Murray Edmond's texts, poetry and prose, present a series of stories, fragments, vignettes, situations and scenes to tell an anachronistic version of the Eros and Psyche story. The writing draws on Apuleius's The Golden Ass, from which the Eros and Psyche story originates, for its shifts of tone from ironic to tender to comic to farcical to tragic to absurd. Edmond first treated this story over thirty years ago in his poem 'Psyche.' This time the whole book's interplay of the texts with Joanna Forsberg's photographic images is integrated into the roller-coaster love story of Eros and Psyche.
The book has been made so that it unfolds out from a box binding to become a series of sheets which combine text, image and typography. Each folding sheet has its own independent life as well as being part of the whole creation.
Joanna Forsberg is a Polish photographer now living in New Zealand. She previously collaborated with Murray Edmond on his book of poems, Fool Moon, which was a finalist in the 2005 New Zealand Book Awards. Her photographic images tend towards having the characteristics of paintings. Her still lifes, often fruits and vegetables in states which record the joy and wonder of decay, are full of life in a way which completely contradicts the French appellation 'nature morte.' She brings a quality of work which is intensely European in the way its dark beauty reaches to the imagined interiors of objects, landscapes and people. Murray Edmond is one of New Zealand's best known poets, the author of nine previous books. His work is particularly admired for its linguistic virtuosity and vitality.
'In The Fruits Of, the beloved’s body is brought into the same room as ripe vegetables, surreal stories, symbol-rich poems, eroticized philosophy, and the truth of images. The shared lush imaginings of Edmond and Forsberg center the book; its gorgeous collaborations feel like organic myth.' - Lisa Samuels
'The story of Eros and Psyche is about the exemplary collaboration between body and soul, matter and spirit, substance and form, materiality and consciousness ... even between necessity and freedom. Its raptures are not always innocent or joyful, and they are seldom simple: the meanings generated by this collaboration will make trouble, but the kind of trouble that enriches life and makes it whole. This beautiful and troublesome book is both about and the product of such an enriching collaboration. Its unity is complex and goes much deeper than a finely designed matching of text and image. The narrative qualities of the images and the visual qualities of the texts draw them together – and also move them apart. A kind of dance ensues, a making of love and meaning, experimental and almost abstract, at the point where perceptions and matter move around and with each other. How refreshing to have a book that resuscitates debased expectations of ‘story’, that is candid both about the beauty of its surface and the complexity and darkness beneath it. - Ian Wedde
Printed and published by The Holloway Press University of Auckland 2009 ISBN 0-958213-8-9
Design by Joanna Forsberg.
Letterpress printed by Tara McLeod on a Littlejohn cylinder press.
Pictures printed by Kevin Church of Opticmix on an Epson 11880 with Ultrachrome K3 inks on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Paper 308gsm.
The text is set in Adobe Helvetica and printed from photopolymer plates made by Inline Graphics, Auckland.
The paper is Incisioni 350gsm, mouldmade in Italy.
The box is made by Design Bind Ltd, Auckland.
The edition is 35 books; each copy is signed and numbered. The cost of the book is $NZ650.