Confessions of a Bird Stalker

Form
Follows
Function

Confessions of a Bird Stalker is an artist’s book reinterpretation of the poem, Ode to Bird Watching, by Pablo Neruda.

I came across this poem in my research on bird migration and saw the opportunity to create a new narrative using in form of the concertina book, while experimenting with typography and letterpress. The entire book is hand sewn and hand set, mostly utilizing the blind emboss technique on the proofing press. The book is 30 feet long, 6 inches tall, housed in a handmade slipcase.

This book exploits the psychology of watcher versus stalker.

Artist
Interpretation

There are two ways to read this book. The first, reading the book straight through – both the blind emboss and inked words – as you would Pablo Neruda’s poem.

The second option, reading only the inked words, has a more sinister tone, similar to how a stalker would think or feel about their prey. This viewing is meant to be a tactical and immersive experience. The red thread acts as a barrier between a stalker and their prey, becoming more haphazard and unraveling as the stalker gets more frustrated with the birds. The thread also acts as a visual cue to the next lines of type. After researching ornithology and began bird watching myself, I noticed that the tendencies of a stalker and a bird watcher are similar in their (our) habits.
At the end of the book, sewn into the last fold, is Pablo Neruda’s original poem in both English and Spanish. This provides a reference for the viewer to see the original format, as well as an accessibility feature, as blind embossed words can be difficult to read for some viewers.

Pablo Neruda's poem in its original form.

Letterpress on stonehenge white and inkjet on french paper butcher extra white, with waxed cotton thread.
Scrabble, Gothic, & Benton typefaces.
Adrienne Simmons, 2019

Heaps of  gratitude to Pablo Neruda for writing a beautiful poem for me to mull over and reinterpret. Learn more about Neruda here.

Source:

Neruda, Pablo. All the Odes. Translated by Ilan Stevens. Farrar, Straus and Giroux,  Bilingual edition, 2017.