Singing for our Lives.
By Jeffrey Morin
Stevens Point, Wisconsin: sailorBOYpress, 2023. Edition of 50.
8.5 x 11”; 25 pages (unnumbered). Letterpress printed on handmade paper. Bound in paper covered boards with exposed sewn binding. Colophon: “The text type for this book is Poliphilus, initially cut by Francesco Griffo, circa 1499, for Aldus Manutius and redesigned by Stanley Morrison for the Monotype Corporation in 1923. The body of this book was set at the press and letterfoundry of Michael Bixler in 2021.” Press numbered.
Jeffrey Morin: " I am writing this in the summer of 2021, a time of pandemic, cries for social justice, and what can only be described as batshit crazy politicians trying to deny the election of a US president. I grew up in Madawaska, Maine, 205 miles north of Bangor. Madawaska is another town on a river with a bridge. I was born 99 days before Charlie Howard, who shares my husband’s birth date and year.
“On July 7th, 1984, I was working 488 miles away, in the Catskills of New York. I have long wanted to bring to the foreground the story of Charlie's last day but struggled with the connection to today, the contemporary relevance. There is strong connective tissue between Bangor and Palmyra or Ahvaz. There is a shared fate for Charlie Howard, Hawas Mallah, Mohammed Salameh, Ali Fazeli Monfared, and so many others. There, but for the grace of God, go I, over a bridge guiderail, off a hotel rooftop, thrown head first from the highest point, beheaded by family members."
Morin lays out in “Singing for our Lives” three instances in which young men were murdered because they were not, in what some in society, considered sexually normal. In Palmyra, Syria, two men were thrown off a roof by IS militants for what they said was “the punishment for practicing the crime of Lot’s people.” In 1984 in Garland, Maine, three male teenagers chase Charlie Howard, beat him, throw him off a bridge knowing he cannot swim. On May 5, 2021, in Ahvaz, Iran, an attractive 20-year-old man was beheaded when his family learned of his sexual orientation.
Colophon: “This paper was made by Brian Borchardt, Lisa Beth Robinson, Caren Heft, and me in a glorious, though unbeknownst to us, pre-pandemic summer. Some was made by the same crew and others as we started shedding this pandemic. Most was made with the intension of being the substrate for ‘The Flying Men of Syria.’ Now it transforms into a paper boar journeying down the Kenduskeag Stream, heading into Bangor. … This book … is for the gentle, angry people singing, singing for their lives.”
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