Maestoso slab-serif caps, loosely spaced and partly obscured by an oneiric painting, are contrasted with a lighthearted script, to set the atmosphere for Vita Nova. Published in 1999, the book is a collection of poems by Louise Glück, who was awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in literature.
Since, 1990, Louise Glück has been exploring a form that is, according to poet Robert Hass, her invention. Vita Nova – like its immediate predecessors, a book-length sequence – combines the ecstatic utterance of The Wild Iris with the worldly dramas elaborated in Meadowlands. Vita Nova is a book that exists in the long moment of spring, a book of deaths and beginnings, resignation and hope, brutal, luminous, and farseeing. Like late Yeats, Vita Nova dares large statement. By turns stern interlocutor and ardent novitiate, Glück compasses the essential human paradox, a terrifying act of perspective that brings into resolution the smallest human hope and the vast forces that shape and thwart it.
The type has been reset for the paperback edition (Echo Press, 2001). Unfortunately, the script used for the author’s name was slightly tracked, resulting in broken connections. This can happen when using InDesign’s “optical” letterspacing. While the “metric” option (should better be named “default” or “original”) will use the built-in spacing and kerning as defined by the type designer, “optical” replaces this with an algorithmic guess. This can be handy when using fonts with defective or missing kerning. It wrecks havoc on well-produced fonts, though, and must be avoided for connecting scripts.
The typeface used for the added blurb is Melior, which echoes the squarish forms of Eden.