The Family Album. Harold Balazs, with captions by Dirk Stratton. Executive-class surrealist illustrated clothbound book limited to 526 copies, 500 numbered and signed by the artists. 9.5 x 8.75 inches. 66 unnumbered pages. ISBN 978-1-938928-01-7. 2015. $50.
While the precise circumstances surrounding the origins of The Family Album have been forgotten—Harold has speculated that perhaps the drawings were completed during a period of convalescence, when “heavier” work with metal or concrete was not possible—the desire to reproduce the album for wider distribution has been long-standing. It took Rosemary Balazs’ suggestion that I be commissioned to write some haiku captions to accompany the drawings to finally transform that desire into the book you are reading right now. Thanks, Rose.
Strictly speaking, the captions are not true haiku, since they follow none of the content rules that govern that form. Instead, it would be more accurate to say that the captions are short poems that borrow the haiku stanza: three lines with syllable counts of 5, 7, 5 respectively, for a total of 17 syllables per caption. Given that the captions drew inspiration from Harold’s drawings, they shall hereafter be referred to as “haroldku.”
While composing these haroldku my mantra was: WWEGD? i.e., What Would Edward Gorey Do? —Dirk Stratton
In Spokane, Washington, please purchase The Family Album at Boo Radley’s and Atticus Coffee and Gifts. Or at the Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Or visit Spybeam Books : spybeam.com