The Arion Press in San Francisco is one of the country’s last printers dedicated to creating limited edition, handmade books with centuries-old letterpress printing equipment.
To celebrate Arion’s 40th anniversary and the printing of their 100th book, publisher Andrew Hoyem took on a special project: Walt Whitman’s landmark book of poetry, “Leaves of Grass.” Whitman was 36 years old when he published the first edition in 1855. It contained one of his most famous poems, which he later titled “Song of Myself.” Whitman revised and republished “Leaves of Grass” throughout his life, but the first edition marked a new era in American literature.
The NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown sat down recently with former Poet Laureate Robert Hass, a Whitman expert, to discuss “Leaves of Grass” and its significance during a time of great change in America.
Jeffrey Brown also spent several days at Arion Press to learn about the craft of fine bookmaking. Check out the photos below to see Arion’s process.