On Collecting book
On Collecting
By Juan Sebastian Agudelo
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Shandy Press, 2004. Edition of 75.

8.25 x 6" closed. The structure is a modified accordion, with an extra flap attached at the top, adding to the sense of unfolding layers of stamps before one gets to the text. The poem can be read by turning the pages as in
a codex structure, but as an accordion, the parts also exist horizontally as in a time line, echoing an underlying movement of the poem. The book was conceived, designed, bound, and the text letterpress printed on a Vandercook Proving Press by Susan Viguers. The type is Walbaum and the paper Dulcet. The images are offset printed by Lori Spencer on a Heideberg KOS in the Borowsky Center for Publication Arts, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

The black leatherette cover, size and shape suggest a stamp book. The book does have 23 pages of stamps from around the world from the 1940s to the 1960s collected in Mexico by Guillermo Agudelo. One can "read" the pages: the companionship of the pope and Grace Kelly on the Monaco page, the large fish gliding above the Hitlers, the images of stamps within stamps in the USSR, Mao and Lenin shaking hands, a whole page recording the variations in a Chinese exercise routine.

Within the rich visual and metaphoric context of the stamps, but in its own space, is a poem inspired by the stamps by Juan Sebastian Agudelo-a wry meditation on growing up, the nature of collecting, and a grandfather's legacy to his grandson, and on the political and cultural world to which stamps give voice.