Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rule of thumb

Don’t judge a book by its cover, judge it by its capacity for imagination. If the cover of the book is more interesting than the first chapter, you might be reading a Bad Book.

From a post on bad sci-fi at Feminist SF, but probably applicable to all genres (substitute poem for chapter, for instance). Maybe all those austere Faber poetry covers were designed with that rule in mind. (I rather like the Faber minimalism, but you couldn't call it interesting.)


Blogger Ben Wilkinson said...

You could be right about the Faber covers, Tony - they're certainly quite... inoffensive. Excepting some of the less well judged colour schemes, of course. But one thing I always feel about those Faber Pentagram covers is that, more often than not, the colours are quite well suited to the style, tone and subject matters of a given collection - don't you think?

4:25 PM  
Blogger Tony Williams said...

I do think, yes - though I wonder if we might be Pavlov's dogs in that respect, Ben - having grown up with the various Faber covers I associate them strongly with poetry.

My copy of Night in the Iron Hotel is bleached on the spine, creating a weird pink/green/pink colour gradient across the cover, and yet I can't imagine it looking any different.

1:01 PM  
Blogger deemikay said...

Most poetry collections have little or no design in them. (Salt are honourable exceptions.) Bloodaxe and Carcanet just go in for "grab a random photo".

I like the minimalism of Faber myself... completely inoffensive, generally. (Except for the Selected Poems of Christopher Logue... it's a horror.)

For truly awful covers, scroll past all the fantastic covers to the evil ones at the bottom of this post. (The first one, the Lolita cover, is a stunner I think.)

8:59 PM  
Blogger Tony Williams said...

Great link, David. Thanks. Except now I'm imagining a parallel universe where covers like those evil ones adorn poetry collections...

11:14 AM  

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