To Hell with Reality and Back

Richard Dailey is a prolific poet, novelist, artist, and filmmaker who has authored numerous volumes of poetry centered around either formal or philosophical themes.

In this collection, the title evokes a kind of spiritual round trip by the speaker of the poems, who regularly finds gems of significance sparkling in the rubble of a tempting cultural nihilism. For the design of the book we wanted to convey that the poems exist simultaneously in both their positive and negative images, mirroring each other from both the mortal realm and the ash of the eternal fire. The words themselves have been to hell and back, and exist in the mutually reflecting space between these incarnations.

For the cover, we mirrored the title and author as well as the flames. On the inside, an image of the ashen remains of the fire repeats as a ghostly backdrop on the left-hand pages, in which we can make out the mirror images of the poems, printed in white letters in reverse, while on the right-hand pages we find the text in black over an off-white page, where we can just make out the edges of the ash-scape peeking through from the page that follows. The facing images are haunting reversals of each other, reminding us that every observation is stalked by through our minds by its opposite.