by Mary Dalton
with original illustration by Anita Singh
He’d the face of a robber’s horse.
And he’d drink the rum off the dead Nelson.
Any devilment, he was sure to be in it, right
Up to his face and eyes.
In this lovely thirteen poem sequence, Mary Dalton captures the beauty, richness, and individuality of Newfoundland dialect. These are voice-poems, each one alive with the freshness and energy of spoken language. Each, as well, gives character and meaning to the word or phrase which is its title – a kind of poetic enactment as definition. With economy, precision and great wit, Dalton offers as well in these gem-like poems a glimpse into the passing lives and dynamics of outport Newfoundland. These poems are also available in a longer volume of Dalton’s speech poems published by Véhicule Press under the same title and which received the 2004 E.J. Pratt Poetry Award; we were grateful that Véhicule Press allowed us to present a small selection in this limited-edition book.
Merrybegot was our first chapbook to include an accompanying illustration. The linocut of a quilt hanging on a clothesline, which St. John’s-based printer and graphic artist Anita Singh has created, provides a beautiful and apt frontispiece to this fine collection. The image was printed chiné collé, using scraps of Japanese and hand-painted paper, by Singh, Rachel Dragland and Marnie Parsons.
Printed in a fine paper edition limited to 150 copies. The type is 12 pt Fournier and was hand-set by Marnie Parsons; the papers are Arches Text with grey Somegami endpapers and a burgundy Classic Linen cover. Includes an original linocut by Anita Singh. Hand-sewn.