W. Craghead III

100 pages, limited-edition book
Color cover, black and white interior
Based on the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire

Published in concert with the exhibition
at Gallery Neptune, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Available from Gallery Neptune
and Café Royal
and Little Paper Planes
or via paypal from the author.

From the preface:

Guillaume Apollinaire’s poetry was one of the first great examples of a kind of poetry we would recognize today as contemporary. His embrace of common speech, his collage style of composition (he called it “telegraphic”) and his insistence on the importance of “simultaneity”as a way of representing the way we experience the world aligned him not only with his close friends Picasso, Delaunay and the other avant-garde artists of pre-WW1 Paris, it aligns his work with us today. Above all, like the cubists and other visual artists he championed, his work is one of a deep realism, one based on the beauty and bafflement of the real world, and an attempt to create work that does not just represent the world but competes with it.

Guillaume Apollinaire was born in Rome on August 26, 1880 and was raised in Monte Carlo. After moving to Paris he became an early champion of young artists and poets of the Modernist movement, and became close with Picasso, Robert Delaunay, Alfred Jarry, André Salmon and Max Jacob. His written work, and especially his poetry collections Alcools (1913) and Calligrammes (1918), have had a profound effect on modern and contemporary poetry. He invented the modern “calligramme” or visual poem and he coined the word “surrealism”. Apollinaire served France in World War I as an artillery gunner and in the infantry and wrote poetry while at the front. Wounded in the head by shrapnel (while reading a literary magazine in the trenches!) he underwent two skull operations, and later died of influenza in Paris in 1918, two days before the armistice.

For years Apollinaire’s work has been a source for me. His poetry has a spark of life and a confluence of images that has been a rich vein to mine. Translating another artist’s work is never simple, and transforming work from words to pictures has it’s own pitfalls. At times I started with drawings and found passages that somehow fit – other times I worked from lines of Apollinaire’s work and drew from and between them. With all the drawings in this collection I wanted to make things that didn’t merely illustrate the poetry, but worked with the words to make something new. That newness, that surprise, combined with a rich affection for the world, is at the core of Apollinaire’s project, and I hope at the heart of this book as well.