Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kiss me, snarky

Deadlines press, very busy inking a full set of navels into a fresh shipment of oranges … meanwhile, we continue our exegesis …

Huzzah! England expects the Bellman to insert his bell into his right eye. The Bellman promptly complies! Certain idle loafers might insinuate that he does so to ignore a signal ordering his withdrawal during the Battle of Copenhagen but the Bellman doesn’t give a fig for such talk.

In fact, having lost the use of his right eye in Corsica, the addition of a large bell into the useless socket gives him a certain rakish, clochetic look which has proved quite popular with the ladies, in particular, the lovely Lady Emma Hamilton! Imagine her surprise when she discovered afterwards that the Bellman had bequeathed her to the British nation in a codicil of his will!

But her dismay was nothing compared to that of Lewis Carroll, the author of this very Snark Hunt! Imagine his surprise when he discovered that his amanuensis (and rather louche business manager) Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a maternal great-great-nephew of Admiral Skeffington Ludwidge, upon whose ship HMS Carcass a young midshipman named Horatio Nelson began his storied career … a career which included Nelson’s loss of an eye in Corsica … the disregarding of signals during the Battle of Copenhagen … and even the transferral of a Lady Hamilton to a grateful though perplexed nation.

Simple coincidence? I think not! I think what we have here is a Snark Hunt of staggeringly devious complexity, an insidious cabal hatched forth in the shadowed lair of an occluded Illuminati who will stop at nothing (cue evil laughter) … And so I say to you, gentle reader : steady on there, old chap, stiff upper lip and all that!

Remember that whenever he (or she) is confronted by hopeless odds, the True Snark Hunter expects every man to do his duty!

Hip hip hooray! Rum and coke for all ratings on deck!

NB. If you're really bored next Friday, January 28th, 7 p.m., and your parole officer allows you to go down to the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, you might enjoy the steam-powered magic lantern show I plan to expose to the public. I'll be signing books and discussing the post-Nonsensical dichotomies of Victorian hermeneutics whilst you rifle through the spectators' poutines … share and enjoy!

NB. Cocktails, a collection of D.A. Powell's poetry, has just been published by Luxbooks (scroll down to the next-to-last title). This new translation into German, including the entire English text en verso, is accompanied by cover & interior illustrations by yours truly.

D.A. Powell has a rare gift for pushing language towards its farthest limits without lapsing into academic gimmickry or sentimentality and I genuinely recommend his work … so much so that I must forcefully urge you to spend what little cash you have left in purchasing as many copies as possible of this rather unusual volume. Both Luxbooks and Amazon-Deutschland are offering the book — you could easily spend with twice the abandon! Throw caution to the winds this holiday season, like those Wall Street tycoons upon whose largesse we all depend! Io, Saturnalia!


  1. i came here to tell you that your cover illustration for Cocktails is gorgeous. had i been living in montreal right now (or anywhere else but here) i would definitely have been persuaded by your forceful urging.

  2. Thank you, Priya. I know how you also enjoy drawing animals & birds, they are fascinating subjects … the book is only available in Germany.

    the poetry is so good, DA Powell is a real genius and I wish I could illustrate similar work. I think poetry must be the hardest & most difficult of all the art forms, and poets are the most impoverished and neglected of all artists. Even we visual artists do better than them!

    here's a link to DA Powell's poems, some of them are in the book …

  3. Thank you for the link to Callas Lover. The way Powell has captured M. Callas' life in those beautifully constructed sentences and choice of words is well, very moving.

    Every now and then I choose to wear a crown of indignation and martyrdom as an Illustrator. I shall hand that over to the poets. You are right, no one really bothers about them or their work very much.

    I wondered how you might have illustrated Powell's poems and whether this blog was reserved for Snarkophilia only, then I found the link on the sidebar to your gallery - lots of stuff for me to mull over :)

  4. Illustrating Powell's verses was difficult for me because I knew that my interpretation would not really match that of the poet's intent. I am still a bit uneasy over that but I could not help myself, it had to look that way for me.