Love in the Time of War

Yusef Komunyakaa began writing these poems when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. In his 25-poem sonnet sequence Komunyakaa begs ancient, lyrical questions that contemplate the struggle of love in a time of war. (Some poems previously appeared in The New Yorker and The Nation.) 

Printed letterpress with silver ink in Adobe Jenson onto individually painted, hand-dyed silk fabric, sewn into a modified paper-case binding. Torn and cut glassine inserts are embedded within foredge-folded sheets to provide rattle & an additional visual layer. Thin aluminum covers are photochemically etched with a pattern derived from camouflage fabric. The supple silk sheets enclosed within metal plates of armor create an integrated articulation of vulnerability and strength. Book structure co-designed with Daniel E. Kelm.

Yusef Komunyakaa is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet and the author of twenty books of poetry. He received a bronze star for his service as a journalist in the Vietnam War and is a professor and senior distinguished poet in the graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University.

10.5 x 7.5 inches; 38 silk pages; variable edition of 70 [2013]




Above: RP applies final color spots to the dyed silk while fabric remains damp

Colored paper shapes are stitched into the interior space of the folio, before binding. The two tabbed ends are then sewn into the spine, and the fold will appear at the foredge. 

Yusef Komunyakaa signing the colophon pages


Immediately after dyeing, the silk is wrestled onto a drying rack


The freshly-dyed silk is coaxed into lying flat on the drying rack


Initial cutting of the 40-yard rolls of silk into sheets sized for dyeing. Former press apprentice Brittany De Nigris at the board shear.


RP printing a text run onto the silk pages, while DeNigris and Lindley Elmore print color solids onto glassine, which will be torn into shapes and stitched into the interior side of the folios.