Harriet Bart

The Poetry of Chance Encounters

Harriet Bart

The Poetry of Chance Encounters



Edition Size





Rives BFK


Leather case, full


Artist Book


9.5 × 6.25 in


Mnemonic Press


Hermetic Press

$ 3,800.00


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Boston Athenaeum

Brown University, John Hay Library

Carleton College

Florida Atlantic University (FAU), The Jaffe Book Arts Collection

Library of Congress (LoC)

Long Island University (LIU)

Minnesota Historical Society Library

Skidmore College

Stanford University

University of Minnesota

University of Southern California (USC)

University of Washington Libraries

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Special Collections

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Walker Art Center

Yale University, Beinecke Library

A contemporary book of devotions, an illuminated manuscript of the surrealist games of chance. The book brings together in evocative pairings of text and image, the artist’s love of the written language and her passion for the found object which have been part of the iconography of her sculpture for years.

In the book, Bart presents a collection of texts drawn from many sources, both common and obscure. The poetry of Rimbaud, an autograph manuscript by Emily Dickinson, an excerpt from the Opiate Receptor gene of the human genome. These are but a few of the fragments illuminated by gilded icons. A bowl. A chalice. A hand mirror. An amphora… a collection of quotidian objects throughout the ages.

This is a stunning book of visual poetry. From its sumptuous calf leather binding to the visual pleasure of each printed page, The Poetry of Chance Encounters is a rare beauty that pays homage to the printer’s art, the binder’s craft, and the artist’s vision.

The book contains sixteen visual poems on multi-color fields, each imprinted with an icon in 22-carat gold. Each page has a total of five press runs, including a varnish over the icon and field with the impression of the gold leaf imparting an embossed effect to the icon. Although very complex in its assemblage the overall treatment of the book is spare – more in the manner of turn of the century livres deluxe than the contemporary artist book.

The basic typeface is Lydian, a stressed sans serif chosen to complement the treatment of the image and type throughout the book. The paper is Rives BFK (180GSM), heavy enough to accept the multiple press runs, but light enough to allow for a supple binding that opens easily.

The book is bound in full leather. The slipcase is covered with a gold paste paper made by Clair Maziarcyzk. The binding was designed and executed by Jill Jevne. The book was produced in collaboration with Phillip Gallo at Hermetic Press. Letterpress printed. Numbered edition of 35.