By Alan Govenar (text) & Caren Heft (book design, printing, production)
Stevens Point, Wisconsin: Arcadian Press, 2005. Edition of 49.
The book is laid in a scorched and black-paint-splattered triangular wooden box with magnet closure. The box is padded inside with soft reddish cloth. On the box’s top is a silver metal star, while on the inside is a plastic toy airplane. The book rests on top of an American flag (folded into a triangle). Set in the padded base of the box are a 2.75" glass figure of a wounded soldier (inscribed either with the number of American military dead in Vietnam or the number of Vietnamese civilians killed or wounded) and a small metal WWII first aid kit containing wound dressing, sulfa powder and instructions.
This work bites its tongue, but the anti-war rage is barely in check. The left pages list the women who died in Vietnam. The right pages combine a mix of gung-ho-young-lad-playing-war and the story of LCDR Smokey Tolbert, much decorated flyer and Blue Angel, who was shot down over Vietnam. The official report of that downing seems questionable. Commander Tolbert’s remains were suddenly “discovered” by the Vietnamese and returned 16 years after his downing.
He stands here for the waste and indignity that awaits “boys who dream of war.”
Every statistic and story in this work repeats or is enveloped by its triangular shape, the shape the US flag that drapes coffins is folded into before it’s presented to the next of kin.
16 pages. Triangular book (17" spine x 12" x 12": 8.5" at its widest point resting in triangular box - 25" x 17.75" x 17.75": 12.5" at its widest point). Each page on Root River Mill Paper made by Jeff Morin, Brain Borchardt and Caren Heft, or Hahnemuhle paper sized and tinted. Type: Gill Sans. Open sewn spine with silver colored boards that are lightly marked to form a pattern with a cutout of an airplane in black and gray on the front board. Each different-colored page opens up as a square. Pages are edged with stars, the USA flag, or statistics relating to the Vietnam War