Michael Joseph’s Beautiful Books

  • Failing to Act Photo credit Nell Ytsma.

In the July staff news, you may have noticed this announcement: “A poem of Michael Joseph‘s will be part of the Vispo Art Exhibition of poetry and art sponsored by the German state of Northrhine-Westphalia (NRW). The exhibition, scheduled for Spring 2017, will conclude in Burgau…” His brilliantly and beautifully conceived books are now a reality.

Shown above in the slideshow are SPICA, a poem by Michael Joseph, Failing to Act, a collaborative artists’ book, and Dream Dirt, a book unlike any other. All three books were conceived and fabricated by Sarah Stengle.



Poem by Michael Joseph 2016
Art by Sarah Stengle 2016
Silkscreen on etched and drilled found glass autoclave windows with steel brass and neoprene rubber fittings.
Edition of 2
14 x 12 x 26 centimeters (height x depth x width)

Failing to Act
Collaborative artists’ book
Four Poems: Michael Joseph 2016
Book Art: Sarah Stengle 2016
Twelve pages as follows: six turkish map-folded spreads, each containing text on one side.
This book was typeset in Aldus and Aldus SC by Hermann Zapf, and printed on Crane Crest Natural White Cotton Wove. The endpapers are Rives Smoke Cover with Western Blot antibody test result films mounted with 3M 568 adhesive. The text appears inside mid-nineteenth century pale blue ledger-paper folded with a Turkish map-fold. The outer covers are sewn wool with printed pale celadon colored silk title labels applied. The covers are attached with waxed blue linen thread and vintage Erector Set hardware from the 1950’s.
Edition of 8.

Dream Dirt
Text by Michael Joseph 2016
Art by Sarah Stengle 2016
A wooden train carrying two vials of dirt, 30 vials containing paper scrolls (28 short stories, 2 signatures).
The text is available in a trade edition, titled Juvenile Fantasies and Innocent Dreams. The vials contain short stories about childhood and dirt, each one sentence in length, as well as an equivalent number of single-sentences critiques and responses to the stories. Two of the vials contain sterilized dirt from the past of the author and artist.

Jessica Pellien