Author: BIRD HERA LINDSAY & POOLE DEAN
In the book, Bird mines the absurdity and humour of sincerity and irony. The texts start at opposing ends, before meeting and muddling in the middle, decked out in a spray of Heldane in rainbow glitter.
“I've always been interested in the relationship between sincerity and irony in literature. Sometimes it's impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins,” Bird says. “People talk about them like they’re contradicting forces, but I love the grey area in-between, where the mutations occur. I still don't really know what irony is. Is that ironic? Probably not.”
Of the collaboration, Bird says, “It was really exciting to work on something outside the scope of poetry. I have always loved the quick brown fox AND the lazy dog he jumped over, so it was great fun to create a text where the typeface was the central focus and things like punctuation, font size and italicisation took on greater import.”
While Bird has sought poetic motivation in romantic literary heroes and ’90s pop culture (e.g. John Keats, immortalised in ‘Keats is dead so fuck me from behind’, and Monica Geller from Friends, “one of the worst characters in the history of television”), Sowersby’s starting point for Heldane were the Renaissance typefaces of Hendrik van den Keere, Claude Garamont, Robert Granjon and Simon de Colines.
“Heldane is a hybrid, a bastard, a fabrication,” Sowersby says. “I vultured my way through history, picking the bones from old fonts to make something new. I hesitate to call it original, but it is new. I used to say Heldane is ‘my Garamond’ as a shorthand explanation, despite having very little to do with Garamont’s work. But it’s very much in the garalde genre. I’ve drawn fuzzy golden threads from his contemporaries to weave my own texture.”