Poem by Jefna M. Cohen
Artwork by Dorothy K. McCuistion
Tacoma, Washington: Dorothy McCuistion, 2016. Edition of 3 variables.
4 x 6" closed, extends to 14"; 14 pages. Accordion fold. Hand-printed with thermal screens, paper lithography and botanical prints. Copper leaf on Stonehenge paper and kozo chine-collé, copper leaf. . Copper Plate cover. In cloth bag with ribbon closure. Signed and numbered by the artist and poet.
Dorothy McCuistion: "'Backyard' is collaborative book about dirt toxins by mother-daughter team Dorothy McCuistion and Jefna M. Cohen. Ignorant of the pollution, Dorothy raised her children in the shadow of the ASARCO copper smelter, which spewed toxic chemicals into the air for nearly 100 years. These chemicals polluted the dirt for hundreds of square miles in ways that are still being mediated. Family photos of the ASARCO smelter stack's demolition are paired with portions of the 2014 Health Department questionnaire on one side and Jefna's companion poem and botanical prints and images from the poem comprise the other side."
Colophon: "Beginning in 1889 and for nearly 100 years, the American Smelter and Refining company, or ASARCO, located in Ruston, Washington, extracted copper from metal ores. Until the smelter closed in 1985, the 562 foot stack spewed lead, arsenic and other toxic chemicals into the air above the surrounding cities and towns.
"Once a sign of prosperity, ASARCO's iconic stack eventually became a symbol of 20th century environmental pollution. Ove 1,000 square miles of soil was impacted."
Spying, dreaming, this yard holding all of it,
The bittersweet wonders of childhood.
I read a book about a girl who saw something
Others did not, and wanted to be her.
Something was suspicious, after all,
But it was not what we thought.