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Tom Virgin ~ Florida
(Extra Virgin Press)

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Tom Virgin About: “Miami artist Tom Virgin incorporated Extra Virgin Press, LLC in early 2016, after receiving a Knight Arts Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in November 2015. Extra Virgin Press also received a Wavemaker/ Long Haul Grant from Cannonball Miami in 2016. A printmaker for over forty years, Virgin began creating artist’s books in 2002. His award winning books are included in two surveys of book arts. His books and prints are in public collections including PAMM, Walker Art Center, UC-San Diego, Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Wells College, and the Bienes Museum of the Modern Book.”

This is My Body
of Food and Freedom

By Edwidge Danticat
Coconut Grove, Florida: Extra Virgin Press, 2023. Edition of 47.

9.5 × 6.25 × .5”; 25 pages. Written by Edwidge Danticat. Design, drawing, printing, and binding by Tom Virgin. Timeline by John Ermer & Tom Virgin. Printed on French Paper’s Starch White Speckletone. Cover of vintage Cave Paper. Bound with a kettle stitch using waxed linen thread, reinforced with Okawara paper, and a katazome paper spine wrap. Drop spine structure comes from Karen Hanmer. Pages hand printed on a 1949 Vandercook 4 Proof Press using Adobe Caslon Pro, wood type, polymer plates, and linoleum plates Signed by Danticat on the author bio page. Signed by Virgin on a back free end page. Numbered.

This is my Body, of Food and Freedom” was originally published in Plough Quarterly No. 20: The Welcome Table (an online journal) in 2019. This printing of the article includes a timeline printed in run that runs through the pages documenting major dates and incidents in the history of Haiti. The first date is the year 1492 stating “The Arawak/Taino people were the original Native Americans living on the island of Hispaniola, prior to the landing of Europeans in today’s northern Haiti.” The timeline runs to November 2022 when “US Secretary of Homeland Security extended and redesignated Temporary Protected Status for eligible Haitians for 18 months. [The Trump administration had ended Temporary Protected Status in 2017]”

Danticat writes about detainees and food in the immigration detention centers maintained by the US. She writes about gynecomastia developed within the male population, a resulting civil suit against the federal government but a jury found the government not liable. There are also words regarding force feeding and hunger strikes. Her words make powerful images of people in desperate circumstances.

“Do not count on my anymore, because I’m lost in the struggle of Life ..” Words written by Yolande Jean to her family. She was on a hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay in 1993.

Ford Foundation on Edwidge Danticat : “Edwidge Danticat is a writer whose moving and insightful works across many genres enrich our understanding of Haiti and the complexities of the immigrant experience. She was born in Port-au-Prince in 1969 and moved to the United States when she was 12 years old. Her novels, memoirs, essays, short stories, and children’s and young adult books evoke the intricate layers of community, family, migration, isolation, and belonging.”

This is My Body of Food and freedom book
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By John Dufresne
Coconut Grove, Florida: Extra Virgin Press, 2019. Edition of 40.

9.5 in x 6.25 in x .5”; 25 pages. Printed on French Paper’s Speckletone True White. Pearl Gray Fabriano Murillo covers with an interior orange plastic cover sheath for the book block. Bound with a kettle stitch and multi-quire bindings using waxed linen thread. Printed with a 1949 Vandercook 4 Proof Press using Compressed Gothic Wood Type, polymer plates, and linoleum plates. Signed by Dufresne on the title page. Signed by Virgin on the colophon. Numbered.

Twelve flash fiction items by Florida writer John Dufresne with illustrations by Florida artist Tom Virgin. Each vignette pulls the reader into an instance of someone’s life, hinting at a fuller story, an ongoing story, sometimes funny, sometimes bewildering, sometimes achingly sad.

  • “Cape Cod Afternoon”- the speaker is walking through a house that is silent and seems full of secrets and then he/she throws open the door to let the universe in.
  • “Bewildered” – a Dear Abby letter in which “Bewildered in Boise” describes a husband that is writing his name on everything because he says “they’re mine”. He hasn’t marked her yet.
  • “Eat” – an unsatisfactory birthday dinner at a restaurant with “penne, way beyond al dente” and so it goes.
  • “Select Sires” – a conversation between two men by a pool about bull artificial insemination and a did a woman in the news really have Bigfoot’s son and how did that work.
  • “Word Problem” – two lovers on different trains heading toward each other. One to say goodbye; one to propose.
  • “Two Sunny Days” – at twelve eating breakfast of a bowl of Wheaties, running off to play see a baseball game and then at 27 in Paris with his wife.
  • “The Second Viola” – Enis Murphy married two women both named Viola. Divorced the first one, married the second, divorced the second one, married the first.
  • “Fragile” – the story of Kate’s patience and love for Mr. Hays.
  • “Trust” – Alice commits adultery and expects forgiveness.
  • “Escape velocity” – Father and son hiking down the Grand Canyon. And, then the mountain goat watches the amazing flying boy.
  • “Still Life with Ray” – Ray is a painter, her mother has died. “She says if you look at anything for a long time, it melts and shatters”
  • “Contains Lead” – two brothers, Slater shoots Clayton, puts him in front of a derelict gas pump, pisses on him, ends up in an asylum. Their filling station bull dozed, “End of Story”.
  • “Nursing Home Nocturne (Room 37)” – sounds in the nursing home “the hush of the past falling away”

Interview The Jitney: “Mr. Dufresne compares the collaborative project to theater. ‘As I think of it, the writer/artist partnership is not unlike theater, another collaborative art form. There, I try to engage the imagination of the actors and directors and let them bring the script and the characters to life. Here, with ‘Signs,’ my job was to engage Tom’s lush imagination, and he did the rest.’”

Signs book
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By Kari Snyder and Tom Virgin
Boca Raton, Florida: Extra Virgin Press, 2008. Edition of 20.

6.5” x 9” x .5”; 16 pages. Lino cuts. Letterpress printed. Complex quire binding with tackets. Cover of paper with Thai Banana on the outside and Japanese Katazone paper on the inside. Numbered. Signed by both artists.

Conversation” uses a short series of quotations to mirror the conversation from which the book is derived.”

A gossip is one who talks to you about others.
A Bore is one who talks to you about himself.
And a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself.
(Lisa Kirk 1925 – [1990])

Tom Virgin: "This book was born of a profound respect of the printmaking skills of Ms. Kari Snyder. A Florida Individual Artist Grant Winner, Kari’s intaglio prints of indigenous plants, birds, reptiles and other wildlife compelled me to ask her to collaborate on a book project.

"’Conversation’ was letterpress printed from linoleum plates, half from Snyder and half from Virgin. Each artist contributed five plates and hand colored the Rives Tan paper pages.”

Conversation book
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Page last update: 10.19.2023

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