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CB: As both an artist and a writer, the artistâ€™s book is a seemingly perfect form for you. What is the history that links your written and visual work, and how did you come to make books?
SP: When I was in my 20s I moved to Paris and stayed there for 20 years. Although I majored in Biology and went to Medical School for three years, in Paris I made a 180 degree change and started to paint and to write. I wrote a novel which was just published last year, Hurry Along. Now I write mostly poems. A first book of poems has been published this year: The Every Day. My friend during those 20 years was a French poet, AndrÃ© du Bouchet. He made artists books with various painters including Giacometti, Villon, Dora Maar, and Tal Coat. When I came back to New York City I wanted to learn to make books myself. I went to the Center for Book Arts to learn book making and to Pratt Graphics to learn printmaking. My first book combining my poems and prints was made in 1987. I now print my books at the Grenfell Press working with Leslie Miller and Brad Ewing. I make my etchings at Manhattan Graphics Center.
CB: Color seems to set a tone throughout your books. Is color and tone a consideration in your writing?
SP: I am particularly obsessed with black and many of my poems deal with that color as do many of my artists books. Earth colors are perhaps my preferred colors after black but sometimes brighter colors crop up. Sky and weather are important subjects for my poems so that blue is often a color I use.