I've been working for some years on a trilogy about the Irish poet WB Yeats — and I'll be picking it back up shortly to finish off, (just as soon as I publish How To Create Anything and Go Creative!)
I'm planning a very special edition (500 copies) of the first novel in this trilogy, Her Secret Rose, in facsimile copy of Yeats’s The Secret Rose (1897), for sale by subscription only (just as he sold his!) i.e. printed on laid paper, with pictorial boards stamped in gilt, spine lettered in gilt and the decorative dark blue cloth designed by Yeats’s friend, Althea Gyles in 1897.
I've submitted an application for funding to the Yeats 2015 Creative/Artistic Programme Awards for this very special project.
I don't know if I’ll be awarded the funding so I’ll also be crowdfunding the project through Pubslush.
The project has three parts.
Her Secret Rose: Limited Edition by Subscription.
A special edition (500 copies only) of my novel, Her Secret Rose, in facsimile copy of Yeats’s The Secret Rose (1898), i.e. printed on laid paper, with pictorial boards stamped in gilt, spine lettered in gilt and the same decorative dark blue cloth designed by Yeats’s friend, Althea Gyles,(1868-1949) Irish artist, illustrator, and designer, (born in County Waterford, as I was myself).
Yeats's The Secret Rose (1898) is a book of stories he had published in various periodicals from 1892 to 1896. The spiritual and material force of the creative process is symbolised by the Rose and invoked by the poet in the introductory poem, “To The Secret Rose”.
Yeats saw himself as being at one with the various figures in this volume who, throughout the ages, have desired to escape the cycle of historical time for the timelessness of transcendental realisation, self-actualisation and spiritual transformation.
He wrote to John O'Leary in May 1897, that it was his “honest attempt towards that aristocratic esoteric Irish literature which has been my chief ambition”. He laid out that ambition in the poem “To Ireland In The Coming Times” and lived by it his life long.
My novel examines contemporary Ireland in the light of that ambition, through the lens of his relationship with his spiritual and political ally, Maud Gonne, and their joint embrace of timeless spiritual and creative values.
2 Digital Letters
I would like to launch the novel by sending four digital letters “from” Yeats, in his handwriting, to each of the following places: the village of Ballylee, the small town, Sligo; the capital city, Dublin; and the metropolis, London.
The letters would address the themes covered by his The Secret Rose (1898) and my Her Secret Rose (2015) as they apply to contemporary Ireland — namely the villages, towns, cities and diaspora as represented by Ballylee, Sligo, Dublin and London.
This would be a digital project, working with the great typographer Harald Geisler, font expert (who recently created The Sigmund Freud font from Freud's handwriting). Harald will provide a digital font while I will “channel” the words which would closely draw on letters, published writings and journals, as I have for my novel.
3. Book Tour
A book tour with readings of the novel and the relevant letters, in each of the four locations and a presentation of the novel and a print copy of the relevant letters to Thoor Ballylee, Galway; The Yeats Museum, Sligo; The Irish Writers’ Centre Dublin and The Irish Cultural Centre, London.
Yeats lovers, stay tuned!
I'm meeting Harald Geisler in Frankfurt on Sunday to talk about the project. Can't wait.