is what I’ve heard from Tony Trehy, the organizer, and from Robert Grenier, who attended a few years back. I’m expecting to learn a great deal, and am approaching this entire trip as one potentially infinite educational opportunity.

One definite pleasure that I will have – today in fact – is meeting Geof Huth, whose visual poem “The Construction of the Alphabet” graces the cover and, in various guises, some of the inner pages of The Alphabet. I have been exceptionally fortunate with the covers of my books over time, and never more so than in the last two volumes, The Age of Huts (compleat) & The Alphabet. In each case, I got exactly what I wanted & the result was stunning. (In my next life, maybe I’ll be a book designer if they still have books.)

Given that I’ve been a fan of Huth’s work for several years now & that we live in neighboring states, it’s curious that we’ve not met before. I console myself with the fact that they’re big states & that we have professional careers in different industries that never put us at the same conferences. So I bow to the inspired programming of the folks at the Text Festival.

I’m not sure just how much blogging I will or won’t do over the next ten days. My rule-of-thumb is going to be to get out and look around, and also take some time to do some writing (not of the blog variety) while I’m here. If I can get online, and if I write anything for the blog, so much the better.


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