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Each Book Speaks for Itself


It was evident from its beginning and remains so today, more than ten years later, that at Two Ponds Press each book speaks for itself. Two Ponds Press launched with its inaugural publication in 2011, an edition of Anthony Hecht's poetry, Interior Skies: Late Poems from Liguria. While this was the first downbeat of what would become an impressive output of masterful, elegantly designed fine press productions, it was also the culmination of decades of work on the part of Ken Shure and Liv Rockefeller. Years of experience, friendships, connoisseurship, and downright moxie led to that moment at the press in 2011. It takes a peculiar combination of certainty and daring to envision an atelier that would produce original works, intelligently conceived and beautifully crafted in the best spirit of the fine press tradition. And even more so an extraordinary community of writers, artists, designers, printers, and binders to bring this notion to fruition. 


Both Ken and Liv had spent decades honing their vision and cultivating their sense of the modern fine press book. Liv culled intriguing manuscripts and encouraged the development of new texts and new approaches. Ken absorbed all facets of the fine press book at its best by representing the work of Leonard Baskin and others. Together they fashioned a sensibility of what constituted a new, fresh view of the fine press book. In ten short years they have done just that, creating a list of innovative takes on the contemporary book. 


The hallmark of a Two Ponds Press book is not a uniform overlay of a house style. From the outset, Ken and Liv wanted to create books that stood on their own as an integral whole of design, illustration, and text. Each book reveals its authentic self, each is an original. As a result, the individual entries in the Two Ponds Press catalog are singular onto themselves. What unites books as wildly different as Margaret Wise Brown's Little River (2013), The Last Ship from the River of the Northern City (2015), Richard Blanco's Boundaries (2017), and Nansen's Pastport (2020) is the attention to quality and a profound respect for the unique character of each title. 


Type designers and printers such as Russell Maret and Arthur Larsen were first approached because their contributions would work in tandem to the text, elevating the entirety of the experience. Illustrators, print makers, and photographers as varied as D.R. Wakefield, Joseph Goldyne, Stephen Hannock, Anneli Skaar, Julie Paschkis, Cig Harvey and Jacob Hessler each gave a vision and a setting for the texts. The bindings of Claudia Cohen, Amy Borezo, and Gray Parrot assured an individuality suited to each particular work. It was a community of artisans and makers that created each of these titles. Together their efforts join in concert to fashion a beautifully made book that is true to its meaning. They all came together to help realize the vision of Ken Shure and Liv Rockefeller, that at Two Ponds Press each book would speak for itself. 

Mark Dimunation,

Chief, Rare Book and

Special Collections Division,

Library of Congress (retired)

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