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Art of Medicine

Making Peace

By Maria Endrinal Topel

For Maria Endrinal Topel (MALS'13), there are multiple ways to read a text. Long interested in learning new ways to engage literary audiences, she seized the opportunity to experiment with text through sculptural book design when she discovered the letterpress studio in the basement of Baker Library seven years ago as a graduate student.

I wanted to explore different avenues for how people engage with poetry and to play with the words as much as possible.

The poem "Making Peace" by Denise Levertov inspired this art book of the same name. Topel combined traditional and digital printmaking methods in the accordion style and a polymer plate impression of a heart EKG to convey movement. She restructured the poem's sentences by playing with the spacing of each line—printing the stanzas on stiff card stock invites the reader to assess each line one by one, with many pauses.

"I wanted to explore different avenues for how people engage with poetry and to play with the words as much as possible," she says.

An administrative coordinator for faculty affairs in the Geisel Dean's Office, Topel and her team "juggle a lot of moving parts." She says, "The attention to detail demanded by the creation of artist books, in some way, provides an opportunity to think about other ways to look at a project or how to solve problems."


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