By Sara G. H. Owen
Tuscaloosa, Alabama: 2005. Edition of 30.
5 x 7"; 5 pages. Wrap around cover paper of handmade cotton. Text in Nideggan mould made paper. Bembo and Baskerville type handset and printed letterpress.
While attending the Book Arts program at the University of Alabama, Sara Owen wanted to experience Southern first hand — from riverboats to mint juleps. One of her Alabama excursions was to visit the Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama. The Grotto, known as "Jerusalem in Miniature." is a four-acre park which provides the setting for 125 miniature reproductions of buildings and shrines from throughout the world. The miniature reproductions are the lifetime work of Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman. This trip inspired "Ave Alabama" which features an original poem by Owen as well as three linoleum block illustrations to complement the text. "The poem," says Sara, "deals with a Northerner's expectations of the South — tasting grits, traveling to Nashville, and experiencing all things new, peaceful, funky, and beautiful."
I drove 1200 miles
To Alabama with visions of
Riverboats and hootenannies,
Mint juleps, Krispy Kreme.
I waited 3 months to taste grits,
Surprised to find they had no taste.
My Georgian friend tells me
I didn’t have real grits.
Do I have real Alabama?