Book Art News Forum distinguishes extraordinary book of poems by Nilly Dagan
Limited edition of "In Everyone There Are Four Sons"
now on exhibit in Hall 4.1Frankfurt, 16.10.2008 - In the Book Art section of the 60th Frankfurt Book Fair, the colorful and surprising writing debut by Israeli poet Nilly Dagan "In Everyone There Are Four Sons" has been selected as one of this year's most impressive new book designs on exhibit. The chosen work is actually two books in one, designed as a single unit by Ido Agassi, and published by Even Hoshen in a limited edition of 54 signed and numbered copies
Equally impressive are the concept behind the book itself and its contents, including the audio CD which comes with it, featuring music by David Elharrar and Amos Ever-Hadani.
"Poetry is a gift that isn't given for life", one line of a poem reads. A line which Nilly Dagan herself embodies, as she only began writing three years ago, shortly after receiving a pacemaker. This life-changing experience opened her eyes to the worlds of imagination and inspiration which she craftily interweaves with the familiar worlds of inner and outer reality. This gives her poetry a fascinating multi-vocal quality which communicates on many levels simultaneously.
Nelly Dagan's words not only leap from the page, they literally take on a life of their own. The poet's express goal is to have her poems translated, set to music and read aloud, hence the audio CD included. For instance, read by actress Gilya Stern, these words immediately sweep the listener away on a journey across time and space:
"My grandmother was once a friend of Anne Frank. Today, she is a 'getaway driver' taking the coastal road to Netanya in a silvery automobile...to the Four Seasons Hotel, where she plays a wild card game."
Like the contents, brief and involving, the packaging captures the attention, as well. In Hall 4.1, near the head of aisle Q, the Book Art News Forum displays this year's selection of best book art, with Nilly Dagan's book prominently placed at the top of the foremost display case.
What is perhaps most striking about this limited edition of the book is the metal sculpture "Quartet" by artist David Gerstein, who has created a visual representation of the four sons in the Passover haggada, which the book title refers to, "In Everyone There Are Four Sons". The sculpture acts as a kind of center divider between two language versions of the book, like butterfly wings, identical in content, yet one in Hebrew and the other in English.
Or they might also be Spanish and Arabic versions of the book and CD, which are currently in translation and will be available soon. Four languages for the four sons who represent the four elements of which all things are made.
Frankfurt, 16.10.2008 - In the Book Art section of the 60th Frankfurt Book Fair, the colorful and
surprising writing debut by Israeli poet Nilly Dagan "In Everyone There Are Four Sons" has been
selected as one of this year's most impressive new book designs on exhibit. The chosen work is
actually two books in one, designed as a single unit by Ido Agassi, and published by Even Hoshen
in a limited edition of 54 signed and numbered copies.
In Everyone There are Four Sons
Just published by Even Hoshen: In Everyone There Are Four Sons by Nilly Dagan. This is Dagan's first book of poetry, simultaneously appearing in both Hebrew and in English.
The two books are accompanied by a CD featuring readings of selected poems to guitar improvisations by Amos Ever-Hadani. Opening and closing musical motifs are by David Elharrar, arranged by Ken Burgess. The Hebrew reading is by actress Tami Spivak and the English reading (in the translation of Susann and Ed Codish) is by actress Gilya Stern.
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Just several feet away from where people are immersed in the digital worlds of their laptops, iPhones, and Kindles, Ido Agassi's hand-designed, individually printed and bound books calmly look on from a display case in the lobby of the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, California. Those who take time to observe Agassi's "Books as Works of Art," on view until March 31, are reminded that text need not be a flickering image on a screen, and that words can possess beauty beyond their meaning.
The blending of sculpture, graphic design and bookbinding has been part of the 34-year-old Israeli artist's personal landscape since 1994, when his father, Uzi Agassi, founded Even Hoshen, the family's letterpress and intaglio publishing house in Ra'anana. An autodidact, the younger Agassi is jack-of-all-trades when it comes to handcrafting books, boxes and slipcases. Over the years, he has studied bookbinding, restoration, box making, letterpress printing, typesetting, typography, calligraphy, gold finishing, printing and carpentry.