top of page

The House the Poet Built

In the summer of 1985, painter DeLoss McGraw arrived at the door of poet W. D. Snodgrass's country house near Erieville, New York, bearing a mysterious wooden box. The next morning McGraw opened the box to reveal ten prepared etching plates neatly separated to protect their surface. He proposed that W. D. write a short phrase at the top of each plate and McGraw would respond with an image underneath. The artist suggested that these ten phrases might become a poem. What happened as a result is a delightful and very personal retelling of "The House that Jack Built" in which the poet becomes the "daft old bard" and finds himself at the center of a whirring menagerie. McGraw's sensitive images perfectly capture the wondrous activity around the poet's house.

Ten-stanza poem by W. D. Snodgrass; ten hand tinted, soft-ground etchings by DeLoss McGraw. Introduction by Constance Glenn. Fourteen letterpress pages handset in Caslon 540 and printed letterpress by Bill Kelly on Rives Tan paper. Unbound, housed in a clamshell box covered in cloth printed with an etching by the artist made by Nanci Kelly. 10 3/8" x 16 3/4". Edition of 30. 1985.

bottom of page