48pp. +  Soft Cover. Saddle Stitched. 5" x 7.5". 




Confessions Of A
Black Ink Junkie
by Dave Boles
with a Foreword by Charles Plymell


Dave was born in 1373 when gangs of artisans in Florence, Italy ran through the streets crying "Long live the people and the crafts." I learned this while reading Steven Greenblatt’s recent book on how the world became modern and his discovery of the works of Poggio the scribe who developed the Roman type face after Petrarch wanted a clean type that all could read (reminiscent of Blake’s "sit thee down and write in a book that all may read".) Upon reflection I thought that Dave may have stuck himself with eternal ink. The ancient world had more books for sale when books were hand copied than does the modern world; the computer is making it more so. This is to say that we must take Dave’s confessions seriously. The old saw of printers who say you have "ink in your blood" takes on a more serious import.

When the image doth fall upon the page there be enlightenment. Seeing the first impression, realizing that in modern presses one can crank them up to print on many sheets of vellum a minute. To the careful eye a printer now can tell the impression of the platen press, or the almost invisible dents at the end of the sheet where the paper is grabbed from the offset press much the same, as one would see the tiny pinholes in the ancient vellum to steady the sheets for the scribe.

There is more to black ink than one can imagine. That’s why the Bard himself used it to outlast stronger things like steel and stone and invested his own self in the chemistry. "That in black ink my love may still shine bright." Befittingly, the continuous tone color process uses nature’s basic sunset colors, miraculously using a Seurat-like technique too, lifting dots in a screen film and placing them beside each other in certain geometrics from the original image to behold a full color image when overlaid again with black ink aligned. Simple details become overwhelming to explain as the impressions become hypnotic in volume. Dave’s addiction is not just another book of poetry, it deals with a serious devotion. Be it hot lead, cold type, screening color separation dots with a camera, from the ancient scribe’s point to keyboard composition there is always way more to it than a Gutenberg, Heidelberg or Ginsberg.

When I visited a print shop with Dave and pointed to a "windmill", we knew the jargon meant a classic letterpress. We understood the old printers saying, "you got ink in your blood." When the first copy of one of my books was finished by Haselwood, he gave it to me saying it was the "gloat copy". With Dave’s Confessions of a Black Ink Junky, we can all now understand the excitement of seeing the first impression on a sheet.

Charles Plymell 2013