Vita Defuncta is a response to the poem Patterns by Amy Lowell. The poem was first published in 1916 in the collection Men, Women and Ghosts.
The poem speaks of loss in war vs natural death as seen in nature. War is a recurring cycle, but unlike nature, which brings change and growth through the seasons, war only brings death. As a result of the death of a loved one, the woman in the poem remains emotionally static and sterile, presenting a façade to the outer world, where she exists only as a fragile ornament. In my response, language and symbolic representations are intertwined with the images, encompassing both the masculine and feminine aspects of the poem. The rectangular red form turns into a bloodstain by the end of the book. Once opened, one views a perfectly manicured pattern of a white flower like form, (referencing the stylized structure of an English garden) holding the pages. The colors, the texture of the papers and the structure, are all used to reflect the aspects of the poem. Housed in a publisher’s slipcase, which becomes the symbolic black casket for the book within. The book was designed and bound by the artist in a limited edition of 25. Letterpress printed at LaNana Creek Press by Charles D. Jones in Nacogdoches, TX. The papers are Arches MBM Ingres, Fabriano Elle Erre and Japan Yatsuo, and the type is Bauer Bodoni. Measuring 11”H x 13”W open. ISBN: 0-9761941-1-2. Copyright © 2005 Memory Press.