My Dad Is a Legend
Hi real people.
So I’ve been getting asked about 4 or 5 times a week about the cover art of my book. I’m so happy with it–the cover art, the layout, the design, everything. Rebecca Wolff, who is my publisher at Fence Books, put the whole thing together and I think even she realizes how hard she snapped on it. It’s really well put together.
Someone else had a really big part in the cover art, though, and we didn’t end up crediting him in the book, which I feel dumb about now because I realize, after answering a hundred questions about where the cover art came from, that I never would have come to that image without him; it’s my dad, Dave Demske, an artist who lives in Michigan and whose art can be seen on his blog space, Monkey-nuts. My dad is super. I feel comfortable saying he’s the biggest supporter of my poetry endeavors (often to an embarrassing, “Dad,-can-you-please-tone-it-down-a-notch” degree) and much of it has only been possible because of his limitless support. Since the book came out, I’ve put several people–poets I’m friends with–in touch with my dad because they have books coming out and really liked the image he provided for me. So I’m extremely glad he was able to be part of that process and I’m glad more things might come of it in the future.
So, when people ask me where the cover art came from, this is what I tell them: my father found it in a really old medical dictionary and altered it in a few not-too-drastic ways. Since my book is about the concept of self, in many ways, and what happens when a person’s self is polluted…say, from a perverted mass media or from biased, untrue messages in advertising…and since the reflexive pronoun that refers to oneself is “I,” I thought it would be really appropriate to have a cover full of diseased eyes. And, of course, the eye being the metaphorical window to the soul, or the inner-self, I thought only strengthened the image as a candidate for the book. I sent it off to Rebecca at Fence as almost an afterthought, but she had the insight to jump on it immediately and that is the story of how the cover art was born. Thank you Dave Demske and Rebecca Wolff (and myself, I guess).
To wrap up this post, here’s some videos my father has recently posted online. The first one is of me reading at Myopic books in Chicago a year ago this month. The second video is of my dad having a wicked sledding accident. Enjoy the craziness. And thanks, Dave (dad) Demske!